Patrick Dangerfield backs Tasmanian team's advantage as 'poaching talent' floated

The new Tasmanian team's biggest hurdle could be recruitment.

Gillon McLachlan (pictured left) during an announcement and Patrick Dangerfield walks off the field.
Gillon McLachlan (pictured left) and Patrick Dangerfield (pictured right) are sure the Tasmanian team can attract talent. (Getty Images)

Outgoing AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan has hinted there are plenty of big names that are keen on playing for the new Tasmanian team with Patrick Dangerfield agreeing the new franchise should have priority. The new Tasmanian team was finally announced and is expected to enter the competition in 2018 after decades of lobbying.

The 19th team will enter the competition as AFL CEO McLachlan said plans for a training base would develop in coming months and a community campaign to choose the club's name would be launched later this year. And the boss said he has spoken to players about the attraction of playing for the new team.

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One of the hurdles facing the team is recruitment with the pool of talent now shared. However, McLachlan said he has spoken to a number of 'marquee players' who would consider making the jump and help establish the new team.

“I‘ve certainly spoken to enough star marquee players who love coming down here, starting young families ... I’m not worried about that," McLachlan said at the launch.

“I think we’ve had legitimate concerns historically, (but) this is a different city, this is a different state."

And Geelong star Dangerfield said the Tasmanian outfit should have an advantage to help their recruitment. "My view is that the Tasmanian team should have access to contracted players," Dangerfield, the AFL Players Association president, told SEN on Thursday.

"One from every club, regardless of contract, if they choose to join Tasmania, then they should be able to do that. I think if we're going to do this and do this properly, then Tasmania should have access to not only the best talent, but the best possible people in order to create something that's truly unique and truly special."

And McLachlan isn't the only one confident Tasmania will be an exciting prospect for recruits. Richmond veteran Jack Riewoldt claimed his home state Tasmania offers something unique for players and coaches.

Jack Riewoldt excited for Tasmania's AFL team

Last month, Hawthorn captain James Sicily apologised after he joked that there wasn't much happening in Tasmania. The timing of the comments didn't help the AFL's push for a 19th team.

Hobart-born Riewoldt refuted this notion and claimed that the prospect of moving to the state, which he compared to Geelong, would attract different types of players.

"There is certainly the type of person who will be attracted to coming down here," he said. "I look at arguably one of the best players in the competition at the moment, Jeremy Cameron, who lives on a farm not far out of Geelong.

"There is plenty of farmland not far from the CBD here (Hobart)." McLachlan doubled down on Riewoldt's claims and said young players would be attracted to playing for an enticing team with world class facilities.

The Tasmania Devils logo is seen during the AFL Tasmanian Team announcement.
Could the new Tasmanian team be named the 'Tasmania Devils'. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images) (Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

"What players want to be able to do is be good footballers," McLachlan said. "The training and administration facility is going to be first-class and they'll be playing in what I think will be an incredible, pumping venue in the middle of a great city."

And Riewoldt wasn't just talking about the players. The Richmond great said he would jump at the chance to join the staff in some capacity and it was an exciting time for AFL enthusiasts.

"That's the thing Tasmanians will do. They're littered across the AFL, in many different roles, and AFLW," he said. "They'll be putting their hands up to give back to the state that has given them so much. The formation will be an exciting process."

Tasmania's bid got across the line after the federal government chipped in $240 million for a contentious $715 million new waterfront stadium in Hobart. The stadium was the final piece required by the AFL before approving the licence, which was unanimously backed by the 18 existing club presidents on Tuesday.

The state government is contributing $375 million to the stadium, as well as $12 million per year over 12 years towards a team, plus $60 million for a high-performance centre.

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