Hawks hoping to convert Tasmania - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hawks hoping to convert Tasmania

27/09/2008 10:40:06 PM Comments (0)

Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett hopes the Hawks' grand final triumph will finally convince Tasmania to let go its vision for an AFL club permanently based there, and fully embrace the new premiers.

Kennett said he, Hawthorn chief executive Ian Robson and coach Alastair Clarkson would head for Tasmania next week with the premiership cup - taking it straight to Premier David Bartlett's office.

Hawthorn have a $3 million-a-season deal with Tasmania to play four games per season in Launceston until 2011.

But cutting across the Hawks' endeavours to be a Tasmanian presence is the Apple Isle government's push for a team permanently based there in the next wave of AFL expansion in 2011 and 2012.

Tasmania wants to take a spot in any 18-team competition, eyeing the place the AFL wants to give to western Sydney.

"I am looking forward to putting the cup on the premier's desk and saying 'here's your first KPI (key performance indicator)," Kennett told the Hawks' post-grand final function at Crown Casino tonight.

"No Tasmanian team will ever give on the mainland the same sort of publicity that we give to Tasmania in their interest.

"I will be saying to the premier, 'finish your exercise you've got with Hawthorn - a partner money can't buy'."

More than 1,000 people attended the Hawks' official grand final function, which celebrated the club's first premiership win since 1991.

The 22 premiership players were presented to the crowd in shirts and ties, with their jerseys worn over the top.

Kennett said the school of thought that a Hawthorn premiership had come sooner than expected after their massive rebuilding over the past few seasons was wrong.

He paid tribute to several of the figures involved in rebuilding the club after its near-extinction in 1996, including former star player and ex-chief executive Jason Dunstall, who surprisingly chose not to attend tonight's function.

"This didn't happen by accident," Kennett said.

"Geelong has been a wonderful team. But today, we were better.

"I hope and expect next year with this team, the enthusiasm, and the leadership, we'll continue to deliver."

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