Tasmania is set to be invited to join the AFL.
In a major exclusive, The Shaw Thing can reveal that the national football competition will offer the island state its 19th licence - but with conditions.
Former Geelong president and AFL Commissioner Colin Carter's review into the Tasmanian Taskforce's business case is not due to be made public yet, but a leaked copy reveals exactly how the AFL plans to integrate the long-forgotten state.
Apparently, Tasmania's submission has been extensively scrutinised by the AFL's most knowledgeable and informed strategists. Brian Taylor and James Brayshaw have also seen it.
Observations, criticisms and proposals can be seen scribbled in the margins, Taylor's in assorted coloured crayons.
After many months studying the one-page submission, Carter has reached the conclusion that the only thing standing in the way of a Tasmanian AFL team is the AFL.
The news will doubtless delight Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein - currently as popular at AFL House as Alexei Navalny is at the Kremlin (and about as well treated) - who has pioneered the state's hardline approach of suspending the $8 million annual donation to the existing Hawthorn and North Melbourne deals.
Carter's ground-breaking report concludes: "Despite extensive studies and investigations, my team has been unable to locate a flaw in Tasmania's business case and is therefore prepared to concede that, after decades of providing the VFL/AFL with hardcore support and an unending stream of playing talent, the state probably does just about deserve its own team."
However, he stipulated that granting Tasmania the licence must come with several non-negotiable conditions.
Repeated verbatim from the leaked report, these conditions are:
Carter said that AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan had endorsed the plan, commenting that it met all the stipulations he had requested and exceeded all his expectations.
"I'm sure when Tasmanians hear this news and study the fineprint, they will be left in no doubt just how much the AFL really wants the state to be part of a truly national competition," McLachlan said.
Carter's findings are expected to be made public on Thursday (April 1).
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