IT HAS been a big week in Tasmanian football, as another JLT Community Series fixture hit the state, AFL Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Gillon McLaughlin finally confirmed his trip to Tasmania, and a new sponsor jumped on board for the Tasmanian State League (TSL).
AFL CEO Confirms Tassie Trip:
Weeks after AFL Tasmania received confirmation from league headquarters that AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan will visit the state to address Tasmanian football’s biggest issues, McLachlan has shed more light on his trip.
McLachlan will head to the state later this month and reveled he delayed his trip intentionally due to the state election last Saturday.
“I committed to wait until the election was over to go to Tasmania – I think everyone understands that’s fair and appropriate,” McLachlan said.
“I’m sure when I’m there, I will catch up with Will Hodgman (the state’s premier).”
Local fans have called upon action from the AFL following the exits of Burnie and Devonport from the state’s top competition, the TSL, but McLachlan says the AFL has significantly increased its investment in Tasmanian community football over the past number of years.
“That is our focus at the moment – getting youth and community football working in Tasmania again,” he said.
“I acknowledge there are challenges down there.”
Bupa signs on as TSL naming rights sponsor
In positive news just ahead of the beginning of the TSL season on Good Friday, AFL Tasmania announced on Thursday that Bupa have signed on as the naming rights sponsor for the competition, now known as the Bupa TSL.
TSL General Manager Carl Saunder told the competition website that AFL Tasmania were thrilled to have Bupa on board.
“It has been a challenging period for the TSL and it is fantastic to have the support and backing of a reputable company that truly cares about Tasmania,” he said. “We are excited for the first bounce of the Bupa TSL season on Good Friday. “It is shaping up as a great season with a balanced competition and exciting talent across our seven clubs,” Mr Saunder said.
The 2018 Bupa TSL Season will be officially launched on March 15.
JLT heads to Launceston:
This Saturday sees the state host its second JLT Community Series game when Hawthorn take on Carlton at UTAS Stadium.
Both sides will play their second and final pre-season game, with the Blues impressing in their victory over St. Kilda while the Hawks fought a tight tussle with the Western Bulldogs in JLT 1.
Carlton’s win last Wednesday night was highlighted by a stronger attacking focus than last season with youngsters Harry McKay, Caleb Marchbank, Zac Fisher and Paddy Dow giving Blues fans hope for the season ahead.
The Hawks headed to Ballarat last Saturday to face the Bulldogs and while they were defeated 15.10 (100) to 11.12 (78) with a number of new recruits and familiar faces standing out.
Tom Mitchell (30 disposals, one goal) continued on with his outstanding first season form with the Hawks while James Sicily (24 disposals, eight rebound 50’s) looks to be given more responsibility across back-half following Luke Hodge’s move to Brisbane.
New Hawk Jarman Impey also showed the attacking flair he will bring into the line-up, finishing with 15 disposals and six inside 50’s.
Both sides will hold open training sessions at UTAS Stadium on Friday March 9 with Hawthorn training kicking off at 4PM while Blues fans can see Brendan Bolton’s men from 6:45PM.
Both clubs VFL affiliates will also visit the state with a curtain raiser between Box Hill and Northern Blues kicking off at 4PM.
Hawthorn will also host a family day at the stadium on Sunday March 11 from 11am – 2pm.