Tasmania - ANNOUNCED

In 4 years the likes of Wright, Merrett, Parish, Stringer, Shiel, and even Draper, Redman, Weid, Setterfield, McGrath and Zerk will be 29ish at best, and may will be gone (though hopefully Bewick will develop well and getting him f/s will ease some of the pain of the inevitable compromised drafts).

Most of the side we take into the post-expansion lean period, is the side we have now.

This is a pretty comprehensive article about it all.

Everything you need to know about footy in Tasmania: The club, the costs and where to next

The deal is done — what now? We take a look at every element of football in Tasmania, from when it starts, who pays, and how the state will settle on a name and club song.

Lauren WoodLauren Wood



10 min read

May 3, 2023 - 3:59PM

News Corp Australia Sports Newsroom0 comments

It’s Tassie time. After seven previous failed bids, Tasmania will enter the AFL in 2028.

As the author of the review of the licence bid Colin Carter put it on Tuesday, “a hole in football’s soul has been filled”.

So how does it actually look? Here’s your ultimate guide to Tasmanian football — and where to from here.


Tasmania will enter the competition in 2028, becoming the AFL’s 19th club after decades of campaigning from the proud football state.

The club will have a team in the VFL by as soon as 2025 and will start recruiting players ahead of that season. Premier Jeremy Rockliff said a VFLW outfit would also be established.

A start date for the club’s AFL Women’s outfit is set to be confirmed soon.


Overwhelming local support is for the team to be named the Tasmania Devils in honour of the state’s most famous living marsupial.

But fans will get their say on name, logo, guernsey and club song.

A potential stoush looms with entertainment behemoth Warner Bros which is territorial about its famed Looney Tunes character, Tasmanian Devil.

There’s the Mariners, the Islanders. But as Herald Sun chief football writer Mark Robinson said on Tuesday, surely goodwill prevails and the Bros will give way. Stay (Looney) tuned.

A public vote could ultimately decide the name, as happened with Tassie’s NBL side the JackJumpers.

One thing’s for sure, the Tasmania Tigers is extinct.

Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff, acting PM Richard Marles and Gillon McLachlan. Picture: Getty Images

Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff, acting PM Richard Marles and Gillon McLachlan. Picture: Getty Images


There is strong support to use the map of Tasmania on its jumper, as a symbol to unite the state.

A green, maroon and yellow jumper featuring the map of Tasmania has been used in the push to secure the team, with those colours remaining the frontrunner for team branding.

The Tasmania Devils Coates League team currently plays in the green, maroon and yellow jumper proudly bearing the map.


The new club is likely to get $1 million outside the salary cap to provide sign-on bonuses for big-name players, and will benefit from a special Tassie father-son clause.

Free agency concessions, longer contracts for young players and first dibs on local star juniors are also in the mix.

It’s unclear if there will be ongoing salary cap concessions as an aid to player retention, with the go-home factor likely to be a serious issue for the 19th club just as it has been for the 17th and 18th teams – Gold Coast and GWS.

Attracting a big name will be crucial, and clubs will be nervous about what access Tasmania gets to their stars and what draft free kicks the new team will be awarded.

It’s likely Tasmania will be given a raft of valuable draft picks to trade for players with 70-120 games under their belts, to help the new team to be competitive from the outset.

Experienced recruiter Matt Rendell said this week clubs should expect at least three years of pain.

There will be caps on how many players could be lost from one team to Tasmania.

But Gillon McLachlan said while there’ll be concessions, they can’t muck around.

“I think there’s an acknowledgment now that the patience is less in our competition and the team will have to compete more aggressively … from year one,” he said.

But he is adamant that drafts will be “much less compromised than before” and there will be “much less impact on the competition” than previous expansions.


Being the inaugural coach is a mighty honour, but with it comes pressure to perform.

Alastair Clarkson has also been a vocal supporter of Tasmania’s addition to the competition, with his deal at North Melbourne set to end at the end of 2027. One to watch.

Local products in the coaching sphere include Chris Fagan, while Brendon Bolton is also a member of the state’s hall of fame and could eye a return to the senior coaching ranks.

Rising assistant coaches in the AFL at the moment include Corey Enright, Jaymie Graham and Adem Yze – could there be a succession plan in place like GWS did with Kevin Sheedy and Leon Cameron? Justin Leppitsch and Don Pyke are more experienced former coaches that could be lured south.

Tasmania Devils football jumper.

Tasmania Devils football jumper.

The Mercury helped drive the Tassie expansion campaign.

The Mercury helped drive the Tassie expansion campaign.


