Premier Peter Gutwein has hit back following criticism that the government was being "overly conservative" and had dismissed the idea of hosting extra AFL matches as the competition grapples with COVID-19 lockdowns in three states.
The criticism came from Fox Footy's senior AFL reporter Tom Morris on Friday's edition of The First Crack, who indicated that the state had completely said no to more matches considering the borders to Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia were shut.
But Premier Gutwein refuted that suggestion.
"Tasmania has already hosted a number of additional AFL matches this season which weren't originally fixtured and we continue to engage with the AFL on opportunities for more matches,'' he said.
"While we remain open to the possibility of hosting further AFL games, the COVID-19 situation interstate is changing rapidly and we will not do anything to put Tasmanians at risk.
"We will continue to take Public Health advice at all times to ensure the safety of the community."
"I know there are health concerns, but it is proven in AFL circles that a fly-in-fly-out model is safe and it works,'' he said.
"The AFL is very stringent on the way they do it and I can't see why Tasmania wouldn't go " you know what tonight let's play Port versus Collingwood at Hobart" and we'll get a crowd there, just like Essendon and Hawthorn [at UTAS Stadium] a few weeks ago.
"What would that do to the state? What would that do to showcase the football in that state?
"I just think Tasmania is missing a trick here. I don't know what it is going to cost them, but just watching on the TV there is an alternative an hour south of Victoria, and for whatever reason, and I know for the health reasons, they are not coming to the party.
"I just think they are being overly conservative."
Tasmania has hosted extra matches due to a Melbourne lockdown, North Melbourne versus Brisbane at Blundstone Arena and Hawthorn and Essendon at UTAS Stadium in round 14.
The fly-in-fly-out method has been used in the state this season.
But a potential contest between Fremantle and Carlton in Launceston was rejected due to Public Health advice.
North Melbourne is scheduled to host Geelong next weekend at Blundstone Arena, with Hawthorn fixtured to play Western Bulldogs in round 22 in Launceston.
When asked about the potential of next week's contest still taking place, Premier Gutwein said: "Public Health are continuing to liaise with the AFL in relation to the game currently scheduled for Blundstone Arena on 31 July to ensure it can proceed in a COVID-safe way".