In a unanimous show of unity, all participating players, coaches and support staff in the Tasmanian State League, Mercury Cup, Tasmanian State League Women’s and the TSL aligned U18s competition will wear dual red arm bands in this weekend’s games to highlight the need for the state league.
All 7 presidents of the current TSL clubs are united in their clubs position presented to the Gill McLaughlin lead steering committee into the Future directions of AFL in Tasmania, the Tasmanian State league must stay to complement the elite talent pathways being touted for the top end talent within the Tasmanian football community.
“The success of the current TSL structure and all 7 clubs professionalism and football programs was ratified on the weekend when 12 young men out of the Tassie Mariners were named in the U18 Allies squad for this year’s Div 1 U18 national carnival,” said Craig Martin President of North Hobart Football club.
“Should the Tasmanian State League not be a part of Future directions of Tasmanian Football steering committees plan then it is a shot to the heart of the entire football community in Tasmania. The TSL is bigger than the 7 vested TSL clubs, it’s about a massive number of supporters, volunteers and a critical mass of young men and women who aspire to play in the state’s premier competition,” said Paul Gadomski of the Tigers Football club.
The players and coaches best understand the role the TSL plays in developing the state’s best talent, and through this demonstration of unity are asking AFL CEO Gill McLaughlin, AFL Tas CEO Trisha Squires and the entire steering committee to listen to them.
“TSL clubs provide a professional environment where players are given access to good coaches and support staff where they can train hard, smart and recover well to ensure they play to their optimum week after week. We teach them life skills. Do we really want a return to a regional system that forces our Allies representatives and draft hopefuls to start looking at interstate football careers?” said Richard Robinson – Senior Coach NHFC.
Support for TSL survival is growing with the Premier Will Hodgman quoted in the Mercury last week as saying he has challenged the AFL and Gill Mclaughlin to step up and back the state league.
Trent Baumeller – Senior Coach of the Tigers FC said: “The TSL is the premier competition in the state, not just in terms of the football played but the professional environments its creates for young men striving to play at the highest level environment they can. The Tigers have been lucky enough to see Mackenzie Willis drafted to Gold Coast via the TSL, and Keiran Lovell and Hugh Dixon have come back to state league levels in their draft years after their Mariners seasons were over to remain playing at a high state league level.”
The players of the TSL urge all fans to support the TSL remaining as an integral part of the Tasmanian football strategic plan. Why should Tasmania be the only state in Australia without a state league?
Glenorchy senior coach – Paul Kennedy went on to say: “Scrapping the state league would create a black hole in the talent pathway. I have spent 17 years in the VFL as a player and coach and can say without hesitation the TSL is a perfect stepping stone into this state’s own VFL team. Without it though, the step up to VFL football would be a quantum leap for our young players, and the Devils would be set up to fail.”
Jeromey Webberly – Senior coach – Clarence football club said “Why do we need the TSL? For me it’s simple, best competition, best players, best facilities and best environments in the state. If coaches and players are aspiring to reach the highest level possible it’s where they should be.”