Getting the AFL to believe is the biggest obstacle to Tasmania's national aspirations according to Brad Green.
The retired great reckons player retention and talent pool dilution are far bigger problems facing his home state than anything financial.
But he is delighted to see a unified campaign derail the AFL's claims that parochialism is holding back Tasmania's case.
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The AFL have got to believe it will workBrad Green
"There are a lot of things that need to go into it but the AFL have got to believe it will work," he said.
"At the moment they probably don't. They need convincing.
"The AFL needs to back the concept that we are not a national competition until we have a team out of Tasmania."
Launceston-born Green grew up in George Town, went to school at Star of the Sea and Launceston Church Grammar and played for North Launceston and the Tassie Mariners. He went on to play 254 games in a 13-season, one-team AFL career with Melbourne where he became captain and won the leading goalkicker and best and fairest awards.
Asked about the united push by Tasmanian newspapers to back a team, the 38-year-old father of two Demons-supporting boys said: "The North-South divide was very strong when I left in the '90s but there is a new generational push to be one.
"There is not that divide any more but I never thought it was unhealthy. It was created through cricket and footy and games like North Launceston against Clarence or Glenorchy. The papers jumped on board and so did the politicians. But the way society is we should be banding together."
Green said expecting locked-in supporters to follow another team would be a challenge but hinted that many of the Tasmanian-raised players in the AFL would jump at the chance to play for their home state.
Green said financial obstacles were not insurmountable but questioned whether the talent pool was deep enough.
"People say Tasmania cannot afford a team but I don't think that's the case. Businesses in Tasmania will support it and with memberships and sponsors it's not a financial thing. I don't think it will cost as much as it did for Gold Coast and GWS and I'm assuming the state government would get behind it. We've just got to prove we can be sustainable.
"But everyone has got to see the broader picture of whether the AFL is strong enough to have 19 teams. My belief is when it expanded by two clubs the talent pool was diluted and the skill level dropped. The AFL is not as strong as it used to be. If you increase the number of players then the bottom 5 per cent are going to be weak.
"It's easy to say 'here's a 19th licence' but Gold Coast are struggling at the bottom of the ladder because they don't have enough talent. If we are going to have another team is that healthy for the comp? That's the biggest hurdle for our game."
The no.19 pick in the 1999 national draft believes a Tasmanian team will happen.
"I can see an AFL team being based in Tasmania but when and where is the $50 million question everyone is asking."
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