Tasmanian Football League

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Tasmanian State League
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event 2016 TSL season
Tasmanian sl logo.png
Sport Australian rules football
Founded June 12, 1879; 137 years ago (1879-06-12)
No. of teams 9
Country  Australia
Most recent
Most titles North Hobart
Official website tasmanianstateleague.com.au

The Tasmanian State League (TSL), colloquially known as the "Tasmanian Football League (TFL)" (formerly known as the "Tasmanian Australian National Football League (TANFL)" and several other short-term names) is the highest ranked Australian rules football league in Tasmania, Australia.

The league has a long and convoluted history which dates back to its founding on 12 June 1879 (giving it some claim to the title of the third oldest club football league in the world), but the name "TFL" (also the state's football governing body) was removed after it was liquidated with crushing debts in February 1999 and replaced by an independent commission (Football Tasmania) and the competition was renamed the Tasmanian State Football League (1999) and the SWL (2000) until the number of clubs in financial difficulty made the league unsustainable and it collapsed in December 2000. After long negotiations and discussions it was reinstated as a ten club competition in 2009.

The League is commercially known as the "RACT Insurance Tasmanian State League" under a naming-rights sponsorship agreement with RACT Insurance in Hobart.[1]


Post war years[edit]

In 1944, the Tasmanian Australian National Football League (TANFL) directors met to discuss restructuring of the league which was scheduled to return in 1945 after three seasons in recession due to World War II. The clubs would represent their various districts rather than being individual clubs.

Two new clubs (Hobart & Sandy Bay) would join North Hobart and New Town at the expense of Cananore and Lefroy which went out of existence during the World War II cessation.

In 1947 the TANFL voted to include a further two clubs (Clarence –formed in 1903– and New Norfolk –formed in 1878–) from the Southern District Football Association for a three-year probationary period. On 7 August 1950, the clubs unanimously voted to retain the two clubs as permanent members of the competition.

At the end of the 1956 season, New Town FC relocated itself to the municipality of Glenorchy and absorbed the already existing local club Glenorchy Rovers; on 8 April 1957 the TANFL ratified the club's new name as "Glenorchy District Football Club", its new home ground was the 1950-built KGV Park.[2]

This era would be the strongest one for the league with a succession of star players in its ranks, record crowds and huge public support.[3]

From 1979–1985 the TANFL would be known as the "Winfield League" under a naming-rights sponsorship arrangement with a tobacco company.

Statewide Football era: 1986-2000[edit]


The league disbanded due to a dwindling of clubs able to financially cope and fell under the umbrella of Football Tasmania (which was soon renamed AFL Tasmania).[4]

Three regional leagues absorbed the clubs from the Statewide League. This was represented by the 2 main North/South leagues and subsidiary regional leagues which underpinned the Tasmanian Devils VFL team, created in 2001 which was owned and funded by the Australian Football League and administered by AFL Tasmania.

Tasmanian State League[edit]

After a hiatus of eight years, AFL Tasmania announced plans for a return of the statewide league in 2009.[5]

The concept attracted widespread public and media debate on the return of a statewide competition, with many in the football world hesitant over such a move due to the perilous financial position most of the participating clubs were left in after the previous competition was disbanded in 2000.
Many believed the push for a return of the league was a direct result of the media and the Tasmanian State Government's strong campaign in getting a Tasmanian team admitted into the AFL.[6]

Under the AFL Tasmania plan, ten (10) clubs were invited to join the competition.[7]

Clarence, Glenorchy, Hobart and North Hobart along with former Southern amateur club Lauderdale in the South. North Launceston, South Launceston and Launceston from the North and Devonport and Burnie Dockers from the North-West Coast.

The response from many clubs was initially luke-warm at best with many concerned at the lack of detail in the AFL Tasmania plan and the rushed decision-making process of the move.

Ulverstone from the North West Coast bowed to pressure from its playing list and some factional groups within the club to put in a submission to join the competition in 2009. Despite a membership vote narrowly ending in favour of joining, the Robins had missed the AFL Tasmania enforced deadline and were initially to be included in the 2010 roster, however the remaining clubs (most notably its closest and most bitter rival Devonport) exerted considerable pressure upon the League not to alter the current makeup of teams for a period of ten years, therefore Ulverstone were excluded from joining.

SFL Premier League club Kingborough also lobbied AFL Tasmania to be included in the competition, but their case for inclusion was dismissed by the game's governing body due to their inadequate facilities and poor standard Kingston Beach Oval headquarters.[8] Former TFL club New Norfolk (1947–1999) was also not invited to join the league because of their poor financial position. Also, as a result of the new competition getting off the ground, the Tasmania Devils VFL team was disbanded.[9]

On 4 April 2009, the opening match of the reformed competition took place at King George V Park between the reigning premiers of the SFL Premier League, Glenorchy and reigning NTFL premier Launceston and resulted in a 21-point triumph to the Blues.

