Three teams could be based at Launceston’s UTAS Stadium under the plan.
Three teams could be based at Launceston’s UTAS Stadium under the plan.

Does Tassie hold key to AFL’s return?

Influential coronavirus cabinet member Eddie McGuire says the AFL is seriously considering a plan to resume its 2020 season using three hubs including Tasmania.

The Collingwood president - who sits on the AFL's coronavirus taskforce - said the league was weighing up whether to restart the season in Western Australia, South Australia and the Apple Isle.

Under the proposal, three teams could be based in Hobart, three in Launceston and six in South Australia and Western Australia.

As of Sunday, there were 81 reports of coronavirus in Tasmania, 409 in South Australia and 453 in Western Australia, compared to 1135 in Victoria and 2580 in New South Wales

"That is something that is being seriously looked at and discussed and those three states in particular might just be able to get the season started a little earlier than we might otherwise," McGuire said on Triple M.

 

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Asked whether the league could isolate three groups of six teams, AFL football boss Steve Hocking told the Herald Sun: "It's one of the things we're working through with the clubs. We've been working closely with the GMs of football, the coaches and high performance managers, holding meetings every couple of days."

McGuire said the plan would help offset the millions Tasmania receives from its partnerships with Hawthorn and North Melbourne.

"It would also mean that Tasmania … would get their money's worth, which would be great," he said.

"You'd get a lot of TV exposure, you'd get the players down there so the economic stimulus would be good."

Tasmania earns millions each year from North Melbourne and Hawthorn’s presence.
Tasmania earns millions each year from North Melbourne and Hawthorn’s presence.

While Northern Territory (26) has the lowest rate of COVID-19, McGuire added: "Taking into account that you have got to be careful of course, even Alice Springs or Darwin, we have to be very careful of our indigenous population, particularly in the remote areas of Australia, so they may not get the spot."

He said the proposal would limit the potential for coronavirus to spread through the competition and further delay the season.

"As Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland open up, you can then roll those into those states as well. It's a talking point and I think it's something that has a fair bit of merit," he said.

 

 

McGuire conceded the plan would need the commitment of players, who would be required to be away from their families for several weeks in some instances.

The AFL remains hopeful of resuming on May 31, although that date could be pushed back later this month.

The NRL has flagged a similar plan to isolate clubs in a bid to restart its campaign.

 

 

HOW IT COULD WORK

Eddie's plan to save season

Teams to play round robin fixtures while isolated in one location before travelling in private planes.

HOBART

Three teams

LAUNCESTON

Three teams

ADELAIDE

Six teams

PERTH

Six teams

 

 

Originally published as Does Tassie hold key to AFL's return?


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