Hawks want no part of Tas rivalry - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hawks want no part of Tas rivalry

Roger Vaughan 18/06/2011 02:18:24 PM Comments (0)

Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett has hit a raw social nerve in Tasmania as he tries to distance his AFL club from the island's north-south divide.

Kennett said on Saturday that the Hawks welcomed the decision for North Melbourne to play some home games in Hobart.

But he also stressed he did not want any use of the "north-south" rivalry as part of any promotion for Tasmanian games between the two clubs.

The Hawks have a long-term and successful arrangement to play several home games each season at Launceston's Aurora Stadium, in northern Tasmania.

The Kangaroos will now start playing a small number of home games at Hobart's Bellerive Oval, in the south.

Tasmania has a fierce geographic rivalry, symbolised for example by Boags beer (north) and the Cascade brewery (south).

It came out during the often-messy local deliberations before the state government formally backed North Melbourne's plan to play in Hobart.

Hawthorn will host North on August 7 in Launceston, their last Tasmanian game for the season.

"We don't want to be used to further accelerate a division that has existed probably since white settlement here," Kennett said before Hawthorn's Aurora Stadium clash against Gold Coast.

"It would be nice to think a new agenda was set, to see Tasmania represented as one.

"I don't want to see nor do I want Hawthorn to be involved in a game that promotes north against south.

"That is terribly self-destructive."

Kennett, the former Victorian Premier, said it was vital that Tasmanians set aside the north-south divide and start working better together.

"We have come here to be part of Tasmania - not the north, not the south - and we don't want to have our brand utilised to further advance that divide," he added.

"That is more pertinent right now when the budget that's been handed down for a community of 500,000 says to me quite clearly that Tasmania's future does not lie in the internals of a community that sees itself divided.

"If you're going to maximise the opportunities of Hawthorn and North Melbourne football down here and any other events or activities you undertake, it's not a southern Tasmania or northern Tasmania that is going to attract new investment.

"It's going to be Tasmania and all the wonderments it offers."

Kennett will speak to the Tasmanian government about his concerns and also fears the AFL will try to push the north-south "button' in its local marketing.

"I know the AFL will be very tempted to do it," he said.

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