The AFL will be releasing the full fixture for the 2022 pre-season on Monday, December 20. To show its support for the tragic circumstances in Devonport, the AFL advises that Hawthorn will host Richmond in the north-west region of Tasmania in a tribute match on Saturday, March 5 for the families and communities of Hillcrest Primary following the tragic accident this week.
AFL Chief Executive Officer Gillon McLachlan expressed deep sadness and said it was important the football industry supported communities in need.
"On behalf of the AFL, I extend my deepest condolences to everyone impacted by the accident at Hillcrest Primary in Devonport earlier this week," Mr McLachlan said.
"To all those affected by the tragedy, including the families, first responders, the school community, and the wider Devonport Community, we send our thoughts.
"We can't imagine the heartbreak that everyone in the close-knit North-West community of Tasmania is going through – we share in that heartbreak and as an industry we are united in our commitment to help.
"Together with the Hawthorn and Richmond Football Clubs, we will work closely with the local community and the Tasmanian Government and hold a fundraising event in the lead-up to the match which will be played on March 5 to benefit those impacted by the tragic circumstance. North Melbourne Football Club, which also has a strong and long-standing relationship with Tasmania, will also provide support.
"A fundraiser and a game of football cannot change what has happened, but it is one way for our game to wrap our arms around the North-West community of Tasmania and show our support."
Hawthorn President Jeff Kennett said:
"What has occurred in Devonport is an absolute tragedy.
"The grief, pain and trauma this community is experiencing is heart-breaking.
"We stand alongside and ready to help the community in any way we can. We hope this game is another contribution to the many being made across the country to help ease the pain of the local community, school and families."
Richmond CEO Brendon Gale said:
"Everyone has been completely heartbroken by the tragic loss of young lives in Devonport this week. Nothing can make right what has happened but if in some small way we can help bring the Devonport and north-west coastal community together, then we are only too happy to help.
"Tasmania is a place close to the heart of Richmond Football Club and Devonport was home to Matthew Richardson and his family. The Club and Matthew will do whatever we can to support the Devonport community during this incredibly difficult time."
North Melbourne Kangaroos CEO Ben Amarfio said:
"Our thoughts are with the Hillcrest Primary School community, the first responders and the broader Devonport and Tasmanian communities. We've had a decade-long relationship with the people of Tasmania and 12 players across our men's and women's teams are from Tassie. This incredibly tragic event has hit us particularly hard.
"Words are shallow right now but we want to make a commitment to do whatever we can over the coming weeks and months to support those touched by this tragedy to assist with their healing and recovery."
Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein said:
"The Hawthorn and Richmond Football Clubs both have strong connections to Tasmania and Devonport. Footy is a game that brings communities together and I commend the clubs and the AFL for this initiative which will greatly assist with the community recovery process from this heartbreaking tragedy."
"The Tasmanian Government will also support the AFL and the clubs in hosting the game and associated activities."
Further details, including the venue and ticketing arrangements for the Hawthorn vs. Richmond match to be played at 1.10pm AEDT on Saturday March 5, will be advised in due course.