One of Tasmania’s greatest AFL exports, Matthew Richardson, says any fight over naming the 19th team the “Devils” could be avoided by going with the “Islanders” as their name.
Confirmation of the new team will come on Wednesday afternoon from AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan with debate raging over what the club should be called.
In the original business case it was planned to called the team the “Tasmanian Devils”, which is the name used by its Under-18 side, having registered it as a trademark through the Australian government.
But it is understood the commercial trademark is owned by Warner Bros Entertainment for the cartoon character that has been made famous across the world and the AFL could be in for a fight to get its use back.
Richardson, who was drafted to Richmond from Hobart where he grew up, said the likelihood that new AFL chief executive elect Andrew Dillon would allow the Tasmanian people to choose the name was sound.
But Richardson said his choice could help avoid any issue.
“I think we should go for something new. But you know what I recommend that people should decide … throw it out there and let the people of Tasmania come up with some names and some ideas and then let them let them vote on it,” Richardson told RSN.
“I did mention the Islanders the other day. It is what it is, Tassie is an island. There are other teams called the Islanders. That’s one that immediately came to mind.
“We’ve done the Devils, we’ve done the Mariners”.
As the league begins to react to the new team’s inclusion, which could come as soon as the 2027 season, a timeline which will be confirmed on Wednesday, Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin said it would be “fundamentally great for footy”.
“You look at the broader picture of the game, the more Australians we reach, it’s fantastic for the game of AFL,” he said.
“Tassie is a very proud football state, and I think it‘s great for the Tasmanians and I know that it will be a pretty, pretty cool team.”
Goodwin had no concern over a possible dilution of the national talent pool when the Tasmanian is formed.
“I think you see the game it is now and the talent that continues to walk through our doors … there’s a lot of talent out there in Australia in footy and there‘s a lot of guys that miss out on opportunities and if they are put in the right environment, they can develop into great players,” he said.
“So I think that talent won‘t be an issue. I think we still have a great game of footy as we have had for the last period of time.
“It’s continued to grow our game and participation rates continue to increase and having another team in our competition is only going to do that again.”