Alastair Lynch marks on a lead
Alastair Lynch marks on a lead STUART MCEVOY

Tasmania deserves own AFL club, says Lions great

BORN-and-bred Tasmanian Alastair Lynch has backed the Apple Isle to have its own AFL club ... one day.

Though producing some of the all-time greats of the game such as Ian Stewart, Royce Hart, Peter Hudson and Darrell Baldock, the state has been snubbed for entry time and time again.

"Tassie is one of those traditional AFL states that absolutely deserves its own team," the 306-gamer Lynch said.

"Fifteen years' time or 50 years' time ... Tassie will definitely have a team.

"That will probably be (due to) a relocation of a Melbourne-based team.

"You couldn't imagine they (the league) want to go above 18 teams.

"But, turn the clock back 20 years and they wouldn't have thought they would get to 18 teams."

Tasmania was most recently overlooked for expansion into New South Wales and Queensland with the GWS Giants and Gold Coast Suns.

"It's not so much the economics to support a team in Tassie," Lynch said.

"That was raised.

"It's more the economics of the opportunities elsewhere with the growth corridor of western Sydney and the south-east corner of Queensland.

"That's what's gone against Tasmania.

"If they put a team in Tasmania essentially you don't get anyone new coming to the game. They are all totally engaged already.

"The passion and tradition of Tasmanian football actually went against it.

"I think they've got three or four players in the AFL's Team of the Century. It punches well above its weight."

But, Lynch, who grew up in Wynyard on the north-west coast, said it was important to get the state's grassroots level back in order.

"You go from the extremes of the first draft (in 1986) I was involved in," he said.

"I think there was something like 16 players drafted (from Tasmania). Then you go to last year and no one was drafted

"It's a big change."


Brisbane, May 3, 2002. Alastair Lynch  stretches at training this afternoon ahead of  the Lion's clash against Geelong at the Gabba this weekend. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt) NO ARCHIVING.
Alastair Lynch stretches at training DAVE HUNT

Lynch came through with players such as Hawthorn premiership winger Darrin Pritchard and current Suns assistant coach Andy Lovell.

He spent seven years at Fitzroy before being enticed to Brisbane.

Lynch said one of his proudest memories of playing came in 1990 when he was part of a State of Origin team that defeated Victoria.

"That was the most enjoyable game I'd had up until the stage of winning premierships," he recalled.

Lynch has become a Queensland legend, playing in three flags with the Brisbane Lions and settling in the Sunshine State with his family.

"I love where I live, Queensland is home now," he said. "But I think once you're a Tasmanian you're always a Tasmanian.

"Even if everyone hangs s..t on you."