The Northern Territory news Sat 28 Nov 2020
The Northern Territory news; NewspaperNT
Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.
News Corp Australia
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News Corp Australia
SATURDAY NOVEMBER 28 2020 SPORT 59 V1 - NTNE01Z01MA AFLs attitude has cruelled Tassie bid IT is not economics or parochialism stopping Tasmania having an AFL team, but the AFL itself. Scott Wade, a former Hawthorn and Tasmanian State of Origin rover, was AFL Tasmanias chief executive for nearly 17 years, and has been a strong advocate for the states entry into the big league. All sorts of reasons and excuses have been given as to why the state has been continually overlooked, but he said they are hogwash. I have been saying consistently is if the AFL Commission wanted Tasmania to have a team, wed have one tomorrow, Wade said. You can skirt around the edges, but the AFL Commission dont want Tasmania to have a team. Wade said league HQ was supportive of Tasmanian football during his time in charge. But they have never really been prepared to address the elephant in the room (a Tasmanian AFL team), he said. (Former AFL CEO) Andrew Demetriou was really clear and concise under his reign. They were going towards two teams in NSW and Queensland and Tassie was the next cab off the rank. But I havent seen any evidence that the current AFL Commission is one bit interested in Tassie being the next cab off the rank. Wade was in charge when the code was governed by an independent board, which included the likes of Richmond chief executive Brendon Gale and multiple AFL club recruiting guru Scott Clayton. But in April 2015, the board dissolved itself and handed full control over to the AFL as was the set-up in other states. Less than a year later, Wade was shown the door. He was replaced by Rob Auld brother of the AFLs general manager of clubs and broadcasting Travis Auld who was promoted to AFL House after less than two years, with the game in a crisis as Devonport and Burnie withdrew from the state league. Trisha Squires then took over before she moved to become head of AFL Queensland after a tumultuous 2 years in charge. I was forced out because they didnt want anyone leading Tasmanian football who wanted to passionately fight for Tasmania, said Wade, the father of Test batsman Matthew and uncle of Collingwood star Jeremy Howe. They wanted a person that would toe the corporate line. He said the contracts that bring Hawthorn and North Melbourne to Tasmania to play home games have done nothing for the growth of the game, in fact it has gone immeasurably backwards since the Hawks first home game in Launceston in 2001. Wade believes Tasmania and the AFL missed opportunities in the late 1980s when the competition expanded to include the West Coast Eagles and the Brisbane Bears, and again in the early 1990s with Fitzroy playing home games in Hobart in a lastditch attempt at survival before being forced north to merge with the Bears after the 1996 season. He said a Tasmanian AFL team would reinvigorate the code in the state. North Melbourne takes on the West Coast Eagles at Tasmanias Blundstone Arena in 2018. Picture: Michael Willson/AFL Media BRETT STUBBS THE creation of a Tasmanian AFL team is not the panacea that will resurrect the game back to the states golden era. New head of AFL Tasmania Damian Gill says hes a believer in a team, but it is not part of his job to push for the states inclusion. Im supportive of a push for a Tasmanian AFL team, Gill said. But I generally care more about the New Norfolk under-10s or the Southern Storm colts than I do a Tasmanian AFL team at this point in time. I wont apologise for that, my focus has to be the grassroots, but Im supportive of the push. I think a lot of the challenges are disconnected to elite level sport. I certainly dont think if an AFL team was to be injected into Tasmania that would be a silver bullet to correct some of the challenges with community footy. The work that needs to be done is at a different level. Gill has recently taken on a new role aimed at increasing participation and tending to grassroots football, with Tasmanian talent pathways now run out of Melbourne. While womens football continues to surge in Tasmania, male participation was in free fall in recent years especially when compared to other traditional football states. There, male participation has grown 5-20 per cent between 2006 and 2017, but according to AFL Tasmanias own Junior/Youth Football Review the states male participation has fallen 14.7 per cent over the same time, with declines in juniors (eight to 13year-olds) 10 per cent, youth (13-18) 22 per cent and seniors 12 per cent. These figures have started to plateau in the two years preCOVID as AFL Tasmania has looked to build Auskick numbers and get football back into schools. Gill said the situation could be better, and there was still plenty of work to do, but it was far from doomsday. He said the passion Tasmanians felt for the game can be a double-edged sword. By the very nature of footys popularity and how ingrained it is into Tassies culture, every challenge or change is felt at a much more acute level, he said. I think that speaks to the strength to Tassie footy and how much it means in Tassie. Somewhat minor changes or issues can seem like huge changes but thats because people care about it so deeply. Team not answer, says boss BRETT STUBBS Theres no end in sight in messy Treloar contract dispute COLLINGWOOD and the Western Bulldogs remain significantly apart over a resolution to the Adam Treloar contract dispute. Figures close to the standoff say the Dogs are adamant they will not be paying Treloar a cent more than a watertight five-year, $600,000-a-season contract agreed with the midfielder. It would mean Treloar is still owed $300,000-a-year or $1.5 million under the terms of his original Magpies contract. But Collingwood insists the Bulldogs agreed to further negotiations over who would pay what to Treloar after the trade went through, which the Bulldogs absolutely dispute. Treloar was traded to the kennel along with picks 26, 33 and 42 in exchange for the Dogs No.14 pick and a future second-round selection. The Dogs are confident any money owed above and beyond Treloars new arrangement at the Whitten Oval is simply a matter for Collingwood. The only concession the Western Bulldogs did offer Collingwood during the frantic final days of the trade period, one figure said, was an offer to front-end some of Treloars wages in his new contract to assist the Magpies with management of their salary cap. But if Collingwoods position is right, the Bulldogs effectively agreed to a trade for Treloar without knowing how much it would pay him. The clubs agreed to the trade one minute before the AFL trading period deadline. But no paperwork outlining any financial details has been lodged with the AFL by either club. Attempts by Collingwood to push back on payments owed to Treloar will inflame an already bitterly strained relationship with the player after the messy mishandling of the midfielders departure. MICHAEL WARNER
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