Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson has called the AFL to establish teams in Tasmania and the Northern Territory to expand the league to a 20-team competition.
Tasmanian premier Peter Gutwein put negotiations between the government and AFL clubs Hawthorn and North Melbourne until they got an answer from the league about a pathway and timeline for their own club.
He got his answer on Friday, when AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan informed Gutwein that the league planned to review the big by the end of this year or the start of 2022.
“The AFL Commission understands the importance of Tasmania to our code, appreciates the work done in your submission for a Tasmanian team, and believes it warrants a detailed review by the AFL,” CEO Gillon McLachlan wrote.
This angered Gutwein who believes Tasmania had “paid our dues and deserve much better”.
Clarkson, who’s Hawks are set to play four games in Launceston a season as part of a $4 million contract, said he’d be happy to see the competition expanded by two more teams to make it a truly national competition.
“Our club, in actual fact, I think is strong of the view that in a national competition it would be fantastic for Tassie to have their own club,” Clarkson told AFL.com.au.
“I’ve also got the view, and I’m not sure if it’s shared by the club, that if we’re a truly national competition, that we should have a side out of the NT.
“Make it a 20-team competition, everyone plays each other once and perhaps you might have a blockbuster where you play one of your rivals and it makes it a 20-round season.
“I reckon that’d be great for the game but that’s not for me, it’s for the regulators of the game.
“In the meantime, Tassie hasn’t got a team (and we say), ‘How can we help Tasmania service that great need that they’ve got, the passionate supporters down there, that want to see AFL product in their state?’
“Hawthorn’s been doing that for the best part of 20 years (since 2001).
“We’re also mindful of the fact if Tassie get their own side, Hawthorn probably won’t be going down to Tassie. It’ll be that all of our games are going back to Melbourne.”