Will lashes NT’s footy goal

Sunday Tasmanian - - FRONT PAGE - BRETT STUBBS Sports Ed­i­tor

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.

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