Hobart gets a brand new 23,000-seat stadium with a roof at Macquarie Point at a forecast cost of $715 million, slated to open in 2028.

Initial costs of $750 million were revised down after tense negotiations between the AFL and the Tasmanian and Commonwealth governments, and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese sealed the deal last Saturday when he pledged $240 million from Canberra.

The Tasmanian Government tips in $375 million, $15 million will come from the AFL and a further $85 million is pegged from borrowings against land sales and leases.

Tasmanian premier Jeremy Rockliff will be praying for a project delivered on time and on budget because Albanese said the Commonwealth wouldn’t be paying for any overruns: “I have confidence the Tasmanian Government will be able to get this project right.”


The AFL is determined to have a roof at Macquarie Point. The flexibility that a roof would allow in what has become the modern stadium experience is considered a priority, particularly in the “crisp” – and on some days that’s putting it kindly – Hobart climate.

In announcing the new team licence, Gillon McLachlan made a point of referencing the “roofed” stadium that would be constructed.

Cricket doesn’t want a roof because you can’t play Test cricket under one.

But then again, cricket isn’t paying.


The AFL has confirmed a $360 million package for football in the state that will include $209 million in funding of the team and more than $100 million for junior development and grassroots football in the state.

The Tasmanian Task Force estimates that “the club will be profitable if it receives an AFL distribution of $17 million per year” – which would have it sit in the “middle of the bottom third” of clubs – and that the Tasmanian government would also need to plough in between $7 million and $11 million per year.

The state government will also contribute $12 million per year over 12 years towards a team, along with another $60 million for a high-performance centre.

Carter noted that no existing club would be worse off due to increased media revenues generated by 11 extra games a year.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan.


Key Tasmanian brands – think Cadbury, Hazell Bros, Spirit of Tasmania, Cascade and Boag’s – will be champing at the bit to get a look-in with the hottest new team in town, but national brands will also see the potential huge upside of getting on the bandwagon early.

It’s a prime market locally, and fans will be flocking from around the country. Add guaranteed TV exposure and who wouldn’t want a piece of that?


Round 1, 2028 is the big day – but against who? Hawthorn or North Melbourne have claims given their recent tenancies in the Apple Isle. They have strong historical links too – think Peter Hudson and Brent Crosswell.

Maybe Richmond, with Tassie’s favourite son Matthew Richardson a popular link between the old and new. Could work.

Maybe the league will look to hook into the former club of a new marquee star. Makes marketing sense.

“Famous icons and wonderful ambassadors and true legends of the great game,” premier Jeremy Rockliff described some of the big names of Tasmanian footy.

Reckon St Kilda is the early favourite though. The Saints have arguably the greatest links to the state, and none bigger than the Doc. The Darrel Baldock Cup has a nice ring to it.

What should the Tasmanian AFL team be called?







Cast your vote


It is expected that the new team will split its home games between Hobart and Launceston.

If it enters the competition before the Macquarie Point stadium is complete, this split could more heavily favour Launceston’s UTAS Stadium before being more weighted to Hobart in the following years. Bellerive Oval also remains a live option in the early years.

Eventually, it is anticipated that the team would play seven home games at Macquarie Point and four games at UTAS Stadium, which received a $65 million federal funding boost for upgrades during Albanese’s visit last weekend.

Penguin’s Dial Park has been earmarked to host pre-season games.


Hawthorn is tied to Tasmania until at least the end of 2025, playing four home games in Launceston.

North Melbourne is locked away in Hobart for the same period and number of games.

Will Tasmania be willing to stump up millions for the Hawks and Roos in 2026 and 2027, as the local team prepares for takeoff? Time will tell.

But surely the Tasmanian Government couldn’t afford to fly in an AFL team from 2028 when it is helping to pay costs for the state’s new permanent team?

Looking long term, the Carter report indicated a belief that even if the North and Hawthorn deals with Tasmania were to end, shifting the games back to Victoria would mean they would be no worse off financially in the long term.

Hawthorn has committed to hosting its home game against a Tasmanian team at UTAS Stadium.

Tasmania could enter the VFL competition as a prelude to its introduction to the AFL, and split its games between Bellerive Oval in Hobart and UTAS Stadium in the north.

Hawthorn will continue to play matches in Tassie until at least the end of 2025. Picture: Getty Images

Hawthorn will continue to play matches in Tassie until at least the end of 2025. Picture: Getty Images


While the state united behind “the map” jumpers in years gone by of state representative football, a lack of a Tasmanian team has meant – as Carter noted in his review – many Tasmanians are “rusted on” to their AFL team.

