JASON BARRY | Victorian Leg Tennis | Contact

In a wonderful show of class, the AFL has enhanced its inclusivity credentials by making the game more accessible to our southern island brethren.

With the 19th AFL team licence granted for the game’s first Tasmania team, the AFL has celebrated the unique family structures of the region by creating a special supplement to the father / son rule that will be unique to the island nation.

This will see the rule’s reach extended to allow the game’s 19th club to have preferential access to not only sons of former players but to sons-who-are-also-my-cousins of former players.

The father / son rule is arguably the game’s most well-loved tradition.

It of course allows clubs preferential recruiting access to the sons of former players who have made a major contribution to the club.

This has seen intergenerational family legacies emerge at clubs around the country where names like Ablett, Watson, Daicos and Liberatore transcend the sport to make the game something altogether more extraordinary.

In light of Tassie’s tight-knit gene pool, the AFL has amended the rule to ensure that the unique familiar bonds inherent to all Tasmanians can continue on this great tradition in a way that supports their distinctive cultural practices.

While the idiosyncratic family trees that have grown out of a single seed down in the deep island south may appear strange at first to us mainlanders, they play an important role in what makes Tasmanians the amazing people we have come to know and cherish.

The AFL anticipates that once the new father / son-who-is-also-my-cousin rule takes effect in 2028, Tassie will have the ability to field the world’s first team of 18 on-field players that are all related by blood.

“We all come from different backgrounds and family structures,” new AFL CEO Andrew Dillon told a media scrum this morning. “This new rule acknowledges those differences and celebrates them.” 

Dillon says now that Tassie has been granted the 19th licence, the focus for him and his team now moves to naming conventions for the new club.

“We’re thinking either the ‘Tasmanian Devils’ or ‘Tassie Two Heads’, but we’re still working through the options,” he said.

More to come.


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