Clarkson open to coaching Tassie AFL team
Alastair Clarkson is taking to his new role as Tasmanian AFL spruiker with relish, saying he'd be open to coaching a team from the island.
The four-time Hawthorn premiership coach says the AFL will not be a truly national competition until Tasmania - and even the Northern Territory - have their own teams.
Clarkson is having a year off from full-time coaching and one of his projects is to help Tasmania's push for its own side.
He has urged a patient approach, saying it would need five or six years to establish local talent pathways so a decent proportion of the playing group is home-grown.
The 18 clubs will vote next year on whether Tasmania should have its own team.
Asked on SEN if he would consider being the team's inaugural coach, or having a significant role, Clarkson replied "without a doubt".
"Certainly from this far out, if I was unemployed like I am now, I'd be putting my hand up big time to get involved in such an exciting venture," he said.
"I think it's a no-brainer."
But Clarkson also noted a lot of water has to go under the bridge and he also nominated former Hawthorn colleagues Chris Fagan and Brendon Bolton as Tasmanian natives who would have a lot to offer if there was a local AFL team.
He also referred to the experience of Gold Coast and GWS entering the league, saying there was a widespread feeling among the clubs that they missed out on too much playing talent to the newcomers at the time.
Unlike Gold Coast or GWS, Clarkson noted Tasmania is a heartland AFL state.
"Don't be impatient, let's just do it steadily and take five or six years to build up the grass roots, build the fabric of the club," he said.
"Touch into the very fabric of the Tassie history.
"We don't want to be a side that just limps into the competition and gets smacked in the first two or three years or first five years of existence.
"We want to get in there and make a good fist of it."
Clarkson is well-aquainted with Tasmanian football, given Hawthorn regularly plays games in Launceston.
"I genuinely believe the national competition should be truly national - it's not a national competition until Tassie are in it and it's not really a national competition until, dare I say it, the Northern Territory are in it as well," he said.
"That's further away. That's a lot harder, that one.
"Tassie in my view should already have a team in the competition and because it hasn't, well, let's roll up the sleeves."
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