As a June 30 deadline for Tasmania’s football future looms, North Launceston president Thane Brady is turning up the heat on the AFL.
Brady has penned an opinion piece for The Examiner calling on AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan and his commission to finally take the Apple Isle’s desire for its own AFL team seriously.
An AFL-led steering committee is nearing the end of its review into the state’s talent pathways with the State League left fighting for survival, a full-time Mariners program likely and other options being investigated.
However, Brady believes that Tasmania should be granted its own AFL licence when Hawthorn and North Melbourne’s deals to play in the state expire in 2021.
Throughout history there have been several attempts for a state’s dream to become a reality with the latest attempt resulting in ex-AFL boss Andrew Demetriou denying a bid from former Premier David Bartlett in 2011.
Brady, who met with the committee last month, said the days of treating a foundation football heartland with contempt must end.
The AFL will fail Tasmania once again if the principal outcome of the latest review into Tassie footy does not announce an AFL licence for Tasmania effective as soon as 2022.
The AFL has for years neglected Tasmania.
They are happy to adopt our best players who contribute significantly to the AFL being able to make billions of dollars from the sale of game broadcasting rights.
Our draft picks continue to be the best value for money in Australia.
Recently the AFL has thrown us North Melbourne in the hope they can be transplanted here at the expense of Hawthorn who only originally came here seeking financial sustainability.
Attending AFL games here when not supporting either of our “home” clubs is like going to a strangers wedding
It’s all very nice but there is no emotional attachment.
Perhaps this is why crowd numbers continue to decline?
It’s time Tasmania was treated appropriately.
AFL chief executive Gill McLachlan tells us it’s time for hard decisions.
Based on history, this is code for we are only interested in your draft picks and we expect more heavy lifting from volunteers to keep the game going.
Do more with less money as we have millions of your dollars committed in Gold Coast, Western Sydney, China and a game called X.
Mr McLachlan it’s time for you and your commission to take a long overdue decision.
Make us AFL ready now with the plan that we have our own team in the AFL commencing at the end of the current Hawks deal in 2021.
The economics stack up.
The Hawks five games in Tasmania in 2017 were valued at nearly $30 million and supported 137 jobs.
Add a contribution from broadcast rights, support from local and state government and add the usual footy club receipts such as membership, merchandise, gate, corporate and sponsorship – and we have ourselves a viable team shared between the North and South.
All seven State League presidents have demonstrated how this unworkable North-South divide is a myth that continues to be used as an excuse to why we can’t have our own AFL team.
The AFL has the capacity to invest heavily in our programs to make us AFL ready but the question is do they have the desire to truly make this foundation state a player in the main game, or remain as a very poor cousin?
The steering committee’s 30 June deadline will tells us all what the AFL thinks of us.
2017 AFL FUNDING DISTRIBUTION
- Gold Coast: $25 million
- St Kilda: $20.6 million
- GWS, Brisbane: $21 million
- Western Bulldogs: $16 million
- Melbourne: $15.7 million
- Carlton: $13.7 million
- Richmond: $13.6 million
- Essendon: $12.9 million
- Geelong: $12.1 million
- Collingwood: $10.9 million
- Hawthorn: $10.8 million
- North Melbourne, Adelaide, Port Adelaide, Sydney, West Coast and Fremantle: unknown.