AFL Tasmania Football Futures Project. (Photo: AFL Tasmania)

AFL Tasmania held a two hour long town hall meeting on Monday night, wherein the Tasmanian football community voiced their opinions on the Football Futures Project.

On Monday night, AFL Tasmania held a two hour long town hall meeting, wherein the Tasmanian football community voiced their opinions on the Football Futures Project.

The Futures Project seeks to identify key improvements to the Tasmanian AFL infrastructure. The meeting’s focus was to listen and identify the challenges and opportunities for the Tasmanian football landscape.

Roughly 30 representatives across all levels/roles in the state gathered and delivered their strong, yet insightful, views on the future of Tasmanian football.

The meeting was introduced by Damian Gill, the head of AFL Tasmania, and facilitated by Phillip Mooney, a business management consultant from ColganBauer.

Gill opened by providing background on the Futures Project, and highlighted the difficulty on taking on a task such as this.

“We acknowledge that there are some significant challenges involved in Tasmanian football,” he said.

Mooney described his role in collating people’s views, an essential practice in refining the Tasmanian football infrastructure.

“We are interested in the challenges and opportunities that can help us build, run, and grow Tasmanian football” he said.

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Throughout the night there were multiple issues debated upon. The need for increased and better implemented funding stood out as the most popular topic.

Many members professed their desire for ‘proper funding’. When pressed to describe what ‘proper funding’ would look like, they described how financial assistance should be implemented regarding the development and focus of junior development and retaining listed players.

Another key point was the need for clearer and more accessible talent programs. This includes systems for all players, regardless of their success.

Attendants described that a program such as the current crop of under-19 Devils in the NAB League needs to both properly source the best talent from the state and give them all the help they need to succeed at an AFL level.

Many highlighted the pressure that Tasmania is under to produce elite footballing talent, through both men’s and women’s program. The very best development program will assist in finding and training high-level talent to their ultimate potential.

Representatives were also unanimous in their views that there needs to be proper support and viable playing options for the crop of players that don’t make it to the highest levels. They preached that leagues need to be set up in a way that allows them to continue to play and enjoy football.

The 2019 Tasmanian Devils Nab League side. (Photo: AFL Tasmania)

Another key topic was the structuring of the many Tasmanian clubs and leagues.

Over the past few decades, the structuring of all leagues have gone through numerous changes. Members voiced their desire for some consistency, and long-term implementation of state league/s will be an essential part of a successful football infrastructure.

The final topic of discussion was based around the importance of volunteers in Tasmanian clubs. Many attendees described volunteers as the ‘fuel that keep their team running.’

Unanimously, representatives acknowledged that volunteers are an integral part of their clubs. They agreed that proper structuring and use of volunteer’s time is of upmost importance to avoid burn out and decreased numbers.

AFL Tasmania has two more town hall meeting scheduled this week. They will be in North/West town of Penguin on Wednesday, then Launceston on Friday night.

Based on the first meeting, AFL Tasmania has a lot of work ahead. They will collate all of these opinions, identify the key challenges/opportunities, then implement them in a way that improves the long term Tasmanian AFL landscape.

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