Australian rules football in Tasmania

Sport overview
noncountry = Tasmania
sport = Australian rules football

imagesize = 260px
caption =
union = AFL Tasmania
nickname =
first = 1864, New Towm
registered = 32,138 (total) 4,500 (adult)
clubs =
match = 24,968 (1979). TFL Grand Final Glenorchy v Clarence (North Hobart Oval, Hobart)
league =
national1 =
club1 = Northern Tasmanian Football League
club2 = Southern Football League
club3 = Circular Head Football Association
club4 = Darwin Football Association
club5 = Southern Football League
club6 = King Island Football Association
club7 = Leven Football Association
club8 = Northern Tasmanian Football Association
club9 = Oatlands District Football Association
club10 = Old Scholars Football Association

Australian rules football in Tasmania has a history dating back to the 1860s, with the state having the distinction of being the first place outside of Victoria to play the sport.

Despite not being represented in a national competition, it remains the most popular sport in the state, and has the second highest participation rate in the country.


The origins of Australian rules football in Tasmania can be traced back to 1864, when a club existed at New Town but disbanded soon after. About this time the Derwent and Stowell Football clubs were formed, while in 1871 the Break O'Day club was formed.In 1875 the Launceston Club was created. Other clubs to start soon after were Longford (1878), Launceston Church Grammar School (1876) and Cornwall (1879), which became City in 1880.The City and Richmond clubs were formed in 1877 and the Oatlands and Railway clubs in 1879.

New Town formally started in 1878 and along with City and Richmond formed the basis of the game in Hobart, while in Launceston the abovementioned clubs formed the basis for the NTFA.

On May 1 1879 members of the Tasmanian Cricket Association met and decided to form a club for their members, to be called Cricketers.

Tasmanian Football League

The Tasmanian Football League existed as far back as 1879 and matches were played in the Greater Hobart area. It became the TFL Statewide League in 1986, comprising six teams from the South and two teams from Launceston. In 1987 two more teams were added, from Burnie and Devonport. In 1994 a third Launceston team was admitted.

The local leagues have been extremely popular and attracted large crowds, including a Tasmanian record of 24,968 in 1979 for the TFL Grand Final between Glenorchy and Clarence at the North Hobart Oval, which has still not been broken.

The TFL Statewide League was haemorrhaging badly in the 1990s with most clubs in severe financial difficulty, suffering from very poor attendances, and was losing players to rival competitions including the STFL (Hobart), NTFL (North & North West Coast) and the NTFA (Launceston), and to various mainland competitions where money was more abundant. The League was reduced to six teams by the late 90s, and public interest had gone.The final TFL match occurred at York Park (now Aurora Stadium) in Launceston between Northern Bombers (North Launceston) and Clarence in the 2000 Grand Final, which resulted in a 49-point win to Clarence.The crowd attendance of just 6124 was the lowest TFL Grand Final crowd in 40 years, and the second lowest since the 1930s. It was the first TFL Grand Final held away from North Hobart Oval since the early 1920s.

Interstate Competition

Tasmania was a strong competitor in early Interstate matches in Australian rules football, before being incorporated into the Allies representative team.

Tasmanian VFL/AFL Bids

With a historically strong supporter base for Australian rules football, one of the highest participation rates in the country and strong local leagues, Tasmania had held back from expressing serious interest in the VFL.

With the relocation of the Sydney Swans and admission of teams from Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide, Tasmania began a push to enter the national competition.

Between 1996 and 1998 a bid was prepared that involved the construction of a 30,000-capacity stadium in the Hobart showgrounds in Glenorchy, at the cost of $34 million. The stadium would have been the team's only home ground, but the appeal was unsuccessful and the stadium was not built.

On several occasions the AFL has dismissed notions of admitting a Tasmanian side into the national competition, frequently citing a relatively small state population and a lack of sponsorship interest. A rift between the two major population centres of Hobart and Launceston about where a "home ground" would be located has also contributed to problematic bids.

Some argue that AFL clubs, like Geelong with its 300,000 local people, have catchment areas with fewer people than Tasmania, with 500,000 people. North Melbourne's home turf has even fewer people. According to this argument Tasmania's larger size is not thought to be very important.

AFL Exhibition Matches

The Hawthorn Football Club and St Kilda Football Clubs have been playing "home" matches at Aurora Stadium since 2001, supported by the Tasmanian government in an attempt to build a local following and leave open a possibility of future relocation. In 2006, St Kilda announced that the club would be ceasing its deal with the Tasmanian government and would not play games in Tasmania in 2007.Crowds for these matches average around 15-20,000 per match.

The Tasmanian Devils and the VFL

To quell bids for a Tasmanian team in the AFL, the Australian Football League largely instigated the formation a Tasmanian team for the VFL -The Tasmanian Devils Football Club, formed in 2001 and admitted into the VFL in its inaugural year. The team is owned by the AFL, sparking speculation of a possible AFL entrance in the future.

The Devils regularly attract large crowds, but the following is not considered as significant as it would be if the state had a team in the national competition.

2008 AFL Licence Bid

A government backed Tasmanian bid was prepared in response to the AFL admitting new licences for the Gold Coast and Western Sydney. While the AFL admitted that the state had put together a stronger business case, it was once again swiftly rejected by the league. AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou was quoted to have said to the Tasmanian premier Paul Lennon "Not now, not ever". [ [ Official Website of the Australian Football League > News Article > AFL says no to Tassie ] ] Hobart's major daily newspaper The Mercury started a petition in response to this news on April 16, 2008. [ [,22884,23483039-5006520,00.html Petition for a Tassie AFL team | Mercury - The Voice of Tasmania ] ] The premier vowed to bypass the AFL CEO and take the appeal directly to the AFL Commission.

