Tasmania’s AFL task force talks down reports of relocating North Melbourne to Tasmania

Home Sports Tasmania’s AFL task force talks down reports of relocating North Melbourne to Tasmania
Tasmania’s AFL task force talks down reports of relocating North Melbourne to Tasmania

Tasmania’s task force for creating a state AFL team has dismissed reports the league is pushing the option of relocating North Melbourne to the island state.

A decision on an AFL licence for a standalone Tasmanian AFL team is expected to be made within months.

But football journalist Caroline Wilson said on Channel Nine’s Footy Classified that there was still a push for the Kangaroos to move to Tasmania, as the only way for Tasmania to get a team in the AFL.

“I know that Tasmania is officially off the table with North Melbourne and I have no interest in resurrecting sending North To Tasmania, but this is a conversation that will not go away in the game’s upper echelons,” she said.

“This is something Gillon McLachlan continued to talk to [former North Melbourne president] Ben Buckley about.

“In fairness, Ben Buckley batted it back every time, they’ve got no interest.

“The new president, Dr Sonja Hood says she has no interest in Tasmania and still, as mounting presidents seem to be saying they won’t be voting for a 19th team, North Melbourne comes up in that conversation.”

She suggested the AFL would be looking at moving North Melbourne as a viable option.

“This is what happens when you get 13,000 people to an all-Melbourne game in the middle of town on a late Saturday afternoon,” she said.

A member of Tasmania’s AFL task force, Errol Stewart, has dismissed the speculation.

“I think somebody from the media will always throw those things in the air and that’s been thrown in the air a number of times over the journey but it’s something we haven’t discussed as a task force,” he said.

“That’s not the preferred option and it never has been.”

A stadium seen from across the water
The government earlier this year revealed plans for a new AFL stadium near Macquarie Point.(Supplied: Philp Lighton Architects)

‘Tasmanian people won’t buy it’

The task force wants a standalone team and is optimistic it will get one.

“That said, I still think you’ve got to look at everything,” Stewart said.

“Colin Carter, when he had a look at the proposition, he said: ‘Never discard any proposition to get yourself a licence,’ but at this stage, we haven’t looked at it.

“If it comes up in the future, I wouldn’t discard it blatantly.”

The proposal to relocate North Melbourne has angered some.

Tasmanian Robert Shaw, who played and coached in the AFL, said in a tweet that the conversation “needs to go away”.

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Former premier David Bartlett also disagreed.

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Club presidents are set to vote on whether Tasmania will become the 19th team in the league in August.

“The case is compelling enough, I think the AFL hierarchy believes that as well, so it’s up to them to convince the presidents that this is a good strategic bid and we can pay our way.”

Wilson is not convinced the Tasmanian bid will have enough votes.

“I think the AFL are concerned about the votes, I know there are a few presidents who are openly saying they’re not going to vote for Tasmania,” she said.

“I’m not saying it’s not going to get up, but it’s certainly not over the line.”

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