If you’re the same as me, you will have sorely missed the footy season. The recent drug scandals haven’t dampened my interest in the AFL. I don’t have a team but I do enjoy the AFL as a supplement to my main passion that runs for nine months of the year in the northern climes.

Footy - AFL Eagles Banner
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AFL – West Coast Eagles supporters at the footy, Blundstone Arena Hobart

Footy: The AFL Experience in Tasmania

by Roger Findlay

When we planned our upcoming holiday for the month of April I made the mistake of not checking the dates for the AFL games being played in Tasmania. There will be two games of footy played when we’re on the Island. One is being played in Hobart the day we arrive; and the other in Launceston a week later when we’re in Hobart!

Footy - Hawthorn in Launceston
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Local footy crowd favourite Hawthorn at Aurora Stadium in Launceston

Footy at Aurora Stadium in Launceston: Hawthorn

I have only seen two games “live” and they were both in Tasmania. The first game was between Hawthorn and the Brisbane Lions at Aurora Stadium and we enjoyed the occasion immensely.

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The Tassie Hawks prepare to take on the Brisbane Lions at Aurora Stadium in Launceston

We were sitting to the right of the goal posts in moderately priced seats adjacent to a sprinkling of Lions supporters. While I marvelled at the speed and skills of the players, many spectators chose to be away buying food and drink for much of the game. I wondered why they even bothered going to the footy.

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Hawthorn v Brisbane Lions at Aurora Stadium in Launceston Tasmania

The wind howled and it was a cold day but I found it to be everything I’d expected with regard to spectator facilities and value for money. This couldn’t be said for the experience at my second game.


 

Footy at Blundstone Arena in Hobart: North Melbourne

From a distance Blundstone Arena looked impressive and I was looking forward to the atmosphere of a near full stadium. North Melbourne was playing the West Coast Eagles with both pushing hard to improve their aspirations for the finals.

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The Roos break through the banner, playing footy in Hobart during 2012

Tickets sold fast leaving me with no other option than a ground ticket. For $25 I didn’t expect much; but I also didn’t expect to need Nike studded gum boots to contend with the tricky surface of the grassed terrace. This aside, the Kangaroos and the Eagles provided some magnificent entertainment and a close footy contest right up to the end.

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Nic Naitanui in the ruck for West Coast Eagles during the footy in Hobart

As it is now, I wouldn’t attend the footy in Hobart again without a reserved seat. However, the 2013 Blundstone Arena redevelopment plans have recently been given the green light. The upgrade will increase the capacity of the ground by 5,000 and promises to improve spectator facilities.

Footy - Hobart, Mt Wellington
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Mt Wellingston looms large over Blundstone Arena in Hobart Tasmania

Now let’s have a look at the Tasmanian footy fixture for 2013:

Hobart, Bellerive, Blundstone Arena:

April 13 – Saturday – 1.45pm North Melbourne v Sydney Swans – Round 3

May 4 – Saturday – 2.10pm North Melbourne v Port Adelaide – Round 6

Launceston, Aurora Stadium:

April 20 – Saturday – 1.45pm Hawthorn v Fremantle Dockers – Round 4

May 18 – Saturday – 2.10pm Hawthorn v GWS Giants – Round 8

June 30 – Sunday – 1.10pm Hawthorn v Brisbane Lions – Round 14

July 20 – Saturday – 1.45pm Hawthorn v Western Bulldogs – Round 17


 

Obviously the outstanding match is the first one to be played in Tasmania for the season, when the Swans come to town. Expect them to travel with a big following. Get your seats booked when they go on sale so you don’t miss out.

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Blundstone Arena is the Tasmanian AFL base for the North Melbourne Kangaroos

When I checked the Virgin flights out of Melbourne, I noticed that most of the cheap seats have gone on the day of the Swans game. Why not make it a long weekender? Sail aboard the Spirit of Tasmania on Friday night. Catch the bus down to Hobart. Go to the footy. Stay the night and fly home on Sunday. Money? See the bank!

Footy - Final Score
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The Spirit of Tasmania footy score board at Blundstone Arena in Hobart

Tasmania can be proud of hosting six games of footy each season. But I’m sure residents can’t wait to boast a Tasmanian-based club with a magnificent purpose built stadium to match.

Roger Findlay spends all his holidays in Tasmania, then writes about the
experience for Think Tasmania. If you’d like Roger to visit you in the name of
research (so we can publish information about your business), please contact us.

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Map: Footy in Tasmania…