THE AFL will work through options to hastily reschedule North Melbourne matches planned for Tasmania in August after the state's decision to keep its borders closed to most of Australia.
Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein announced on Friday the state would open its borders on August 7 – but only to South Australia, Northern Territory and Western Australia.
The Kangaroos were set to host Melbourne and Brisbane at Hobart's Blundstone Arena on August 9 and 15, after playing in Queensland before that.
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An AFL spokesperson said: "The AFL acknowledges today's announcement by the Tasmanian Government, and appreciate Premier Gutwein's continued support to host matches in the state this season."
"All through this season we have been led by Government advice and protocols and will continue to be flexible and agile as we find a solution."
North Melbourne CEO Ben Amarfio said his club would work to reschedule any affected games, with the hope of playing replacement games in Hobart later in the season.
"The AFL has said all along that we must remain flexible and agile as the environment is ever-changing," he said.
"We will make the necessary changes and our team will adapt accordingly."
Gutwein said Tasmania was "one of the safest places in the world right now" during the COVID-19 pandemic and that SA, NT and WA were "equally safe".
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"The decision that has been arrived at is that for North Melbourne and Melbourne supporters, unfortunately, they won't be playing here on August 9," Gutwein said.
"We will not do anything that we believe will put the health of Tasmanians at risk. In terms of the AFL, that is the least of my considerations.
"I would hope that AFL could be played here later in the year but that will largely be dependent upon the circumstances of the states where the teams are based."
Hawthorn is also hoping to play home matches in Launceston at some stage this season, as part of its five-year, $20 million deal with the Tasmanian Government.
However, Gutwein has been reluctant since the start of the pandemic for games to be played in Tasmania in front of empty stands, a stance Hawks president Jeff Kennett branded "very selfish".
"I'm not in a rush to have AFL played here in front of empty stadiums," Gutwein said in February.
"I will not increase the risk on Tasmanians by allowing a model like this to occur if the advice is that the risk will increase."
Earlier on Friday, North Melbourne football boss Brady Rawlings said his club was "hungry" to host games in Tasmania and had "fought really hard" to make it happen.
"It's so big for our club and our members down there as well," Rawlings said.
"We're rapt we've been able to work closely with the AFL and Tasmania to get our games down there and hopefully we get the four for the year, because we've got a good record down there.
"The Government's been terrific with allowing us to come down there and play as well, so we've got a good record and hopefully it can lead to some further wins for the rest of the year."