New state league for Tasmania
Wednesday, December 31 2008 @ 12:10 am ACDT
Contributed by: Brett Northey
Not helping the cause over the years of a Tasmanian AFL bid has been troubles within Tassie's domestic football scene. The same issues that affect an AFL push also affect local footy. With a relatively small population spread right across the state, it has been difficult to maintain a coherent state league. Tasmania has sometimes had a single league and sometimes it has broken into northern and southern leagues. Compounding their problems, the state has a side in Victoria's state league, the VFL, that has consistently performed very poorly.
Perhaps a change for the better is on the way - but it's a controversial one. AFL Tasmania was established by the AFL in 1998. It has managed and delivered game development programs throughout Tasmania but mostly in isolation to the clubs - it's probably fair to say that the various clubs and leagues have not always been on the same page.
It is AFL Tasmania that is behind the launch of a new Tassie-wide league, to be called the Wrest Point Tasmanian State League. In 2009 it will have 10 clubs, a mixture from across the island. They are Burnie, Devonport, Launceston, North Launceston, South Launceston, Glenorchy, North Hobart, Hobart, Clarence and Lauderdale.
Some clubs are concerned that the new league will make the existing leagues, from which the clubs will come, non-viable, especially if there are further moves in future seasons. Whether the new structure will help strengthen the game on the Apple Island remains to be seen, and organisers have stated that "The desired end result may take a decade to achieve – but – the end result will be worth the effort. Quality and professional Tasmanian State League Clubs will go a long way toward reinvigorating community pride in the quality of the Tasmanian football product".