OPINION

A truly Tasmanian AFL team is the only way to go

Tasmanians would clearly prefer their own team, rather than a relocated Victorian side or joint venture. Photo: Steve Bell/AFL Photos via Getty Images
Tasmanians would clearly prefer their own team, rather than a relocated Victorian side or joint venture. Photo: Steve Bell/AFL Photos via Getty Images

The report compiled by former league commissioner and Geelong president Colin Carter into Tasmania's case for an AFL licence presented several scenarios, but there is only one that would galvanise the state.

Tasmanians do not want a relocated team or a joint venture. They will only support their own team and it is long overdue, although there are already too many clubs in the competition.

While most Tasmanians already have an allegiance to an AFL club, there is no doubt a locally-based team would have huge appeal and help drive the code's development.

But these are tough economic times in the middle of a pandemic and it is not appropriate to consider the introduction of a 19th club.

You can understand the frustration expressed by Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein about the report's failure to decide on a timeline.

In the short-term, there is plenty at stake for Hawthorn and North Melbourne.

While the Hawks have established a strong connection and commitment to Tasmania in the past 20 years, the same can't be said about the Kangaroos.

Although North Melbourne has increased its number of home games since it began playing at Hobart's Blundstone Arena in 2012, Tasmanians have not warmed to the Roos, who loom as the obvious club to be involved in the unlikely event of a relocation.

If Gutwein carries out his threat of retribution on the AFL, it would have disastrous economic consequences for the Hawks and Roos, as well as deprive Tasmania's football-hungry market access to live games.

AFL'S SENSIBLE APPROACH PROVES CORRECT

If several outspoken journalists/commentators had their way, Collingwood's Jordan De Goey would have been suspended for more than a year.

How unfair that would have been after an indecent assault charge against De Goey and another man was withdrawn in the Melbourne Magistrates Court last week.

The charge related to an alleged incident in June 2015. Police, Collingwood and the AFL's integrity unit investigated the incident in 2018, but De Goey was not charged until July last year.

These commentators advocate the AFL should follow the NRL's lead of implementing a no-fault stand down rule, which automatically suspends players facing serious criminal charges.

They felt uncomfortable watching De Goey play after being charged, but the outcome of this case underlines the futility of the NRL policy.

Fortunately the AFL adopts a more sensible approach - players are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law.

Public perception or opinion should not be taken into account.

The heavily-tattooed De Goey cuts a mean-looking figure, but people should not be judged purely on appearance.

Marc Murphy deserved a proper send-off. Photo: Mark Brake/Getty Images

Marc Murphy deserved a proper send-off. Photo: Mark Brake/Getty Images

MURPHY DESERVED 300-GAME MILESTONE

Carlton aspires to regain the ruthless mindset that made the Blues one of the league's most feared and respected clubs last century, but there is no shame in celebrating the career of a wonderful servant.

While the Blues did not give Marc Murphy the send-off he deserved, copping a thrashing from Port Adelaide in his 300th and final AFL game, they were right in managing the former skipper to help him reach the milestone.

Those who criticised Carlton's use of the veteran as its medical substitute in the previous three games before starting him on the ground for his final appearance were out of line.

Sadly, family and close friends were unable to attend as they were in lockdown in Melbourne, but at least there were a few Blues supporters at Adelaide Oval to cheer him on.

His massive contribution to Carlton over 16 seasons has been undervalued.

Murphy captained the Blues for six years and in his prime he was a hard-working, skilful midfielder with the ability to turn games.

Twice he was Carlton's best and fairest and was unlucky not to have won more, being second on four occasions and third on another.

In 2011, when the Blues came within a kick of making a preliminary final under Brett Ratten, Murphy earned All-Australian honours and won the AFL Coaches Association award.

He showed great loyalty in a difficult era for Carlton, taking heed of sage advice from his father John when he was drafted.

John, who played with three clubs in a decorated career, expressed his desire for his son to remain a one-club player.

I interviewed Marc and John on the 2005 draft day and have maintained a strong relationship with them since.

Both are always happy to chat and never afraid to offer their opinions.

CLARKO, BURGOYNE A WINNING TEAM

While on milestones and farewells, it is fitting Alastair Clarkson and Shaun Burgoyne will depart Hawthorn together this weekend.

Clarkson was instrumental in luring Burgoyne from Port Adelaide.

The silky midfielder, who arrived under an injury cloud, has gone on to play a key role in three Hawks premierships to go with his first flag at the Power.

The match against Richmond will be Burgoyne's 250th in Hawthorn colours for a total of 407 to sit third on the all-time games list.

Clarkson leaves with four flags, having coached the Hawks in a club-record 390 appearances, and his immediate future remains the focus of intense media speculation.

Sadly, no fans will be in attendance to farewell them, but their grand service to the Hawks will never be forgotten.

Has Howard got it right? Email: howardkotton11@gmail.com; Twitter: @hpkotton59.

This story A truly Tasmanian AFL team is the only way to go | Howard Kotton first appeared on The Canberra Times.