Kennett hopes for NZ AFL team - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Kennett hopes for NZ AFL team

By Roger Vaughan 03/04/2011 04:33:59 PM Comments (0)

Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett hopes the AFL will consider a team in New Zealand when they decide to expand again.

The Hawks have been forging closer ties with AFLNZ and they have a Trent Croad scholarship scheme in the country, named after their NZ-born premiership player.

Gold Coast's debut on Saturday night and the entry of Greater Western Sydney next year will take the league to 18 teams.

"I suspect in 20 years from now there will probably be another two (teams) and I hope the AFL is looking perhaps at including New Zealand," Kennett said on Sunday before the game against Melbourne.

"I think rather than taking all the Commission and the gaggle of geese that follow them, all the media, overseas to South Africa and Ireland. New Zealand is our closest neighbour and there are a lot of very good sportsmen over there who can't get to play in their top Rugby teams because they're normally occupied by Maoris or Islanders.

"There's a lot of young men who don't have a football sport to excel in and I think New Zealand, with it's population so close to Australia, would be a very good option to consider."

With league operations manager Adrian Anderson in the audience, Kennett predictably had a dig about the controversial new substitution rule as he spoke about NZ.

"I know we won't make decisions quickly, it's not the way we do things in the AFL," Kennett said sarcastically.

"Like the substitute rule or anything else, we take plenty of time to think about it and discuss it through.

"But I think long-term it's a good idea is New Zealand is considered."

Hawthorn have signed a five-year extension on their lucrative deal with the Tasmanian Government, where they play four premiership games per year at Launceston's Aurora Stadium.

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