HAWTHORN president Jeff Kennett says the AFL is trying to push the Hawks out of Tasmania in favour of more games for North Melbourne.
With the Roos' Hobart commitment to increase from three to four games in 2019, Kennett believes they could play up to seven games split between the Tasmanian capital and Launceston in the future.
In a wide-ranging interview, Kennett also described the state of the Gold Coast Suns as "a tragedy" and "a reflection on the capacity of the board and the people they employ", and described the AFL Commission as "a boys' own club with a couple of females there".
While the Hawks' contract to play four games a season in Launceston expires at the end of 2021, Kennett said more Roos games, rather than a permanent move, appeared on the cards.
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"I don't think their constitution allows them to (move), but I do think that the AFL are working on increasing their games there," he told News Corporation.
"I think the AFL would like us out of there and they'd like to give North seven games — three up north and four down south.
"I don't think North's constitution will allow them to move permanently anywhere — James (former chairman James Brayshaw) changed it so that they have to get 75 per cent membership support, and I don't think that they'll get that for a transfer, but they might get it for seven games.
"You see the AFL is looking to try and reduce their costs of subsidising some of these other clubs."
Kennett hinted that the introduction of the North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos AFLW team, which will play one match in each of Hobart and Launceston, was a sign the Hawks were being pushed.
"There's no doubt the AFL are trying to push us out," Kennett said.
"They've given North another game. Well that's fine, I'm not opposed to them having another game, but it's a sign of the times.
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"North have an AFLW team which joins the league next year and they will play their games in Tassie and they've also positioned one of their games up at our stadium in Launceston — so this is all thin edge of the wedge, which is getting much thicker very quickly."
Hawthorn played its first home match in Launceston in 2001, with its four games per season model starting in 2006.
"That's what gives me the irrits about the AFL — for the last decade or more Hawthorn has carried the responsibility for the AFL in Tasmania and we get no thanks for it. All we get is abuse," Kennett said.
"We are not respected by the AFL, particularly by some of the individuals there."
When asked whether the future of Tasmanian football led to a one-team state, Kennett disagreed.
"No, because I don't think that is viable — and I know that is not a popular view down there.
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"It's a lovely dream, but I don't think it will be competitive or have sufficient support financially for a long enough period for it to be sustainable, unless like the Gold Coast or GWS, the AFL decide to put in $25 million a year.
"If Gill (AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan) made a decision – 'Righto, we're going to subsidise a Tasmanian team' – he could do it tomorrow, but then you'll have trouble, as you're having at the Gold Coast, in keeping good people there."
Federal opposition leader Bill Shorten pledged $25 million towards the exploration of a Tasmanian AFL team should Labor win next year's election.
Meanwhile, Kennett weighed in on the future of the Suns when asked about their status, having lost 16 of the final 17 games in 2018.
"That's a tragedy, I feel so sorry for those guys up there," he said.
"(But) sadly, and this is a general comment, it is a reflection on the capacity of the board and the people they employ. And if you believe something different, then don't have a board, just have the AFL run the bloody thing, which is really what has been happening at GWS and Gold Coast.
"I spoke to a board member at GWS and he said, 'We don't make a decision, the AFL make all the decisions for us'.
"But it won't happen at the moment because it’s a boys' own club with a couple of females there. There aren't enough clubs who are independent of the AFL financially to actually do what has to be done. And that has been the case for years."