It remains unknown how many will shift teams or purchase a second membership. It has been estimated that around 38,000 members can be expected for the new team, at a yield of $128 per member. That’s just shy of $5 million a year.

Memberships could be tailored to accommodate for the split in games between Launceston and Hobart in a bid to be accessible to as many Tasmanians as possible.

While the north-south rivalry is real, Carter noted, teams like the Hobart Hurricanes and Tasmania JackJumpers have received statewide support.


Like all new outfits, who is steering the ship off the field is equally – if not more – important than who is running out in the team jumper. Especially early.

The AFL and state government will get a say in who they are.

The chief executive will be followed by football department staff – crucially in the area of recruiting.

Current Richmond boss Brendon Gale is a proud Tasmanian and, while earmarked for a potential role at league headquarters to take the lead on the league’s newest venture, could loom as a likely target once the club is up and running. The Herald Sun reported on Saturday AFL game development executive Sam Graham — a spearhead at HQ for the project — was tipped to be the interim CEO.

Former Tasmanian premier Peter Gutwein could be the perfect first club chairman for the state’s flagship new team and has indicated his interest.

Businessman Brett Godfrey, who chaired the Tasmania Task Force, will also be considered, as will Tassie locals who went on to play at the highest level like Matthew Richardson and, in years to come, Jack Riewoldt, in either a football or administrative role.

The initial board will be five people, grown to seven by its 2028 start.

The team is expected to target one of the game’s most shrewd list-builders, with names like Kinnear Beatson (Sydney) and Stephen Wells (Geelong) already floated.


What does adding a 19th team mean for the finals? Adding Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney to make 18 teams hasn’t seen any change to the top-eight system, but 19 or 20?

The league is yet to confirm plans or float ideas for what the finals set up could look like.

But as one club official this week suggested, it could present an opportunity to trial a top 10, or even a top six with a playoff for the final two spots in the bye weekend, keeping more teams alive for longer.

The bye is another element the league’s fixturing boffins have to face. It’s not new ground given the AFL had the same issue when the Suns joined in 2011. Then, one team had a bye each week, rather than the clumps of bye weekends that are now spread across the middle of the season.

This would likely be the case in the short-term, but league legend Leigh Matthews expressed his doubt this week that the game would stay at 19 teams for long.

Junior footballers were front and centre at the Tasmania launch. Picture: Getty Images

Junior footballers were front and centre at the Tasmania launch. Picture: Getty Images


Expect the team to be based in or around Hobart, where the league will be putting $10 million towards a high performance facility likely not far from the Macquarie Point showpiece stadium. It could have offices in the city within months, with work to begin immediately on where the training and administration base will be.


The licence also covers entry into the AFL Women’s competition.

When that is remains to be seen, with the league saying on Tuesday that confirmation regarding the AFLW outfit would come “shortly”.

Kangaroo and Tasmanian Nicole Bresnehan was at North Hobart for the announcement.

“Tasmania’s best have had to cross Bass Strait in order to show the country what they can do. All of that changes today,” deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said.


A trip over on the Spirit of Tasmania, a short flight from Adelaide or Melbourne, Salamanca Market, a boat trip to MONA, brunch a stone’s throw away in Kingston Beach and walk to the footy in the afternoon. The advertisement for a Gather Round on the Apple Isle in the April school holidays just about writes itself.

“It’s been discussed,” McLachlan said.

“I think it’s clear we want to get to Sydney and to Perth. But it’s a beautiful place to have something like that. The intimacy here (at North Hobart) … it’s a good idea. There’s other priorities and we’ll work through that.”


An odd number of teams in the fixture just doesn’t fit. And while the ink isn’t even dry on the Tasmanian licence, conversation has already turned to where the league’s 20th team could be situated.

Western Australia, Northern Territory and Canberra have all been floated.

Newcastle or northern New South Wales is another option but amid questions of the state of Australian rules in the state, that seems unlikely.

Colin Carter said on Tuesday he doesn’t see a “natural” home for a 20th club.

Incoming league chief executive Andrew Dillon is playing his cards close to his chest.

More Coverage

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“We’ve had an odd number of teams in the competition a number of times,” he said this week.

“We’ve had 15 teams, 17 teams for a year when Gold Coast came in. It’s something you may look at but that’s something a long way down the track. We’re not even at 19 yet.”

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Silly question, why does a new stadium even need to be built for them? Can’t they use the 2 stadiums already in Tassie for their home games. That way all of Tasmania will be able to see them play and different times throughout the year?

