The AFL have come under fire this pre-season for their treatment of Tasmania, but Sydney premiership coach Paul Roos has slammed the league’s handling of development around the country.
With just one Tasmanian player picked up in the last two national drafts combined, and two senior teams pulling out of the Tasmanian State League this year, the Apple Isle is in crisis.
However, Roos told Triple M’s Rush Hour that the mainland is also suffering from a lack of strong AFL pathways.
“I think it’s an Australia-wide issue,” Roos said during The Midweek Rub.
“I was in Gold Coast last week, obviously I spend a lot of time in Sydney, I think the AFL’s biggest concern is pathways and what they’re doing with the TAC Cup, what they’re doing with footy on the Gold Coast.
“I was talking to some guys from (QAFL club) Sandgate, they said they’re really struggling to get numbers up there so it’s not in isolation for Tassie.
“I don’t think the AFL have put enough time and effort into development. They’ve brought in these two new teams (GWS and Gold Coast) and they’ve needed 100 new players - where are we getting them from?
“They need to put more time and effort into these development leagues so all these young kids can aspire to (play AFL).”
Triple M Footy’s Damian Barrett doesn’t believe Tasmania will ever get their own AFL team and doubts whether the newly-assembled body set-up to look into the problems facing Tassie footy will be effective.
“What are they gonna do? They’ll do what the AFL tells them to do and that’s what happens with these steering committees,” Damo said. “They (Tasmanian clubs) need some love.”