Alastair Clarkson

June 27, 2022

Super coach Alastair Clarkson has emphatically debunked concerns that a Tasmanian AFL and AFLW team will struggle with player retention, as the four-time premiership coach predicting an Apple Isle licence will likely keep players and staff in the state “forever”.

The former Hawthorn coach says there are learnings from other expansions clubs that have struggled to hold onto key talent and that Tassie will be set up differently.

“You talk about retention, we’re going to retain you forever if we possibly can because we want to sell what’s great about this state,” Clarkson told The Believers: Tasmania’s AFL Journey podcast.

“So many of the people that make passing comments about Tasmania and its opportunity for a side (that) actually haven’t been down there often enough or really taken an interest in either the modelling of the finances nor with the pathway side of stuff.

“We’re already on a little bit of a mission of just getting the team. Our piece of silverware is getting the licence right at the moment and that’s what’s exciting.

“But once the licence was to be granted, if it is in July or August then that piece of silverware very, very quickly turns into ‘Okay, now it’s real silverware in this AFL competition against 18 other clubs’.

“And could I get excited about participating in that journey? Absolutely. Whether that’s an administrative level or coaching level.”

Clarkson, who has been working with the Tasmania AFL Taskforce, revealed on the podcast that:

  • An AFL licence will transform the state’s talent pathway, thanks to the creation of an elite academy, and see an explosion in grassroots participation
  • The Tasmania state league should be overhauled through the creation of north and south conferences
  • The AFL must introduce a national reserves competition
  • He dismissed overtures to coach both Collingwood and Carlton last year and reveals his coaching plans for 2023 and beyond

… could I get excited about participating in that journey? Absolutely.

Alastair Clarkson

Clarkson, who has been integral to the work of the Tasmania AFL Taskforce, says he is committed to helping Tasmania achieve a longstanding pursuit of securing a standalone football club.

“I’ve got a great passion for the game so at the minute that passion is being fuelled by trying to help Tassie get the 19th team,” he said.

“I’ve been heavily involved and I’m well and truly converted.”

On his coaching future, Clarkson said: “My only prerequisite is I want to be involved with a group that’s got an opportunity to win it again. So whether you’re taking a group that’s a long way from it and it’s now a five-year journey or whether you take hold of a team that’s close to it.”