On 30 July, the Tasmanian government announced that it had secured a major sponsor, Mars for the bid in a deal worth $4 million over 3 years. It was long doubted by the AFL that the Tasmanian club would secure corporate interest before a proposal is accepted by the AFL and this announcement came as a major shock as it was before a sponsor could be found for either the Gold Coast or Western Sydney Clubs and as AFL clubs Richmond [,21985,24069899-19742,00.html] and Western Bulldogs [,8659,24027839-23211,00.html] were left without a major sponsor for 2009. In addition to the Gemba financial audit of the bid to meet the AFL criteria, the Tasmania team had secured more than 20,000 potential members, ahead of the Gold Coast and Western Sydney bid in raw numbers. []


In 2007, there were 4,500 senior players and a total of 32,138 participants in Aussie Rules in Tasmania [ [ More chase Sherrin than before - ] ] . A total participation per capita of 5% is the second-highest participation in the country, behind the Northern Territory. []


Attendance Record

* 24,968 (1979). TFL Grand Final Glenorchy v Clarence (North Hobart Oval, Hobart)

Major Australian Rules Events in Tasmania

*Australian Football League Premiership Season (Hawks 'home' games)
*Southern Football League Grand Final
*Northern Tasmanian Football League Grand Final

Tasmanian Football Team of the Century

In 2004 the Board of Management of AFL Tasmania named a Team of the Century for the state. It had 18 on field and seven interchange players as well as an umpire, coach and assistant coach.

Aussie rules team | title = Team of the Century
backpocket1 = Verdun Howell
fullback = Tassie Johnson
backpocket2 = Ivor Warne-Smith
halfbackflank1 = Barry Lawrence
centrehalfback = Laurie Nash
halfbackflank2 = Brent Crosswell
wing1 = Rodney Eade
centre = Ian Stewart
wing2 = Arthur Hodgson
halfforwardflank1 = Darrel Baldock (c)
centrehalfforward = Royce Hart
halfforwardflank2 = Daryn Cresswell
forwardpocket1 = Horrie Gorringe
fullforward = Peter Hudson
forwardpocket2 = Alastair Lynch
ruck = Percy Jones
ruckrover = John Leedham (vc)
rover = Terry Cashion
interchange1 = Neil Conlan
interchange2 = Darrin Pritchard
interchange3 = Paul Williams
interchange4 = Michael Roach
interchange5 = Len Pye
interchange6 = Rex Garwood
Matthew Richardson
coach = Roy Cazaly

* Assistant Coach -Robert Shaw
* Umpire - Scott Jeffery

Notable Tasmanian Players in the AFL

Tasmania has supplied over 300 players to the elite level, including greats such as Ian Stewart, Darrin Pritchard, Darrell Baldock, Royce Hart, Peter Hudson, Rodney Eade, John McCarthy, James Manson, Michael Gale, Brendon Gale, Adrian Fletcher and Alastair Lynch.

Others to have played VFL/AFL football include -

*Matthew Richardson
*Brad Green
*Russell Robertson
*Jade Rawlings
*Brodie Holland
*Peter Street
*Justin Sherman
*Grant Birchall
*Nick Riewoldt
*David Neitz
*Jack Riewoldt
*Simon Taylor

Representative Side

The Tasmanian representative team have played State of Origin test matches against all other Australian states. They still play at U19 level.

:See Also Interstate matches in Australian rules football

Governing body

The governing body for Aussie Rules in Tasmania is AFL Tasmania.

It is divided into north and southern regional bodies:
*AFL Northern Tasmania
*AFL Southern Tasmania

Leagues & Clubs

Professional Southern Tasmanian Clubs

*Tasmanian Devils Football Club (Victorian Football League)
*North Hobart Football Club [ Official Site]
*Kingborough Tigers Football Club [ Official Site]
*Glenorchy District Football Club [ Official Site]
*Hobart Football Club [ Official Site]
*Cygnet Football Club [ Official Site]
*Lindisfarne Football Club [ Official Site]
*Sorell Football Club [ Official Site]


*Circular Head Football Association
*Darwin Football Association
*King Island Football Association
*Leven Football Association
*Northern Eastern Football Union
*Northern Tasmanian Football Association
*Northern Tasmanian Football League
*North Western Football Association
*Oatlands District Football Association
*Old Scholars Football Association
*Southern Football League

Defunct Leagues

*Tasmanian Football League
*Tasmanian Amateur Football League
*Huon Football Association
*North West Christian Amateur Football League
*Peninsula Football Association
*Tasman Football Association
*Fingal District Football Association


*Southern Tasmania Junior Football League
* Northern Tasmanian Junior Football Association (NTJFA)
*North Hobart Junior Football Club


*Masters Australian Football Tasmania


*TFLUA - Tasmanian Football League Umpires Association

Principle Venues

*Aurora Stadium
*North Hobart Oval


* AFL Tasmania
* Australian Football League

External links

* [ Tasmanian Football Legends]
* [ Tasmanian Football, the first 60 years]
* [ Official Team of the Century]
* [ Southern FL Official Site]
* [ Southern Tasmanian JFL Official Site]
* [ North Hobart Junior Football Club Official Site]
* [ Masters Rules Official Site]
* [ Tasmanian Umpires Official Site]

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