Tasmanians hoping for their own AFL team may be left feeling more confused about their prospects after a visit by game officials.
The AFL commission met in Hobart on Friday and struck a deal with the state government to work toward a “one-team model”.
But AFL chairman Mike Fitzpatrick couldn’t elaborate on whether that means plans for an exclusive state-based team, or an affiliation with a mainland club, such as those currently in place with Hawthorn and North Melbourne.
“The definition of it could be difficult,” Fitzpatrick said of the model.
“The sort of model we have worked toward over the last few years has been to have one AFL team playing in Tasmania.”
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan last week poured cold water on the idea of a Tassie team, saying that despite the state deserving its own side, the Apple Isle doesn’t have the money.
The commission and Tasmanian government on Friday agreed to set up a working party to look at how the game is positioned in the state, and its investigation could stretch to assessing the feasibility of a Tasmanian team.
“The AFL commission looked at this seven or eight years ago and the conclusion then was that the economics of a stand alone club were difficult. The working party has to have a look,” Fitzpatrick said.
Tasmania has just signed a new five-year, $19 million deal with the Hawks which will see the boys in brown and gold play five games a season at Launceston.
Fitzgerald denied that the one-team model together with the new Hawks deal would jeopardise the island state’s future ties with the Kangaroos.
“Every community in Australia deserves its own team, the difficulty is making sure it’s economic and making sure it fits and the working party has to look at those issues,” Fitzpatrick said.
The working group, which will be staffed by as yet unknown “good people” and have a wide remit, would also look at setting up a Tasmanian-based AFL academy for rising stars.