Hobart Forever Boys - Hobart Joins The TSL: The Tiger Returns

Hobart Joins The TSL: The Tiger Returns

In 2008, The Hobart Football Club received an official invitation from AFL Tasmania to join a revamped Statewide competition named the Tasmanian State League in 2009.

After a meeting of club members, delegates and supporters, the club unanimously voted in August 2008 to leave the SFL Premier League and join the new league.

As a result of joining the TSL, the club voted at their AGM on 15 December 2008 to return to their original Tiger emblem and colours.

The club's first match in the reformed Tasmanian State League competition took place on 10 April 2009 against eventual grand finalist Glenorchy at the TCA Ground.

A crowd of more than 2,000 saw Glenorchy run rampant over an inexperienced Hobart team and win by 92 points.

The Tigers season improved somewhat as the year progressed, with the sacking of coach Todd Lewis mid-season, former player Graeme Fox took over and guided his young side to six wins for the season, the Tigers were still a credible shot at a finals position late in the season but narrow losses to Lauderdale (twice) and Devonport late in the season saw the team finish in eighth position.

After a tough start to the 2010 TSL season in which the Tigers faced the previous year's grand finalists (Clarence and Glenorchy) and an improved North Hobart side in the first three rounds and suffered from three heavy defeats, the young Hobart team began to show plenty of promise with victories over Lauderdale, Burnie, South Launceston and an inspiring victory over North Hobart under lights at a freezing Bellerive Oval to sit inside the top six for the first time by round 8 (and the first time the club had been inside the top half of the ladder in Statewide Football since 1992), but a costly mid-season slump in which Hobart would lose seven games in succession (and being in a position to win five of those in the latter stages) proved disastrous.

As somewhat of a pointer to Hobart's season of great inconsistency, the Tigers ended their seven match losing streak by thrashing finalist Glenorchy by 93 points at the TCA Ground on 31 July, the victory was the largest Hobart had registered over New Town/Glenorchy in 65 years but they again suffered large defeats in their final two matches to finish in second-last place.

The club's 2011 season proved to be somewhat of an annus horribilus as constant speculation surrounded Hobart's future in the TSL competition post-2012 with AFL Tasmania's threats firstly to relocate the club to Kingston's new Twin Ovals' Facility which would lead to an eventual takeover/amalgamation with the Kingborough Tigers and later a concerted push to amalgamate the club with North Hobart which was met with disapproval from both clubs' financial members.

AFL Tasmania has stated that there will be only one TSL license available for inner-city clubs after a review at the completion of the 2012 season.

Adding to the club's woes was an ugly slanging match in the media with the Hobart City Council over the poor standard of facilities at the TCA Ground, the club lambasting the Council over their perceived lack of activity in maintaining and improving facilities at their home ground.

With all the uncertainty surrounding the club, on-field performances were very poor with the club winning only three matches for the season whilst crowd numbers remained poor.

Whilst the club were competitive in many matches, an injury crisis during the middle part of the season saw an acute lack of depth exposed which resulted in a string of humiliating losses, including the Tigers heaviest defeat at the TCA Ground in the club's history (to Clarence by 133 points), scoring the lowest senior level score ever recorded at KGV (going goalless for the third time in the club's history in dreadful conditions) and suffering from a humiliating loss away to a struggling South Launceston.

The only highlights in an otherwise forgettable season for the Tigers were victories over struggling Devonport and Glenorchy (both at home) and an upset final round victory away to Lauderdale to deny the young Bombers a maiden TSL finals appearance.

Following on from the 2011 season the club decided not to renew Coach Graeme Fox's contract and following an extensive application process Anthony McConnon was appointed as the new coach in what was to turn out to be a disastrous season for the club. The Tigers endured a winless 2012 season and with constant speculation over the club's future as a member of the competition, both Hobart and North Hobart put together submissions to AFL Tasmania to compete for the sole inner-city licence. For some time it appeared that Hobart were the front runners but after AFL Tasmania extended the deadline to allow North Hobart's members to vote on a 50/50 alignment with the Hobart, North Hobart's membership accepted to do so from the 2014 season with both clubs final seasons in their own right at TSL level being in 2013.

Read more about this topic:  Hobart Forever Boys

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