The Tasmanian football public have spoken and convincingly voted for a ‘back to the future’ approach to help bring the game together again.
From next season and beyond, every junior and senior Tasmanian-branded side will be known as the Devils, the name used for the state’s VFL side from 2001-2008.
The Devils name received 75 per cent of the vote, with Mariners, the current name in use for underage teams, second with just 17 per cent support.
AFL Tasmania CEO Trisha Squires said it was clear that the Devils name still resonated with Tasmanian football followers.
We wanted the name to be decided and owned by Tasmania and it has been very clear that Tasmania wants the Devils back.AFT Tas CEO Trisha Squires
“For someone that has moved here from the mainland, the Devils was something that was really strong with state,” Squires said.
“We wanted the name to be decided and owned by Tasmania and it has been very clear that Tasmania wants the Devils back.
“It is a really exciting time and I think the announcement of the return of the Tassie Devils name will bring joy to a lot of Tasmanian football fans.
“This new Devils brand will be represented in all Tasmanian football teams and I think it is going to bring a lot to Tasmanian football for players and fans.”
Former North-West Devils’ players Jason Ling and Nathan Howard were pleased to have the name back in circulation again, but had differing views on whether it would assist the rebuild of Tasmania’s football pathways.
“I’m happy they have brought the name back and it’s going all the way through the pathway system – it’s a great thing,” Ling said.
“It is nice and it brings back fond times – it’s shame the team isn’t still about.” Howard added.
“The Devils had a really good following when they were about, especially when they were successful.
“But I think the name should be the least of their (AFL Tasmania) issues as they try to get everything right.”
Both players said there was a tinge of disappointment to see the Mariners name disappear from the football landscape, but could understand the reasoning.
“I can’t see why the under 18s can’t still be called the Mariners like they have been since the 1990s, but if they wanted it all under one name, then so be it,” Howard said.
“The Mariners name has been around for a while now – I played with them in 1996, but now was as good of a time as any for a change,” Ling said.
Squires said the Devils would also be used as the name used for any future bid for an AFL team.
“The day that Tasmania gets a team in the AFL, we’ve already got the name and the brand – we wouldn’t go to a voting process like we just did,” she said.
While the new-look logo is set, Squires said the design of the jumper itself wouldn’t be unveiled until the start of next season.