AFL Tasmania has refuted claims that chief executive Trisha Squires’ plea for national assistance was orchestrated by AFL House.
Melbourne journalist Caroline Wilson suggested the AFL media department drafted Squires’ February letter to boss Gillon McLachlan – calling the situation “stage managed” and “a ruse”.
“Trisha, look, might end up being a great appointment but she doesn’t seem to me to have the authority that someone in that really important position should have,” Wilson told Footy Classified on Monday.
“She came out with fighting words about how ‘I’m going to write to Gillon’ and ‘I’m going to ask for him to come down and tell us what he’s going to do for our community’, well she was being advised by the head of AFL Media – who wrote some of her emails and press releases.
“How extraordinary, she’s taking on the AFL and the AFL Media bosses are writing the script? The whole thing is farcical.”
An AFL Tasmania spokesperson said Squires, who is the only Tasmanian resident of McLachlan’s newly-formed steering committee, wrote the letter.
North Launceston president Thane Brady said he was aware of the allegations.
“I’d be very surprised if the AFL and Trisha engaged in this behaviour as they would be aware of the vital importance trust and confidence plays in the role,” he said.
“They would all be aware of the public dissatisfaction around the selection process for the CEO position.
“On the basis these people are qualified and experienced professionals, I doubt they would take such a huge risk to contrive a situation designed to deceive the Tasmanian public as they would be aware that if proven to be true – Trisha's position would be untenable.”
Review needs to consider regions
The Tasmanian Football Council says AFL boss Gillon McLachlan’s steering committee into the game’s health within the state must include community and regional football.
Council chairman and NTFA president Paul Reynolds said a lot of attention to date appeared centred around the ailing State League.
AFL Tasmania has given TSL clubs a short-term cash injection and McLachlan committed $200,000 during his Hobart visit on Wednesday to subsidise the levies of state talent program players.
Reynolds welcomed McLachlan’s commitment to visit the North and North-West in coming weeks.
“Confronting the steering committee is the task of identifying and considering all of the options to progress the AFL brand throughout Tasmania and ensure the opportunities and benefits are evenly and fairly available to all,” Reynolds said.
“The competitions cannot be viewed separately as one relies upon the other in terms of bringing people from within the communities of Tasmania to play the game, umpire, administer and support the clubs and leagues, which enjoy Australian rules football.”
Reynolds said he supported the review and looked forward to meeting with the committee.