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Ex-coach Rodney Eade offers list size theory on potential Tasmanian AFL team, cut two players

Former AFL coach Rodney Ede believes a modest reduction in roster sizes will pave the way for the Tasmanian squad and address any concerns about a lack of playing talent.

Ede, one of Tasmania’s best football products, is adamant an AFL club can thrive in his home state amid constant roadblocks and theories about why it won’t work.

There are fears that adding a 19-a-side would overstretch the standard – although it will be increased to 18 after population growth – but the former Sydney, Western Bulldogs and Gold Coast coach said that was another excuse.

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“So I thought, ‘Oh, it’s going to be a disaster for the players. “We haven’t got enough competition to have another 40 players now,” Ede said. Believers: Tasmania’s AFL journey Podcast.

“Okay, well, what about the size of each[AFL club’s]list? I think we can go down by two – there are 36 players. So we don’t have any more players? The number of players is the same.

Rodney Ede thinks the Tasmanian side will have to dilute the player pool to enter the AFL with a small roster cut. Picture: Michael KleinSource: News Corp Australia

“I don’t know what the rate is at the moment. Is it 40 or 44? Say it’s 40 and four starters. 38 and four starters make it.

Due to changes at the end of 2020, AFL clubs have a maximum roster size of 44, including up to two Group B starters.

The combination is between 36-38 rostered players, then between four and six Division A starters, and Division B starters could expand the roster to 44.

Before that, there were talks at league headquarters about more drastic cuts, especially once the Covid-19 pandemic hit, but that never happened.

Ede’s 2019 second-place finish in Melbourne to win a drought-breaking flag last year showed teams can build quickly in the draft.

Melbourne’s promotion from second-last to the Premier League after two years is an example of how a Tasmanian team can be built through the draft, says Rodney Ede. Picture: Michael KleinSource: Submitted

“The way I would go if I was the AFL – and the AFLPA would never go for this – I would cut the list sizes further and not have reserves,” he said.

“They will go back to a feeder team, so Collingwood will line up with Coburg or Richmond as well – and create a VFL team, so Tassie will have their own state league.

“So you’ll have 35 players, so if you want to have a 20th license[beyond the inclusion of Tasmania]OK, there’s still enough players to go around.

“You’ve got 22, you’ve got injuries, you’ve got five or six going to your VFL or us to your feeder team, if it’s in Tassie, to regional clubs or whatever the case may be. I think there are too many players on the list.

“I think we can reduce that, reduce our costs and make it really competitive.”

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