Sharks in hunt
THE AFL remains confident it will get the support required to grant a 17th team licence as its way of establishing a presence on the Gold Coast. The league looks set to pursue other avenues in its desire to create a foothold in the region now that the Kangaroos have vowed to commit to Melbourne rather than relocate. The Kangaroos board last night announced the club would commit to staying in Melbourne after the AFL rejected the board's request to be given another year to consider the multi-million dollar relocation proposal. But the Kangaroos' refusal to move is unlikely to shift the AFL in its desire to break into the new market. The AFL can now entertain proposals from other clubs, such as Collingwood and St Kilda, to play games at Carrara. But given the league has not offered its multi-million dollar relocation incentive package to any other club besides the Kangaroos, then a 17th team appears the favourite scenario if the AFL is to have its wish fulfilled by 2010. And that puts the Southport Sharks, a QAFL side with existing support and infrastructure, in the box seat. AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou yesterday said the league had already begun considering the costs of a new team, having said previously the league would have no hesitation in granting a 17th licence if the Kangaroos said no to the Gold Coast. "You know our position on that ... that is absolutely a very viable option and of course we will do the work required to explore the 17th lix cence as an option," Demetriou said. AFL chief broadcasting and commercial officer Gillon McLachlan said the AFL had already been in talks with Southport. Southport Sharks president Dr Alan Mckenzie said planning to establish an AFL team on the Gold Coast had to be started 'sooner rather than later'. "It's good that it hasn't been allowed to drag on for another 12 months because things would just remain unresolved," he said.