No rush to decide on further expansion: AFL boss

Steve Larkin |

League CEO Andrew Dillon (centre) at the launch of the AFL’s 19th team, the Tasmania Devils.
League CEO Andrew Dillon (centre) at the launch of the AFL’s 19th team, the Tasmania Devils.

AFL chief Andrew Dillon says there’s no rush to settle the “great debate” on whether another club should join the competition after Tasmania.

A week after the Northern Territory pushed its case for a team in the AFL, Dillon said the league’s focus remains on the introduction of the Tasmania Devils in 2028.

The Devils will be the AFL’s 19th team but the NT, in a strategic business plan released last week, said the territory would be ready to field a Darwin-based side in seven to 10 years.

“Our focus at AFL House is fairly and squarely on the 19th team, but it’s a great debate again for the 20th team,” Dillon told reporters on Monday.

“We have got interest from the NT, there’s interest in North Queensland.

“People have been talking about a third team out of WA, (or) Canberra, so it’s great that there is interest. Long may that debate continue.

“There’s groups, territories of Australia, and people who want to put their hands up to do the hard work, because it’s not easy.”

Richmond chief executive Brendon Gale announced last week he would depart the Tigers to become the head of the new Tasmanian club.

“A fantastic week, last week, with both sides of government down in Tasmania now supporting the stadium,” Dillon said.

“Also a fantastic announcement for the club with Brendon Gale, who will start with the club next year.

“Brendon had an incredible career at Richmond but it’s a great coup for the Tasmanian footy club.

“There’s a power of work that’s gone on to get the Tassie Devils to where they are but still a lot of work to go before we have the Tassie side.”