Coach defends state league

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Lonergan still supports maintaining the current State League model.

“Internally, we’re pretty confident that the TSL will be alive next year so it doesn’t worry us too much; it’s just a bit of a noise in the background at this stage.

“We’ve got 50-odd players that want to be in a high-performance environment and everyone else around them that supposedly knows about football is talking about taking that away from young Tasmanians.

“If we’ve got 50, every other club has got 50 as well so you’re talking about a significant number of young Tasmanians that want to be in a high-performance environment and the people at the top of AFL in Tasmania are talking about taking that away for most of them.”

Lonergan suggested the best solution is a combination of TSL, VFL and NEAFL.

“That way your top-end talent pathway get an opportunity at VFL and NEAFL level and there are probably five here [at Launceston FC] that are a genuine chance to get drafted, so I think they get an opportunity through their state games plus NEAFL and VFL at the back end of the year.

“I’m really concerned that if you go TAC Cup you’re really upshifting a lot of 17 and 18-year-olds studying in year 12.

“If we’re saying five get drafted then the other 15 that are travelling week-in week-out are not a chance and it’s probably damaging their year 12 studies so there’s a lot that has to be thought about in terms of what is the best way forward.”