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‘Hard decisions’ ahead for AFL in Tasmania

‘Hard decisions’ ahead for AFL in Tasmania
March 21, 2018

AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan has reaffirmed his pledge to support the game in Tasmania, but has called for local clubs for support and their best ideas.

With clubs folding and the code struggling for players numbers, McLachlan arrived in Hobart this morning to meet with key people in the local Tasmanian State League (TSL), including AFL Tasmania's new Chief Executive Trisha Squires, and Tasmanian Government representatives.

The visit comes as AFL in Tasmania is widely acknowledged to be in crisis - with three major teams dropping out of the TSL in the past 18 months.

At a press conference at North Hobart Oval, McLachlan announced an injection of $200,000 to ease the burden, but cautioned it was not just up to the AFL to find a remedy, calling for solutions to come from Tasmanian clubs as well.

He advised “the solutions are not easy and will take time”, adding "hard decisions" would need to be made.

Flanked by Squires, McLachlan also reiterated his support for Tasmania having its own AFL club, stating "I've said that before ... I think Tasmania deserves its own team.

"I love coming down to Tasmania, I don't know if Tasmanians love me coming here ... I'll make sure I get to the north-west this year and Launceston."

He said the AFL was well aware it needed to "grow junior and youth teams and junior participation to ensure a pipeline into senior teams", advising “in response to this about 18 months ago, the AFL increased its funding to AFL Tasmania by nearly 30% - this investment has gone into more football development managers, coaching, umpiring and schools coordinators and significant growth has already occurred as a result of this significant investment in baseline participation."

McLachlan also cited the success of the Auskick junior program, which he advised was "growing by over 26%”, along with other participation rises including “schools by over 100%, there's been growth at community club level, umpires have grown by nearly 7%, and accredited coaches by over 30%.”

He also referred to “female participation (growing) by over 30%, as have the number of teams”, while admittingd there remained "challenges in the talent pathway and challenges in the TSL".

He continued “our vision for Tasmanian football is clear - we want Tasmanian talent competing at every level of the game; more kids - boys and girls - playing our game.

"We want a robust, sustainable community football structure that Tasmanians can support in their towns and regions (and) we won't let Tasmanian football go without, but the solutions are not easy and will take time".

"I, along with Trish, will make sure that the right structure, resources and investment will be provided to ensure that all Tasmanians - men, women, boys and girls - have every opportunity to play footy."

Squires described the cash boost as "great news", adding “being able to get that small win today, that's great for families and the talent program so there's no barriers for them to participate."

McLachlan and Squires also met with Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman this morning, with funding on the agenda, but came away without a commitment.

Many AFL players and followers have expressed concerns the game's governing body is ignoring Tasmania, while pouring money into expanding AFL's reach in traditional rugby league strongholds such as NSW and Queensland as well as new forms of the game including AFLX.

Image: AFL action at Hobart's Blundstone Arena.

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5th May 2017 - AFL LOOKS TO ESPORTS TO ENGAGE WITH NEW AUDIENCES

4th June 2016 - NEW DEAL KEEPS NORTH MELBOURNE PLAYING AFL FIXTURES IN HOBART FOR FIVE MORE YEARS 

1st March 2016 - AFL REVENUES TOPPED $500 MILLION IN 2015 

29th January 2014 - NEW LIGHTING UNVEILED AT AURORA STADIUM 

29th July 2013 - GRANT FOR FLOODLIGHTS AT NORTH HOBART OVAL

12th June 2013 - $30 MILLION BELLERIVE OVAL REDEVELOPMENT UNDERWAY

14th April 2013 - BUMPER CROWD DEMONSTRATES ECONOMIC BENEFITS OF AFL


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