McLachlan: ‘see you in Tassie’ for 19th AFL licence
May 2, 2023 / 10:21 pm
Matthew Richardson’s last AFL game was on May 3. Ian Stewart reached 100 games and Peter Hudson kicked 16 goals in a VFL match on the same date.
Now it becomes a much bigger day in Tasmanian football history.
With the simple quote “see you in Tassie tomorrow”, outgoing AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan confirmed the league’s 19th licence will be announced on Wednesday.
The AFL sent out McLachlan’s message after the 18 club presidents unanimously backed the licence on Tuesday and the league commission promptly signed off on it.
That follows Saturday’s announcement of federal funding for a new waterfront stadium in Hobart, the last significant barrier to Tasmania having its own AFL team.
Now the details will start emerging, with the team likely to join the AFL in 2027.
There is already speculation that the team’s probable name, the Tasmanian Devils, would breach a commercial copyright.
Tasmania will be the first expansion team since GWS were awarded a licence in 2010 and entered the AFL in 2012.
Unlike the Giants and Gold Coast, the AFL’s latest two additions, the Tasmanian team will be born into one of Australian Rules football’s heartlands.
Richardson, Stewart and Hudson are among the island state’s most famous footballers and they all had to move to the mainland for their careers to flourish.
Stewart, Hudson, Darrel “Doc” Baldock and Royce Hart are Tasmania’s Australian football Hall of Fame legends.
“It will bring a great amount of joy to a lot of Tasmanians – I’ve been in the system for 13 years now and it’s always been spoken about quietly,” Collingwood defender and Tasmanian native Jeremy Howe told AFL360,
“We’ve got to the place we’re all happy with … I know everyone back home is thrilled and pumped. For Tassie in general, it will be huge and a great result.”
Carlton veteran Sam Docherty said the decision is a no-brainer.
“It’s great for footy. I can’t see why we have a national competition and there’s no team down there – it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense,” he said.
The state government, which spearheaded the bid, will contribute $12 million per year over 12 years towards a team, plus $60 million for a high-performance centre.
It will chip in $375 million for the new $715 million 23,000-seat roofed stadium at Macquarie Point, which opponents have labelled a waste of money amid a housing and health crisis.
The federal government is contributing $240 million and the AFL $15 million.
AAP (C) 2023
The date of Matthew Richardson’s last AFL game is now a much bigger day for Tasmanian football (Tony McDonough/AAP PHOTOS)