I’d imagine it’s due to both capacity issues (10k max at the grounds currently?) and also the closed roof wishes

But they may still play lesser teams at Launceston (early season when warmer prob)

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Cos the AFL had their bluff called.

The never wanted a Tasmanian team but didn’t want to say so, so they put a ludicrously expensive ‘build us a brand new stadium and we’ll do it’ demand in front of the govt. They never genuinely believed any govt would actually pony up the money, now they’re having to make ■■■■ up as they go along for an expansion team they don’t want, that’s going to be a running sore on the face of the whole comp when it comes to list management, and that they know will almost certainly never break even.


In the nineties, Tasmania and Warner had been in a stoush about the use of the name.
Reportedly some deal was reached to pay a fee.

Jesus h Christ WOFTAM

There was a recent report on SEN

5 years is a bit BS to get a team in considering GWS and GC were done in 2-3

Sources with knowledge of the AFL’s draft plan, but not authorised to speak publicly, said that, of the four or five first-round picks the club would get in the 2027, 2028 and 2029 national drafts, the club would be required to trade two of those picks at each draft for experienced players.

Still doesn’t help them convince older players worth a damn to move across Bass Strait. There’ll be clubs queuing up for the tasty delicious draft picks, but a traded player still needs to agree. All that the afl is accomplishing with their ‘must trade’ limitation here is ensuring that some clubs will give up some fairly average players and get really good picks in exchange.


If a map of Tasmania is on their jumper, then their logo could be a ■■■■.

Star marquee players’ open to making Tassie move - and this is who they can target already

May 3rd, 2023 4:03 pm

Outgoing AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan says he has spoken to several “star marquee players” who have indicated they’d be open to a move to Tasmania.

The state was finally granted the 19th AFL licence on Wednesday after decades of persistence, with entry into the competition currently slated for 2028.

Attracting star players and young talent without compromising the other 18 sides will be a key challenge for the league, but one McLachlan believes is achievable.

“I think we’ve learned a lot about list builds and how we do that work to ensure, I think, probably more immediate success rather than longer term success,” he said on Wednesday.

“I think that we have tools and free agency and a lot, we learned a lot about actually how you do that while limiting the impact on the rest of the competition.

“Then in the end, like in our heavily regulated, equalised game, there’ll be the right people in the right spots making the right decisions.

“I think we will, reasonably quickly and with the support of the clubs, get a set of rules to put the squad together. It’ll be good decision making after that.”

McLachlan said he didn’t believe ‘selling’ the idea of playing for the Tasmanian side would be an issue.

“Like everything, Gold Coast works for some players and Geelong works for others. I think clubs are doing a much better job understanding what markets suit what players,” he said.

“I‘ve certainly spoken to enough star marquee players who love coming down here, starting young families … I’m not worried about that.

“I think we’ve had legitimate concerns historically, (but) this is a different city, this is a different state.

“What players want to be able to do is be good footballers, whether the AFLW or AFL, the facilities are going to be first class and playing in what I think what will be an incredible, pumping venue in the middle of a great city.”

Both Gold Coast and GWS have entered the competition in recent years, with the Giants making a grand final while the Suns are yet to play finals.

McLachlan said the learnings from both of those clubs would aid the build of the Tasmanian side.

“We‘ve learned a lot. The drafts will be much less compromised than they’ve been in the past. Free agency give us as leverage to do that,” he said.

“We’ve seen that actually there’s a lot of mature players who are ready to play who are not getting games across the board.

“There’s more mechanisms now and there’s more liquidity in the player market and we believe we can use that to have a very competitive team from day one with much less impact on the competition.”

Not sure why they even bothered noting the below

This list maybe more relevant, albeit many will be at end of their careers


Watch Sam Mitchell try and trade Wingard for pick 2.

Well, that’s just like SWMNBN’s “thources”, isn’t it? It’s a throwaway comment which he doesn’t have to prove or validate in any way.

My bet is that it’ll more likely be a few middling players (e.g. like Jarrad Brennan) who go and top-up their supernannuation. Have a look at the list of current players with Tasmanian connections… not too many under 30 there, and even less that are very good.

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Jye Menzie is from Tasmania

IF we absolutely have to lose him I’m sure we will cope

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I’m going to hate them when they start getting a free ride from the umps and twice the amount of frees for head contact.

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The AFL should just announce the ‘Perth Miners’ now.

A Perth team would have 50,000+ members within 2 years, and the AFL wouldn’t need to worry about them. Focus most of their attention on Tassie.


Even moreso if they throw around 1st and 2nd round picks…

I don’t mind him as a player, but really…