Source: The Mercury, 8 September, 1992
By David Stockdale The general manager of the TFL, Mr Barry Breen, yesterday called on Tasmanian fans to start supporting local football and stop knocking it. His call came as figure s showed a continued alarming drop in TFL finals attendances this season - the four finals in the past two weeks have attracted fewer than half the numbers of four years ago. Mr Breen saw what he regarded as a very good game of football at York Park on Saturday and said yesterday that "the standard of football in the statewide league finals so far has been excellent". "The second semi-final I saw between North Launceston and North Hobart on Saturday was one of the best games I've seen in years," he said. His comments follow an alarm- ing drop in attendances since 1989 which threatens the con- tinuation of statewide football in its present form for next year. Not even the finals series, which normally helps rescue the league in the event of a wet and cold winter minor round .such as this year, has made any differ- ence. A total of only 10,788 people went to see the first four finals, compared with 23,422 three years ago-a drop of more than half. "Tasmanian football suffers from an unwarranted inferiority complex and just because it's small doesn't mean it's not good," Mr Breen said. ' Okay, so it's not AFL football, but it is a very good standard and that's why so many Tasmanians end up being drafted to AFL clubs and performing very well. "Look at how Jason Taylor made the reigning premiers' side at Hawthorn and how Daryn Cresswell, Andrew Dunkley and Paul Atkins made the Sydney Swans' seniors in a matter of weeks after leaving the TFL mid-season ." Besides people's negative atti- tude, he thinks the saturation of AFL football coming into-Tas- mania on TV and the ravages of the recession were other con- tributing factors to the big fall- off in crowds. "We've reduced our finals prices this year across the board for adults, kids and families," Mr Breen said. "No-one can tell me that $10 to see three games on grand final day doesn't represent good value when compared with what you have to pay to go to the movies or a concert. "I admit there isn't a concession for students over 16, but that's some- thing we intend to rectify for the preliminary final and the grand final." He believed the league's decision to let ABC-TV televise live statewide all finals up to the grand final hadn't had a significant effect on crowds. "Maybe it's taken a few hundred off at- tendances, but that's about all," Mr Breen said. The TFL will explore a range of options at its end-of-season meeting to help win back crowds next season.
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