Tas AFL league remains amid crisis talks

Ethan James

The future of Tasmania's premier Australian rules competition has been guaranteed ahead of a soon-to-be released review aimed at solving the state's footy 'crisis'.

Doubt has clouded the sustainability of the Tasmanian State League (TSL) after two northwest teams withdrew prior to this season citing a lack of players and travel costs.

AFL chief Gillon McLachlan is chairing a steering committee, expected to deliver its findings on Friday or early next week.

On Thursday it was confirmed the TSL would continue until at least 2023.

"I'm really happy to be sitting here and to say that we're going forward with the TSL," AFL Tasmania CEO Trisha Squires said, adding it plays an important part in the state's talent pathway.

However there are no immediate plans to reintroduce teams from Burnie and Devonport - an area that has produced greats Darrel Baldock and Matthew Richardson.

The seven current TSL clubs will get a small increase in funding, tied to meeting targets surrounding community engagement and participation.

Squires said discussions about specifics was ongoing with clubs and the introduction of an eighth team is on the table.

She said the state's northwest would be "looked after" but wouldn't go into details.

Calls persist for footy-mad Tasmania to have its own AFL team in light of the Gold Coast Suns' struggles.

McLachlan has met with local representatives in Tasmania over the past few months but has previously said grassroots footy in the state must be fixed before it gets its own side.

Lauderdale president Julie Kay believes the TSL is the right model for the state but has called on the AFL to increase local funding.

"We are hopeful that they do attend to talent pathways, women's football and most importantly community football," she said.

It's understood some options put before the committee include a Tasmanian NEAFL or VFL team.

Hawthorn has a long-term deal to play some home games in Launceston and North Melbourne do the same in Hobart.