Tassie should drop AFL dream: Kennett - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tassie should drop AFL dream: Kennett

By Adam Cooper 09/08/2008 03:48:46 PM Comments (0)

Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett has called on Tasmania to be prepared to let go of the dream of having its own AFL side and instead put their united support behind the Hawks.

Speaking before Hawthorn's last home game this season on the island state, Kennett wished Tasmania luck in its ambition, but said it was difficult having the state vie for a market the Hawks were already courting.

The Tasmanian government is a sponsor of Hawthorn's, and supports the Hawks playing home games at Launceston's Aurora Stadium, but is also desperate to one day have its own team admitted to the league.

The AFL has committed its next two licences to the Gold Coast and western Sydney, and Kennett said Tasmania had to be prepared to let go of its dream.

"Hopefully once the AFL makes a decision, one way or the other, that will be the end of the campaign, because we as a club are trying so hard to not only meet our obligations but to exceed them," Kennett said before the Hawks took on the Brisbane Lions.

"It's a bit hard when at the same time a campaign is being run by your major sponsor fundamentally saying 'We'd rather have our own team'.

"Although we've got three years to go in this particular partnership, we are working very, very hard to give Tasmania exposure on the mainland and to bring not only increased tourism here, but increased investment from corporates."

Kennett told Tasmanian Sports Minister Michelle O'Byrne the government was entitled to pursue a campaign to have its own team admitted.

"But there must come a time when the Tasmanian community understands the costs and the risks, and if it doesn't bear up, then I hope again you can fully embrace the efforts Hawthorn is doing and making on your behalf," he said.

Kennett said Hawthorn had increased their Tasmanian membership by a third in 2008, and aimed to double it next year.

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