Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett believes the AFL are trying to force his club out of Tasmania in favour of North Melbourne, as reported by afl.com.au.
North Melbourne have been afforded an extra game in Tasmania in 2019, meaning they will play four games – the same number played by the Hawks each year since 2006 – for the first time ever, a marked increase from the two games a year they began with in 2012.
In addition, North’s new AFLW team will play a game each in Hobart and Launceston, further confirming the Kangaroos’ Tasmanian presence.
“There’s no doubt the AFL are trying to push us out,” Kennett told News Corp.
“They’ve given North another game. Well that’s fine, I’m not opposed to them having another game, but it’s a sign of the times.
“North have an AFLW team which joins the league next year and they will play their games in Tassie and they’ve also positioned one of their games up at our stadium in Launceston — so this is all thin edge of the wedge, which is getting much thicker very quickly.
“That’s what gives me the irrits about the AFL — for the last decade or more Hawthorn has carried the responsibility for the AFL in Tasmania and we get no thanks for it. All we get is abuse.
“We are not respected by the AFL, particularly by some of the individuals there.”
Kennett believes a permanent move to Tasmania for the Roos is extremely unlikely, but reckons the AFL are aiming to consolidate the North Melbourne supporter base in Tasmania by gradually increasing the Kangaroos’ game time while slowly pushing out the Hawks.
“I think the AFL would like us out of there and they’d like to give North seven games — three up north and four down south,” Kennet said.
“I don’t think North’s constitution will allow them to move permanently anywhere — James (former chairman James Brayshaw) changed it so that they have to get 75 per cent membership support, and I don’t think that they’ll get that for a transfer, but they might get it for seven games.”