The inaugural Grand Final was held at Bellerive Oval on 19 September between old rivals Glenorchy and Clarence resulting in a thrilling 6-point victory to the Roos in front of 7,534 fans.

The 2010 season started brightly with over 12,000 attending the first round of matches but soon after there was a great deal of off-field controversy with former Tasmanian Premier Paul Lennon originally accepting an unpaid role acting as a mediator between the clubs and AFL Tasmania as the relationship between the clubs and the governing body had become further strained. However, after only two weeks of the season, three clubs (Clarence, North Launceston and North Hobart) had decided to do their own bidding and Lennon walked away from the position.

There were further controversies, namely AFL Tasmania's decision to withdraw support for the Reserve grade competition after the Burnie Dockers announced only days before the start of the season that they would not be fielding a reserve grade side. Two other clubs (Hobart and Launceston) also struggled to field a reserves team throughout the season, and as a result the competition was run by the clubs themselves for the remainder of the season. It would be axed at season's end.

A finals set-up that included an extra week was roundly criticised by football pundits across the State and it failed to garner great enthusiasm amongst the footballing public as small crowds attended, with AFL Tasmania later admitting that they would be looking at returning to the more tradition Final Five set-up in 2011.

During the 2013 season, South Launceston decided that it would not pursue a new TSL licence at the end of the season, and arranged to move into the newest Northern Tasmanian Football Association in 2014; despite this, the club went on to win the 2013 premiership, meaning that there was no defending premier in 2014. The club was replaced by the Prospect State Football Club, which competes under the formal club name of Western Storm Football Club.[10] At the same time, the North Hobart Football Club was forced to disband as a team by AFL Tasmania in favour of the newly established Hobart City Football Club,[11] whilst the Hobart Tigers left for the Southern Football League.[12] These movements were forced upon the league to make space for a new AFL Tasmania backed TSL club, the Kingborough Tigers Football Club.[13]

Prior to 2016, the Western Storm was rebranded as the Prospect Hawks; but it was unable to field a senior team in 2016, managing only to field an uncompetitive team in the reserves, before being expelled from the league at the end of the 2016 season.[14]


The Tasmanian Football League operates on a single table system, with no divisions, conferences nor promotion and relegation from other leagues.

Current Clubs[edit]

Club Nickname Location Ground Debut Premier years Premiers
Burnie Dockers Dockers Burnie West Park Oval 1987 2012 1
Clarence Kangaroos Bellerive Bellerive Oval 1947 1970, 1979, 1981, 1984, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2009, 2010 11
Devonport Magpies Devonport Devonport Oval 1987 1988 1
Glenorchy Magpies Glenorchy KGV Oval 1921 [note 1] 1935, 1948, 1949, 1951, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1958, 1965, 1975, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1999, 2016 15
Hobart City Demons North Hobart North Hobart Oval 2014 0
Lauderdale Bombers Lauderdale Lauderdale Oval
Bellerive Oval
2009 0
Launceston Blues Riverside Windsor Park 1994 2011 1
North Launceston Bombers Invermay Aurora Stadium
Invermay Park
1986 1995, 1998, 2014, 2015 4
Tigers Tigers Kingston Twin Ovals Complex 1893 1930, 1933, 1936, 1948, 1953, 1958, 1960, 1961, 1965, 1966, 1980, 1991, 1995, 1997, 2011 15
  1. ^ As "New Town FC.".


Tasmania Hobart Inner Locator.png

North Launceston
Hobart City
Kingborough Tigers

Past clubs[edit]

TFA/STFA/TANFL: 1879–1941[edit]

Club Years
Cananore 1908–41
Lefroy 1898–41
Cricketers 1879-85
Derwent 1906–07
New Town District 1921–45
Railway 1876–96
Kingston 1893–1907
South Hobart 1897
Wellington 1898–1905
Holebrook 1880–94
Union 1887
Summerton 1898
City 1879–96

TANFL/TFL Statewide League: 1945–2000[edit]

Club Years
Hobart Football Club 1945–1997
North Hobart FC 1881–2000 [note 1]
Glenorchy District 1945–2000 [note 2]
Clarence District FC 1947–2000
New Norfolk District 1947–1998 [note 3]
Sandy Bay 1945–97
Southern Cats 1998–99
East Launceston 1986
South Launceston 1986–97
North Launceston 1986–2000 [note 4]
Launceston 1994–97
Burnie Hawks 1987–1994
Burnie Dockers 1995–2000
Devonport 1987–2000 [note 5]

TSL State League: 2009–2013[edit]

Club Years
Hobart FC 2009–13
North Hobart FC 2009–13
South Launceston 2009–13
Prospect Hawks 2014–16 [note 6]
  1. ^ 1999-2000 as "Hobart Demons"
  2. ^ 1945-56 as "New Town District FC"; 1957–2000 as "Glenorchy District FC".
  3. ^ 1947–98 as "New Norfolk District FC"; 1999 as "Derwent Eagles FC".
  4. ^ 1986–97 as "North Launceston FC"; 1998–2000 as "Northern Bombers FC".
  5. ^ 1987–96 as "Devonport Blues"; 1997–2000 as "Devonport Power"
  6. ^ 2014-15 as "Western Storm"; 2016 as "Prospect Hawks", with reserves team only.

