NLFC & LFC Joint Statement

April 10, 2024

Joint statement sent to AFL Tasmania by email.


The cessation of the Statewide League and the move to a regional model (despite the warnings) was hailed as a victory march and has quickly descended into a scavenger hunt.

It was always going to be a treacherous trail, particularly in the North, with an ill-considered move to a new competition, a Premier League managed by the NTFA. The path is now littered with dissent and dissatisfaction made even more difficult to navigate without a true expedition leader who seems to have gone missing or perhaps pre-occupied with an easier, more glorified, passage to a Tasmanian AFL team.

As this is written, the Tasmanian football community at large should be under no illusion as to standing on the precipice of a cavernous pit of catastrophe. It is a pit that cannot be cleared from a base of fragility with nothing more than a leap of faith.

The leap (if it is to be made at all) must be from a stable platform borne from proper preparation and foundation and be well timed with a clear pathway on the other side.

A rushed and ill-timed leap will not traverse the perilous pit and it will be difficult to find rescue.

The two Statewide League clubs in the North, Launceston (LFC) and North Launceston (NLFC) represent not only their members and stakeholders but consider themselves custodians of the game and the many good people that share a passion for it. Consequently, they each consider that whilst change is inevitable and will not be unreasonably or obstinately opposed, it cannot leave any person, club, competition, or region behind or disadvantaged.

Properly considered change and most importantly the timing of it, is a chance for a whole state buy in.

The myopic change that was and continues to be trumpeted, required an evidentiary basis that was truly negotiated with precise communication and due respect rather than the current thought bubbles “we think it will be ok” or “we have more work to do.”

It will not be ok and there is so much work to do that it presents a need for the status quo until the work is done.

The respective Licence Agreements require AFL Tasmania to use its best endeavors to ensure that the Statewide League Clubs have a suitable AFL competition in which to compete in the season following the cessation of the Statewide League competition. The evidence to date is that AFL Tasmania has not done so.

It took six months from the call for expressions of interest to join the Premier League for the successful teams to be announced. Once they were, the disdain was immediate. The criteria were so poorly drafted as to not be capable of proper measurement or quantification and as predicted, the unsuccessful clubs were disgruntled. The same unsuccessful clubs will purportedly have equal voting rights on the operation of the Premier League as those within it.

Once announced, with all due respect to Deloraine and Scottsdale in particular, it was immediately obvious that this was a marriage of convenience and not one with any justification. A marriage without love, communication and sustained commitment will not last.

When the Premier League was first announced it was accepted that the successful NTFA teams would need to lift their standard and professionalism to Statewide League level. This cannot happen overnight and if it can happen at all it will need a transitional period. A period of courting if you like to build the relationship from the perspective of all parties to make the marriage work. Nobody is interested in a one season stand. The Statewide League should continue for a period no less than 3 years from the end of the 2024 season.

The goal posts seem to be changing around commitments made regarding the standard of competition and aspirational pathways to a VFL team which nobody seems to know anything about but we are expected to deliver our football, stained with many years of blood and tears straight down the corridor and hit AFL Tasmania on the chest with a celebratory pat on the back thereafter. No thanks.

The lack of consultation and communication is perhaps the most frustrating and disrespectful thing about this process. The intent was never to join the NTFA where their regular meetings leave our 2 clubs with the scavenger hunt for detail and precision. This was to be a new competition with proper consideration and input as to how it would be suitable for the 2 Northern Statewide League clubs and we have not been fairly or respectfully involved in any NTFA meeting or decision making.

So, what is suitable about the following:

  • An uneven competition
  • A lack of detail about the salary cap
  • A lack of detail of how the NTFA points system will work
  • The uncertainty of junior pathways within the Premier Division
  • The detrimental impact on sponsorship
  • The lack of assistance and consideration for NLFC not being allowed 4 games on UTAS Stadium
  • The lack of clarity around budgets
  • The lack of detail of how the 4 NTFA teams in the Premier League will commit to list management, professional development etc
  • Deficient player numbers
  • Uncertainty about the VFL side

There is historical evidence for the view that the fork in the road has resulted in the wrong path chosen. In the early 1980’s a 6 team NTFA competition was losing relevance with the public and the top local players with many of them choosing to head south for a higher-level competition. To stem the bleeding and re-invigorate the NTFA in 1984 George Town and Deloraine joined to make 8 teams which made little difference. The NTFA finished in 1986 with the NTFA and NTFL joining to make another greater northern league.

Round 1 of the 2024 NTFA competition shows current evidence of the shortfalls and absurdity in the decision making of the NTFA and the lack of suitability for LFC and NLFC in the proposed Premier League for 2025. It is apparent that decisions were made based on geography not chemistry or sustainability. The decisions seem to have prioritized the growth of NTFA clubs not the suitability of competition for the Statewide League clubs in the north of the state. The problem does not necessarily exist or at least not to the same extent in the south, with 5 Statewide League clubs moving to a 6-team regional competition.

Round 1 NTFA 2024

Under 18 boys

St Pats 26.19 (175)

Scottsdale 0.2(2)


George Town 21.14(140)

Deloraine 3.5(23)



Hillwood 13.20 (98)

Scottsdale 2.3(15)


George Town 14.7(91)

Deloraine 6.7(43)



Hillwood 21.22 (148)

Scottsdale 1.3(9)


George Town 11.13 (79)

Deloraine 6.8(44)

The VFL inclusion was intended to be an aspirational substitute following the cessation of the Statewide League. It will not happen in 2025 and instead of trying to break the tackle laid by the media, the public and our clubs as to what is happening with the VFL, AFL Tasmania have been left dropping the ball.

The most recent public statements From Damian Gill around the uncertainty of the timeline for a state VFL team was obtuse and deliberately non-committal. Mr Gill was quoted in the Examiner as saying “…there’s work to be done no question”.

It is no less true of the League regional model. We demand transparent and definitive communication around the VFL team and the proposed Premier League. If we are ignored, then we will seek to invoke the dispute resolution provisions of the licence agreements.

Consequently, in its current state of planning and preparedness we will not be led down the treacherous trail any further. We do not consider the Premier League model a suitable competition following the cessation of the Statewide League and we will not sign the affiliation agreements.


North Launceston Football Club                                                                             Launceston Football Club