Tasmania’s bid for Tasmanian teams in the AFL and AFLW received a boost on Saturday with Federal Minister for Sport Senator Bridget McKenzie and Tasmanian Nationals Senator Steve Martin launching a virtual Tassie Team which is free for all to join.
“Steve Martin has been going on about this since the first day he arrived in Canberra and his Virtual Tassie team has my full support,” Minister McKenzie said in Launceston on Saturday.
“The Nationals in Government are investing record funding in sport and despite being a Victorian myself, I would love to see an AFL team and especially an AFLW team from Tasmanian in the national competitions.
Senator Martin said the idea of T23.com.au was to harness people power to convince the AFL hierarchy to “do the right thing”.
“Go to T23.com.au and sign up. Please also like the TeamTas2023 page on Facebook. This has nothing to do with party politics: the more Tassies join the team, the harder it will be for the AFL not to fix the injustice of our absence from the comp,” Senator Martin said.
“It is just ridiculous that non footy states like NSW and Queensland were given two teams and we have zero.”
He said 2023 was chosen because it coincided with the period when Hawthorn and North Melbourne’s current contracts to play a handful of games in Tasmania are up for renewal as will be the television rights deal.
“If we miss this window, we’ll have to wait another five to seven years and that’s not good enough,” Senator Martin said.
“I note the State Government has set up a committee to look at the issue but that’s not going to be enough to convince the hard heads in Melbourne.”
“A huge virtual Tassie Team though is a message even they will understand.”
He said the name of the new teams would be up to the members, but that so far Tasmanian Devils was a crowd favourite.