League Presidents[edit]

President Period
Mr W.L Giblin 1879–86
Sir L.Dobson 1887–93
Sir E.Braddon 1894–96
Mr H.Dobson MHA 1897
Mr A.J Clarke 1898–99
Mr C.J.Eady 1900–08
Mr A.Hearne 1909–16
Mr W.B Propsting 1917–24
Mr C.J Eady MLC 1925–41
Mr W.Arnold 1942–49
Mr M.A.S McNeair OBE 1950–74
Mr R.T Butler 1975–77
Mr D.A Burton 1977–79
Mr D.Fenton 1979–80
Mr J.Bennett 1981–85
Mr D.Smith 1986–91
Mr J.Wilkinson QC 1991
Mr B.Breen 1992–95
Mr R.Hampson 1996–98
Mr B.Greenhill 1999–2000
Mr S.Wade 2000, 2009–11
Mr S.Young 2012–14

Premierships, leading goalkickers and records[edit]

Since the first championship held in 1879, North Hobart has won the most premiers with 27 titles. The first champion ever was City FC, a club now defunct.

Timeline (1945–present)[edit]

Individual awards[edit]

Alistair Lynch Medal Winners[edit]

Formerly known as the Tassie Medal, presented to the Best and Fairest player in the Tasmanian State League from 2009.[15]

Year Player Club
2009 Kurt Heazlewood (Devonport)
2010 Brett Geappen (Clarence)
2011 Tim Bristow (Launceston)
2012 Jaye Bowden (Glenorchy)
2013 Mitch Thorp (South Launceston)
2014 Daniel Roozendaal (North Launceston)
2015 Jaye Bowden (Glenorchy)
2016 Jaye Bowden (Glenorchy)

Peter Hudson Medal Winners[edit]

Presented to the Leading Goalkicker in the Tasmanian State League from 2009.[16]

Year Player Club
2009 Brad Dutton (Clarence)
2010 Brian Finch (Launceston)
2011 Brian Finch (Launceston)
2012 M.Williamson (Clarence)
2013 Sonny Whiting (Launceston)
2014 Aaron Cornelius (Glenorchy)
2015 Jaye Bowden (Glenorchy)
2016 Jaye Bowden (Glenorchy)

Former Individual Awards[edit]

Wilson Bailey Trophy Winners[edit]

It was presented to the best and fairest player in the TFL/TANFL from 1927 until 1929. It was replaced by the William Leitch Medal in 1930.

Year Player Club
1927 K.Roberts (New Town)
1928 G.Cole (New Town)
1929 A.Leitch (New Town)

George Watt Medallists[edit]

It was presented to the best and fairest player in the TANFL from 1935 until 1939. It replaced the William Leitch Medal although it ended up being replaced by it in 1940

Year Player Club
1935 L.Powell (North Hobart)
1936 E.Zschech (Lefroy)
1937 L.Pye &
(North Hobart)
1938 L.Pye (North Hobart)
1939 E.Zschech (Lefroy)

William Leitch Medal[edit]

Main article: William Leitch Medal

The William Leitch medal was presented to the best & fairest player in the TANFL/TFL Statewide League from 1930–1934 and 1940–2000.
As of 2009 when the Tasmanian State League was revived, AFL Tasmania decided to award the Tassie Medal to the best and fairest player in the revamped competition as it was seen (particularly in the North) that the William Leitch medal was too Hobart-centric. The medal continues to be presented to the best and fairest player in the Southern Football League since 2004.



Official Magazine[edit]

Currently there is no official magazine for games during the 2014 season. A new provider and TSL Record is currently being re-designed for the 2015 season and beyond through Tall Zebra Media.


The ABC and TVT6 (Now WIN Tasmania) have broadcast the league previously.

All Tasmanian based stations have news and results shown regularly in their news broadcasts. Southern Cross report full-time scores from the TFL as well as other leagues around the state during the half time break of their Saturday night AFL broadcast.


League matches were formerly broadcast on radio from 1931 to 2000, however there are currently no radio broadcasts of TFL football with the exception of the Grand Final and the occasional roster game on ABC Local Radio which is also streamed online.


The Hobart Mercury in the South, The Examiner in Launceston and the North as well as The Advocate on the North West Coast all provide extensive coverage of TSL football in their publications.


The Tasmanian Football league crowds compete heavily with AFL matches on television. Crowds at the beginning of the season are usually quite high and are up with the mainland state football competitions. Attendances usually slide considerably until it will increase during the finals. Night games, especially ones that do not clash with AFL matches are well attended.

Patrons at TFL games pay at the gates or hold club season passes.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]