The Champagne corks are set to be popped with Tasmania just days away from getting its own AFL team thanks to a $240 million contribution from taxpayers.
That funding boost is the final piece in the puzzle and has paved the way to build a state-of-the-art stadium to house the competition’s 19th side.
WATCH THE VIDEO: Hawthorn captain takes Tassie swipe just days before state gets AFL team.
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And while those in the state and at AFL House are about to celebrate, the captain of the team that plays there the most has taken an extraordinary crack at his club’s home away from home.
Hawthorn has been famously sponsored by Tasmania for many a year and has an agreement with the government to play home games in the state.
But new Hawks captain James Sicily has delivered a stinging backhander to the Apple Isle.
When appearing on radio and asked if the new club in Tasmania would struggle to attract players, Sicily’s response was unkind.
“I think so, particularly as a young guy,” he told RSN on Wednesday.
“Because there’s not much happening down there, it could be difficult.
“I couldn’t imagine myself living there. It would be hard.”
However, St Kilda coach Ross Lyon was concerned about stars leaving for the expansion club.
“I hope they don’t leave the Saints, I hope they leave the Cats,” Lyon said.
“Look, expansion teams are always challenging, I haven’t really got my head around (it).
“I think it goes up and down, yesterday it was off, today it’s on, so until we get it officially, until it gets edited and stamped through parliament, we won’t worry about it.”
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will reportedly announce the new funding in Hobart this weekend ahead of the May budget.
The Tasmanian government is contributing $375m to the Macquarie Point stadium, with the AFL adding $15m in addition to providing long-term funding to support the club as it does to existing teams.
The stadium will be a feather in the cap for AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan, who announced one year ago that he would retire from his post but has stayed on in part to settle Tasmania’s bid.
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