The inaugural board of the prospective Tasmanian AFL club has been announced, comprising of business, finance, governance, community and football experts.
Recently retired legend of the game Jack Riewoldt will also play a key role in the team’s formation.
The eight-person board will be unveiled in Launceston this afternoon, with Richmond great Riewoldt to be confirmed as the club’s official culture lead, ahead of a tipped 2028 start date.
In a statement, the club said that Riewoldt “will work to build the DNA of the club” through a program called “The Fabric”.
Riewoldt said he was excited to play a role.
“The Fabric will represent each and every strand that makes up the rich tapestry of our club — who we are, what we stand for, what we believe in, our history and our collective vision for the future.”
Riewoldt headlines a powerful group of local and expat Tasmanians on the inaugural board, including Brisbane Lions premiership hero Alastair Lynch, high-powered talent manager James Henderson and Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre chairman Graeme Gardner.
Beacon Foundation CEO Kath McCann, UTAS audit and risk committee chairwoman Alicia Leis, former Bellamy’s Australia managing director Laura McBain, lawyer Roger Curtis and former Central Coast Council general manager Kathy Schaffer make up the remainder of the board.
It was announced in May that Tasmania had been granted the 19th licence for a team in the national competition.
The board will oversee the formation of the club, development of an official business case, and eventually the appointment of the team’s first chief executive officer.
Board brings together varied expertise
The board is split evenly along gender lines, with four men and four women representatives, while each was either born, lives or has previously lived in Tasmania.
The appointment of James Henderson, who manages North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson and Brisbane’s Tasmanian coach Chris Fagan, will only fuel speculation that one of the pair could be appointed as the club’s inaugural coach.
Kathy Schaffer, who helped oversee Brisbane’s Queen’s Wharf development in 2017 and 2018, is likely to play a particularly key role as the board’s infrastructure and local governance lead, with the contentious Macquarie Point stadium still to face a rigorous parliamentary approval process.
The club’s licence has been granted on the condition a 23,000-seat roofed stadium is constructed at Macquarie Point, with the state government to incur financial penalties from the AFL for every year it is not completed after 2029.
The expertise of Alicia Leis, who is a partner at WLF Accounting and Advisory, and who specialises in risk management and governance, will likely be heavily leaned upon as the club hunts for a site to build a $70 million training and administration facility to house the men’s, women’s, VFL and junior academy teams.
Last month, the Hobart City Council ruled out two sites within its local government area, but the mayors of Brighton, Kingborough, Glenorchy and Clarence have all expressed interest in hosting the facility.
The club has also established a women’s football advisory panel to be headed up by former Lauderdale football club president and Tasmanian AFL taskforce member Julie Kay, in anticipation of the entry of the state’s AFLW team, likely to come in 2026 or 2027.
An emphasis has also been placed on developing a link with the state’s Aboriginal community through the appointment of local footballing great Graeme Gardner.
The Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre (TAC) chairman works as an Aboriginal advisor for Tasmanian government business Tas Networks.
The board was selected by a nominations committee that included former Richmond president Peggy O’Neal, AFL CEO Andrew Dillon, club chair Grant O’Brien and former Olympian Liz Jack, who is also a former CEO of the Macquarie Point Development Corporation.