Maverick Weller says he would have loved it if a Tasmanian AFL team was in existence when he was starting out, knowing it might have made his own journey easier.
Without wanting to take anything away from a career at the top that started in 2011 and spanned 123 games at Gold Coast, St Kilda and Richmond, the 27-year-old acknowledged that he had a tougher start because he was so far away from home.
TIME TO DECIDE:
"Tassie people, we are really community people, and I got ripped out of Burnie and sent up to the Gold Coast, and that is why I struggled a little bit up there straight away because it is so detached from the community,'' said Weller, who was pre-selected by the Suns as a 17-year-old.
"But Tassie people they just embrace things like that and I could see a Tassie AFL team having one of the biggest supporter bases in the AFL."
A state team would have a unifying impact, he believed, and was confident the United We Stand campaign (which is putting together a business plan for potential AFL and AFLW sides) was the right move.
"People talk about the North-South divide, and that is only really because North has played the South in rep footy, but a Tassie team is a Tassie team, it would be Tasmania, and it would bring people together,'' he said.
"I can just imagine sending out the AFL team to all the primary school in Tassie, you are not going to have kids say "you are based in Hobart, so I don't want anything to do with you" so that (divided argument) is ridiculous."
ELSEWHERE IN SPORT
The taskforce has set a target of 50,000 pledges in its quest to get a provisional licence, with numbers moving towards that figure.
As at 10.30am on Friday, the figure sat at 45,410, with the taskforce asking people to sign up at www.unitedwestand.com.au
The thoughts of the now retired Weller came in the week Gold Coast received a generous assistance package from the AFL, which has allowed it access to the top two picks in the national draft.
While he would love to see his brother Lachie's club flourish, he said more than draft picks would be needed as young talent was likely to "walk out of there anyway".
"They need to get the best operators like Neil Balme (Richmond footy boss), while Mark Evans (Gold Coast chief executive) is a really good operator and Dewy (Stuart Dew) is a good coach, you need to pump these good people through there, get them all on board and adopt a concept like at Richmond where people just love coming to the club and can feel good about themselves."
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