The Southern Tasmanian Football League (STFL) was founded in 1996 with the league’s original clubs being those of the recently defunct Tasmanian Amateur Football League – Southern Division (Southern Amateurs) and two clubs from the Huon Football Association.
In that first season the competing clubs from the Tasmanian Amateur Football League (Southern Division) were Mangalore (Brighton), Lauderdale, Lindisfarne, Claremont, Sorell and Lachlan and from the Huon Football Association, Kingston (Kingborough) and Channel.
Despite the lopsided results from many of the matches in its first two seasons, the STFL was beginning to rival its long established counterpart, the TFL Statewide League for attendances, community involvement, players and money as players and fans alike became tired of the politics and negativity that permeated through a floundering TFL at that time.
With the demise of the 114-year old Huon Football Association at the end of the 1997 season and financially crippled former TFL club Hobart opting to pull out of the Statewide League at the end of the same season and voting to join the STFL, the league was ready for an influx of new teams as one of its foundation clubs, Lachlan, went out of business at the end of 1997.
Kermandie (then known as the Robins) and Cygnet (then known as the Magpies) were forced to change playing uniforms and emblems (to Bushrangers and The Port respectively) owing to clashes with already established clubs Brighton and Claremont.
Huonville Bulldogs merged with fellow Huon Football Association rival Franklin Lions to become the Huonville Lions and thus joined the STFL in 1998. Hobart (then known as the Tigers) were forced to change their emblem and playing strip owing to a clash with Kingston (Kingborough).
From 1998, the STFL would be known as the Southern Football League. As the league continued to go from strength to strength, the TFL Statewide League was sinking as crowds continued to slide and clubs sank further into the financial mire.
New Norfolk District Football Club, a member of the TFL since 1947 left the TFL at the end of 1999 and joined the SFL in 2000 as the New Norfolk ‘Derwent’ Hawks.
In early 1999 the Australian Football League funded a new governing body of Tasmanian football under recommendations through the AFL-instigated Biggs Report into the substantial crises facing Tasmanian football at that time, with the Tasmanian Football League, as the sport’s governing body being liquidated with massive debt problems.
The new governing body was known as Football Tasmania and it was to control and fund the new TSFL competition and a year later, a new SWL competition.
In December 2000, the Burnie Dockers pulled out of the SWL to rejoin the NTFL as did Devonport and Northern Bombers, leaving Football Tasmania little choice but to close down the Statewide competition as the AFL decided to redistribute its funding into placing a Tasmanian team in the Victorian Football League in 2001 which left Clarence, Glenorchy and North Hobart Football Clubs without a competition to participate in.
After numerous meetings and much debate it was decided to accept the three orphaned clubs into the league in early 2001 to create a 15-team competition for that season.
Premier League and Regional League split
In 2002 the SFL split into two conferences – Premier League and Regional League.
The Premier League consisted of former TFL clubs Clarence, Glenorchy, North Hobart, Hobart and New Norfolk along with Kingston, Brighton and Sorell.
The Regional League consisted of Cygnet, Channel, Huonville Lions, Kermandie, Claremont, Lauderdale, Lindisfarne and former Tasman Football Association club Dodges Ferry, admitted into the league after the TFA folded at the end of the 2001 season.
In early 2003 the Sorell Football Club was forced to leave the Premier League after the club was unable to find enough volunteers to run the club and therefore went into recess for that season, its Premier League position was taken over by Lauderdale the following year.
Two new additions to the SFL Regional League in 2006 saw former Oatlands District Football Association clubs Oatlands, Kempton and Bothwell merge to create the Central Hawks while east coast club Triabunna (also from the ODFA) also were included.
Six clubs leave the SFL to join the State League and OSFA
In 2008 AFL Tasmania announced plans to reintroduce the Tasmanian State League starting in 2009.
Under the plan Clarence, Glenorchy, North Hobart, Hobart and Lauderdale Football Clubs from the Premier League were targeted to join.
After subsequent meetings it was put to a vote of each club’s members who accordingly voted affirmatively to leave the SFL and join the State League subject to individual conditions being met. Kingborough Football Club also made a plea to join the TSL but was turned down by AFL Tasmania due to its poor facilities and poor standard home ground at Kingston Beach Oval.
In January 2009, the Channel Football Club was granted permission to join the Old Scholars Football Association. After struggling on and off the ground for several years the Saints feared that they would be no match for former Premier League clubs rejoining the same competition as them, and that the resulting beatings they would’ve suffered could well have spelled the end of the Channel Football Club’s existence so therefore, made a submission to join the more social OSFA competition.
Demise of Kermandie
Only weeks prior to the start of the 2009 season, Kermandie Football Club announced that it would be going into recess for the immediate future due to a lack of players, and despite a fresh attempt at reviving the club over the summer period of 2009/10, it was revealed that the club was again suffering from a chronic shortage of players and that Kermandie’s demise was imminent.
Despite a late attempt to discuss a possible merger with fellow Huon club Cygnet, who at the time were also suffering from player shortages, the Cygnet Football Club expressed their wishes to continue on in their own right and therefore the Kermandie Football Club was set to go out of existence in March 2010 after a history spanning 123-years.
However, a faction within the club led by senior coach Paul Allison (a one time Sydney Swans listed player) had signed up former Sydney Swan and Brisbane Bears forward Warwick Capper, only days later Mark ‘Jacko’ Jackson was also signed up in order to try and breathe life into the club, these signings did however create much controversy within the Kermandie/Geeveston region, a Facebook page titled “Stop the half brained idiots from turning Kermandie F.C into a circus” was started by former coach and player Todd Pepper which caused a spilt in the region.
SFL President Paul Harriss remained unconvinced and the League had already printed out the season’s roster without Kermandie’s involvement. A meeting on 17 March 2010 discussed terms on the future of Kermandie Football Club and their involvement with the SFL, with a vote of all club delegates set to decide their fate, however the Kermandie Football Club delegate had already been instructed to advise that the club would not be seeking a return to the SFL in 2010 and as a result, the club was wound up and went out of existence.
Triabunna becomes East Coast Bombers
From 2011, the Triabunna Football Club will be known as the East Coast Bombers in a deal with TSL club Lauderdale which will see them send players from their reserves list (the TSL Reserves competition was axed at the completion of the 2010 season) to play for the former Roos senior team, which has been struggling badly since it entered the SFL in 2006.
Citation: Southern Football League (Tasmania). From Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia & Wikipedia contributors. Retrieved July 3, 2011, Southern Football League Tasmania – Wikipedia