Alastair Clarkson joins Tasmania's AFL bid

Alastair Clarkson has long been a supporter of Tasmania having its own AFL team.
Alastair Clarkson has long been a supporter of Tasmania having its own AFL team.

Four-time Hawthorn premiership coach Alastair Clarkson has officially joined Tasmania's campaign for its own team, giving the bid a major boost.

Clarkson, now in the United States as he begins a year away from coaching, is a high-profile advocate of the state's bid to be granted the 19th AFL licence.

Tasmania Premier Peter Gutwein announced on Thursday that Clarkson is now an advisor to the bid.

"Alastair will use his existing knowledge and access to prime American sports teams to provide specification on what is required for a best-of-breed training and high performance centre," Mr Gutwein said.

"He'll also provide input on the best way to engage with ex-Tasmanian AFL players, here and interstate."

Mr Gutwein said Clarkson's initial engagement will be for six months and include specific interaction with AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan.

Clarkson, who has said he is open to coaching a side based in Tasmania, will also provide advice on development pathways and membership efforts.

"The services of Alastair Clarkson ... is a significant boost to the team we're taking forward and takes us one step closer to our aspiration of having an AFL licence," Mr Gutwein said.

The 18 AFL clubs will vote next year on whether Tasmania should have its own team.

An independent report on the merits of a club in Tasmania, by former Geelong president Colin Carter, was released earlier this year and and found the state deserves its own side.

Last month, Clarkson urged the Tasmanian bid to take a patient approach, saying it would need five or six years to establish local talent pathways so a foundation AFL team could have a decent proportion of home-grown talent.

Asked if he would consider being the team's inaugural coach, or having a significant role, Clarkson replied "without a doubt".

"Certainly from this far out, if I was unemployed like I am now, I'd be putting my hand up big time to get involved in such an exciting venture," he said.

"I think it's a no-brainer."

However, Clarkson also nominated former Hawthorn colleagues Chris Fagan and Brendon Bolton as Tasmanian natives who would have a lot to offer if there was a local AFL team.

It was revealed this week that Clarkson has wasted little time in his sabbatical, after ending his 17-year term as Hawks coach two months ago.

He has gone to the US to visit professional sporting organisations, examine business opportunities and study.

Australian Associated Press