Will lashes NT’s footy goal
PREMIER Will Hodgman says “all hell would break loose” if football chiefs granted an AFL licence to the Northern Territory ahead of Tasmania. His comments follow a meeting between NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner and AFL boss Gillon McLachlan to discuss a team in the top end.
TASMANIAN Premier Will Hodgman has vowed to unleash hell should the Northern Territory get an AFL licence before the southern state.
The NT Government has announced a $100,000 scoping study to fund an investigation into a top-end team and NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner and NTAFL’s chief executive Stuart Totham met with AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan last Monday to discuss the long-term plan.
“We want to attract more people to live in the Territory, create local jobs and to make Darwin the capital of Northern Australia — having our own AFL team will help achieve these things,’’ Mr Gunner told the NT News.
“It might be 10 years until an AFL licence becomes available, but we need a plan and we need to be prepared so that we are in the conversation.’’
However, it is understood the AFL believes any NT push is well behind Tasmania’s current position. Mr Hodgman said his government would continue to lobby Tasmania’s case for inclusion at the earliest possible chance.
“The NT News is infamous for its crazy headlines, and this is its latest,” Mr Hodgman said.
“Tasmanians rightly feel dudded at not having a team in the AFL, so all hell would break loose if they gave one to a territory before the great footy state of Tasmania.
“We will continue to build the case to secure the next licence, and have asked the AFL to outline the time frame in which the competition will become truly a national one.”
AFL spokesman Jay Allen confirmed the meeting between Mr McLachlan and NT representatives and said the league welcomed the investment.
“Any work that has a positive influence on the local community and helps grow the game for boys and girls is welcomed,” Mr Allen said.
Opposition sports spokesman David O’Byrne said the NT Government was showing the leadership Tasmania needed to push its case.
“The NT is taking a longerterm view and doing all that is required to get themselves ready, as opposed to our Tasmanian Liberal Government, led by weak Hodgman, who can’t even agree to make a plan and do the work necessary to best position for a licence,” Mr O’Byrne said.