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Tasmania inching closer to winning 19th AFL license


Tasmania may soon present a stronger case to win the 19th AFL license, with a review into the state’s capacity to host a team nearing completion.

Former Geelong president and AFL commissioner Colin Carter was appointed in March to explore the business case for a team in the Apple Isle.

Veteran journalist Caroline Wilson last night reported he will soon deliver his verdict, and the findings reflect well on Tasmania.

“It has been delivered to Gillon McLachlan, it has been looked at by the AFL, and will be tabled next Wednesday when the AFL Commission meet,” she told Footy Classified.

“There will be a big debate around what will then go to the presidents, and the presidents will vote… I think the vote will happen in September.”

The push for a Tassie team received a shot in the arm back in June, when an outbreak of COVID-19 in Melbourne saw a blockbuster between Essendon and Hawthorn taken to Launceston.

A near-capacity crowd of 14,834 created a pulsating atmosphere and cheered the Bombers to a 13-point win, affirming the state’s hunger for high-stakes fixtures.

“Pretty much everyone I’ve spoken to who has spoken to Colin feels he’s very positive about Tasmania gaining its own licence,” Wilson continued.

“Clearly, it’s now been written in the context of COVID and the game hemmhorageing hundreds of millions of dollars.

“I can say that whatever else the report says, it clearly states Tasmania deserves to have a far bigger say and stake in the AFL competition.”

Garry Lyon wonders what the response will be if the news breaks that way.

“Let’s say on September 20th, Gil McLachlan calls a press conference and says ‘there will be a Tasmanian standalone team in five years’ time,’” he posed to SEN Breakfast.

“What would be your answer to that?”

Tim Watson says he would be excited for the state and for the game, but has concerns over the “compilation” of as Tasmanian team.

“Where do they get the players, how do they build their team, what does it do to the national draft again?” he wondered.

“We’ve been through this with the Giants and the Suns coming into the competition, (while) other clubs are out there trying to rebuild their team at the same time.”

Gold Coast received the first three picks in the 2010 National Draft and eight first round selections overall.

The following year, Greater Western Sydney had access to eight of the first ten picks, a further three in the first round, and ‘mini-draft’ selections to trade away.

Watson suggested another way the core of the Tasmanian team could come together.

“Any player out there right now who has a Tasmanian background, should they be given the opportunity to join the Tasmanian team?”

Among current players to hail from the southernmost state are triple premiership Tigers Toby Nankervis and Jack Riewoldt, Collingwood bookends Brody Mihocek and Jeremy Howe and Brisbane wingman Mitch Robinson.

More recently, Adelaide small Chayce Jones, North Melbourne midfielder Tarryn Thomas and Richmond defender Rhyan Mansell were each plucked from Tasmanian competition.

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