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One team in Tassie still AFL's long-term aim

Swan ponders future, Hogan fires up Nat Edwards and Matt Thompson with Wednesday Footy Feed
One team is probably best and if we can get there at some stage following the expiration of those deals, so be it
AFL game development boss Simon Lethlean

THE AFL has reaffirmed its desire to establish one team in Tasmania in the wake of the recently completed Garlick report. 

AFL game development manager Simon Lethlean and a contingent of League officials met with AFL Tasmania staff and Tasmania State League club representatives on Tuesday to discuss the process of appointing a new AFL Tasmania CEO following Scott Wade's resignation last week

Lethlean told reporters the AFL remained of the view that having one team in Tasmania was preferable to the existing two-team model, in which Hawthorn plays four games a season in Launceston and North Melbourne plays three in Hobart. 

"I think Gill [McLachlan] himself has talked about the one-team model being conceptually the best option for a state," Lethlean said. 

"(But) conception and reality is different. We now have two AFL clubs here doing a great job, Hawthorn with a five-year term to come after the expiration of this year and North Melbourne currently in discussions with sponsors and government about extending their relationship.

"So I guess the short-term reality is a two-team model and that’s working fine.

"(But) conceptually, we think one team is probably best and if we can get there at some stage following the expiration of those deals, so be it." 

Former Western Bulldogs CEO Simon Garlick recently completed a report for the League on the future direction of Tasmanian football, which is currently being considered by the AFL Commission.

Garlick noted in his report that Hawthorn and North Melbourne were together servicing Tasmania well, but recommended that a one-team model eventually be introduced.

McLachlan put a one-team model on the agenda in April 2014, when he was still serving as former AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou's deputy. 

"We have an ideal model, which is a single team representing Tasmania. Who that is and what format that takes is a complex question," McLachlan told News Corp at the time.

Hawthorn has played 'home' games at Launceston's Aurora Stadium since 2001 and last July signed a five-year extension that will see it continue playing there until the end of 2021. 

AFL.com.au reported last week that North, which is entering the final season of an existing two-year Hobart contract, is close to finalising its own five-year extension to continue at Blundstone Arena.