Blockbuster pre-season match to headline AFL in Launceston

Published on 02 November 2018

Aurora Stadium - Game day in Launceston, the home of the Tassie Hawks.jpg

City of Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten said there was plenty to look forward to for Tasmanian football fans next season with a blockbuster pre-season clash and a Sunday afternoon match headlining Hawthorn's Launceston matches for the 2019 AFL season.

AFL powerhouse Richmond will play the Hawks on Saturday, March 9 at 7.10pm at UTAS Stadium in a round two JLT pre-season match.

Meanwhile, Carlton will return to UTAS Stadium to take on Hawthorn on Sunday, April 28 at 3.20pm in what will be yet another homecoming for former Northern Bombers star midfielder Brendon Bolton.

Mayor van Zetten said the Sunday afternoon timeslot should be well attended as it avoids any clashes with local or state league football games.

"Carlton has traditionally had a really strong supporter base and many people are expecting them to improve," Mayor van Zetten said.

Port Adelaide, Fremantle and Brisbane will also travel to Launceston for home-and-away matches in 2019.

"Obviously, having Richmond play a pre-season match on a Saturday night will be a massive drawcard, particularly as the match is rostered just a fortnight before the season proper kicks off," Mayor van Zetten said.

"Given that, we would expect both the Hawks and the Tigers will field strong line-ups for this game - this is fantastic news for Tasmanian football fans."

Hawthorn will also host Port Adelaide on Saturday, May 25 at 1.45pm, Fremantle on Saturday, July 13 at 2.10pm and Brisbane on Saturday, July 27 at 1.45pm.

Mayor van Zetten said he was looking forward to seeing former Hawk star Luke Hodge return to UTAS Stadium along with his Brisbane team-mates after the Lions beat Hawthorn in Launceston last season in what was a nail-biter.

"Brisbane are definitely a team on the improve and with the addition of several quality players in the recent trade period in multiple Fremantle best-and-fairest winner Lachie Neale, as well as former Bulldogs key defender Marcus Adams and ex-Geelong forward Lincoln McCarthy," Mayor van Zetten said.

Mayor van Zetten said the announcement of an AFLW match in Launceston this season would only add to the growing supporter base for top-flight women's football in Tasmania.

North Melbourne's new women's AFL team will host the Western Bulldogs at UTAS Stadium on Friday, February 15, at 7.15pm.

"Having AFLW matches in Launceston will create more opportunities for aspiring players entering the sport as well as those already showing incredible dedication to what is one of the highest growth participation sports for females across the country," Mayor van Zetten said.

"Excitement will no doubt continue to grow for women's football in Tasmania and this game in Launceston will go a long way to helping the incredible growth we are witnessing across Northern Tasmania right down to the grassroots level."

Mayor van Zetten said the Council will continue to lobby for the highest-profile matches with the AFL, but it was an imperative that football fans continue to support games in 2019.

"No matter the opponent, I would strongly encourage all Tasmanians to get behind Hawthorn this season and to show their support for AFL in Launceston," he said.