BROWNLOW Medalist Adam Cooney has given Tasmanian football fans a whack for failing to vote with their feet at a preseason game on the weekend.
Less than 2000 people attended a JLT Community Series match between North Melbourne and Melbourne after Tasmania’s apparent football crisis had been trumpeted to the footy world.
“There has been a huge uproar recently, calls for the AFL to step in and pour funding into Tasmanian football to help it survive, people saying there should be a team in Tasmania,” Cooney told SEN’s Sunday Brunch.
“Giving everything that is going on at the moment with Tasmanian football, people vote with their feet. To get 1,957 people to a JLT game, at any stage of the year, says to me people in Tasmania aren’t committed to the AFL.
“If they want a team in Tasmania, and Tasmanian football is obviously struggling, why wouldn’t people vote with their feet, get 7,000 to the game, and show support for football in Tasmania?
“For people there to say, we want a team, we love watching AFL footy and we deserve a team. Then to have no one roll in, what does that say to the AFL?
“The AFL says, why waste our time, because they aren’t passionate about AFL football.”
The match had the lowest attendance of the four played on the weekend as 7000 watched Essendon and Richmond play in Wangaratta, 6398 make it to Strathalbyn to watch Adelaide and Fremantle and 4317 attend Leederville Oval to see West Coast and Port.
“1,957 people to a game of footy doesn’t say to me Tasmania needs an AFL team whatsoever,” Cooney said.
“It vindicates their (the AFL’s) decision, because it isn’t enough numbers. It puts a stamp on any talk about Tasmania having an AFL team.
“People of Tassie, if you’re so passionate about having a team down there, you have to go to the games.”
CORNES: MELBOURNE IN MY TOP FOUR
Former Port Adelaide midfielder Kane Cornes is tipping Melbourne for a Richmond-like rise to Grand Final contention in 2018.
The Demons have built gradually under Paul Roos and Simon Goodwin in recent years and after topping up with some experienced recruits is set to give the eight a shake, Cornes says.
“I’ve got high expectations for them. I’ve got Melbourne well and truly in my top four,” he said on SEN Mornings.
“I think they’re going to come from outside the top eight and do a Richmond, and challenge for the flag this year.”
Commentator Stephen Quartermain agreed. “They’ve pretty much got everything they need now the Demons,” he said.
“The blueprint could see them go all the way if you look at the past two seasons, maybe just lacking a bit of outside run is my only concern for the Dees.”
Melbourne defeated North Melbourne 19.10 (124) to 11.5 (71) in Tasmania on the weekend.
PORT RECRUITS WILL TAKE TIME
Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley admits his high-profile recruits need more time to gel after they failed to fire in Sunday’s two-point pre-season loss to West Coast in Perth.
Jack Watts (nine disposals, one goal), Lindsay Thomas (four disposals), Jack Trengove (11 disposals), and Steven Motlop (eight disposals) had quiet outings in the 8.8 (56) to 8.6 (54) loss.
Former Brisbane captain Tom Rockliff didn’t play because of knee soreness. Port’s season opener against Fremantle on March 24 is less than a month away, and Hinkley knows he is running out of time to get all the new recruits acclimatised to their new teammates and game plan.
But Hinkley said he saw enough glimpses against the Eagles to suggest his recruits are on the right track.
“They all did little bits at times,” Hinkley said. “We’ve got to take some time to come together and figure out each others’ strengths and weaknesses a little bit.
“It showed (against West Coast) in some parts that … they’re going to make us a better side.” The Power are sweating on the availability of star forward Robbie Gray for the start of the AFL season.
Gray is set to come under scrutiny after laying a high bump on Eagles defender Jeremy McGovern on Sunday.
McGovern was ruled out for the rest of the match after the first-quarter hit. Gray opted to bump instead of go for the ball — an action that the AFL has cracked down on in recent years.