New AFL Tasmania football manager Craig Notman is willing to admit mistakes in Northern Tasmania have contributed to an overall decline in the game since the demise of its past programs.
Notman’s concession has come after being appointed to the job of fixing up the state’s football problems in the dawn of a new era.
But just two weeks into the role, the 40-year-old is convinced that the right men have been hired to revive Tasmania’s flagging fortunes.
“First and foremost purely because of the resources we’ve had, I do think footy in the North of the state has probably been neglected to some degree,” Notman said.
“Both the North and the North-West Coast have been limited in terms of the access that they’ve had to the resources that we have been able to physically provide.
“But I think we are having some wins already on the North-West with Jamie Hayward and with Darren Trevena starting next week, which is going to be a really massive boost to footy in the North.
“He’s just been a really solid ex-Tasmanian footballer coming back, but he has also been really successful in the footy world in South Australia and the NT, and has experience at the AFL level.
“They’re a big boon for the North of the state.”
The AFL abandoned its short-lived academy series, leaving the Tassie Mariners on the outer but to make room for the new Tasmania Devils to enter next year’s Victorian-based under-18 football competition.
Adrian Fletcher, who has played 231 matches across four AFL clubs from 1989 until 2001, will take charge of the TAC Cup side.
The one-time Glenorchy junior will arrive back with a strong understanding of the Tasmanian landscape.
But Notman believes Fletcher will gain more respect for what he has done outside his home state.
“That was important first and foremost, but I think the most important part for us was that he is experienced coach,” Notman said.
“Both at AFL level where he can bring that wealth of experience into the program, but having also worked in a really successful under-age program in Queensland.
“He has had some challenges up there, but he has been able to have some really good results as well.
“He’s a guy that’s really respected in AFL ranks in the talent player pathway, but he’s had such a wealth of experience, so for him to come back and impart that knowledge on our young guys going forward they certainly are going to get some real benefit out of that.”
AFL Tasmania has also been given a provisional licence to join the VFL in 2021.
Notman said the reincarnation of the Devils senior side will be more purposeful to the one from 2001 to 2008.
“The beauty of footy now is that in days gone by if you missed out on the draft as a 18-year-old, your dream was effectively ended,” he said.
“What we’re now looking at in a draft sense is that there are more opportunities if you’re playing at a state league level to come though and get an AFL opportunity.”