Clarkson: Australia is behind Tassie’s AFL bid

New North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson has declared those against a Tasmanian AFL team might have a “hidden agenda” as he again threw his support behind the state’s bid to become the competition’s 19th team.

NORTH Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson says there’s not a person in the country that believes Tasmania’s inclusion in the AFL is not in the best interest of the game, stating the AFL knows ‘in their heart of hearts’ Tasmania should be in the national competition.

In a visit to Hobart on Wednesday for the Kangaroos’ Tasmanian season launch, Clarkson reiterated his strong support of the state’s licence bid and claimed those against Tasmania joining the national competition likely had a “hidden agenda”.

“What isn’t the subject of question is the grassroots concept of what’s good for the game and I don’t think there’s a person in the country that doesn’t think this [a Tasmanian AFL team] is good for the game,” Clarkson told the Mercury.

“Whether you’re a patriotic Tasmanian or whether you’re on the mainland, if we are having a national competition, Tasmania should be in it.

“I don’t think there’s a person in the country that would have a contrasting view to that, except those that might have a hidden agenda somewhere around money.”

The four-time premiership coach was buoyed by the AFL’s recent $360m commitment to a Tasmanian team [on the condition of a new stadium at Macquarie Point], stating the AFL knew Tasmania’s inclusion was the right thing for the game.

“What I’m excited about is it’s continuing to progress and that talks are continuingly being had between the government, the AFL and federal government and I’m sure they’re going to land on a good outcome,” Clarkson said.

“Whenever money is involved there’s always going to be a negotiation and it’s just going to take a little bit of time, and it’s already taken a little longer than anyone would have liked to be fair.

“But the bottom line is as that as long as they continue to talk, and particularly the encouraging commitment from the AFL last week, I think in their heart of hearts they think Tasmanian should be part of the national competition and that resonates with everyone down here in this state.”

After scouring the globe last year to study state of the art stadiums as part of his role within the state’s taskforce into the viability of an AFL team, Clarkson was in full support of a new Hobart stadium precinct and believed the proposed Macquarie Point was the best location.

“What’s changed in a significant manner and the way stadium are built nowadays, is that it used to be build a stadium and plop it there and use it once every two weeks but we aren’t looking for a stadium that will be used once every two weeks.

“It’s about can it be multifunctional and can it be 24-7 and it’s about actually building a precinct.

“All of these big stadiums around the world now are building these stadiums that have activity and it becomes an economically viable venue for the whole state.

“Hobart has just got its tongue hanging out waiting for that type of venue in my view,” he said.

“And having access to land that is as close to the CBD as what Mac Point is, I can’t see a better venue [location] in the state.”

Originally published as Clarkson weighs in on Tasmanian AFL deal and new stadium talks

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