ALASTAIR Clarkson has pledged Hawthorn's future to Dingley and called for Tasmania to have its own team just a week after Hawks president Jeff Kennett refused to rule out a future relocation to the Apple Isle.
And Clarkson doesn't want the League to stop there, insisting the Northern Territory should house the AFL's 20th licence to make the AFL "a truly national competition".
Kennett said he would "consider anything" after the Tasmanian government put talks with Hawthorn and North Melbourne – to extend their expiring contracts to play games in the state – on hold while demanding clarity on the future of its own team.
SCRATCH MATCHES Who your club is playing
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan responded on Friday, informing Tasmanian premier Peter Gutwein that the League planned to review the bid by the end of 2021 or early 2022.
It leaves negotiations between the state government and the Hawks and Roos up in the air, with the AFL proposing to get involved should it be required to assist with extending the current deals that run to the end of 2021.
Hawthorn is contracted to play four games a season in Launceston in an arrangement that nets the Hawks around $4million a year. But Clarkson said the he would be happy to see the Hawks end the partnership for the growth of the competition.
"Our club, in actual fact, I think is strong of the view that in a national competition it would be fantastic for Tassie to have their own club," Clarkson told AFL.com.au.
"I've also got the view, and I'm not sure if it's shared by the club, that if we're a truly national competition, that we should have a side out of the NT.
AAMI COMMUNITY SERIES Check out the pre-season fixture
"Make it a 20-team competition, everyone plays each other once and perhaps you might have a blockbuster where you play one of your rivals and it makes it a 20-round season.
"I reckon that'd be great for the game but that's not for me, it's for the regulators of the game.
"In the meantime, Tassie hasn't got a team (and we say), 'How can we help Tasmania service that great need that they've got, the passionate supporters down there, that want to see AFL product in their state?'
"Hawthorn's been doing that for the best part of 20 years (since 2001).
"We're also mindful of the fact if Tassie get their own side, Hawthorn probably won't be going down to Tassie. It'll be that all of our games are going back to Melbourne."
The Hawks paid close to $8million for a portion of land in Dingley in 2017 and are currently in the process of securing funding for a planned $130million training base.
"There's been a lot of investment by our footy club, first and foremost to move from our spiritual home from Glenferrie Oval (in 2006) out to Waverley," Clarkson said.
"Sometimes you just can't foresee things in the game, but we outgrew Waverley, so the big investment was to go purchase some land at Dingley.
"I dare say Jeff's just thrown out a line there about relocation to Tassie as exploring all options but in terms of where we're at as a footy club and the investment we've already made, Dingley is going to be the future home of our footy club. We're also heavily invested in Tasmania.
Clarkson holds a contract with the Hawks until the end of 2022 with Kennett last year re-appointed to the top job on a new term until 2023.