There has recently been growing attention on Tasmania for the perilous relationship it now has with AFL football. Originally the traditional heartland of AFL, Tasmanian football has been in a consistent decline over the last couple of years.
This is most clear in the fact the Hugh Dixon from Freemantle has been the only Tasmanian player to be drafted to the mainland over the last 2 years. Now it seems that the situation is reaching a crisis point.
Recently it was announced that the Tasmanian State League or TSL was losing the Burnie Dockers because of a lack of numbers. The Devonport team has also recently revealed it was leaving competitive football because of similar reasons.
Adding to this issue is the news that the AFL has taken its financial support for the Gold Coast from $5.5 million to $25 million AUD. This has led many to believe that the AFL are more willing to support a struggling Queensland than a struggling Tasmania.
The AFL has historically argued that establishing a team in Tasmania was not financially justifiable given the climate of the Tasmanian economy. Some have said while this may be true the fact that the Gold Coast is being bailed out shows a level of favouritism.
Many have argued that Tasmania could in fact support and AFL team if it was given the financial support that Queensland is getting. They say that the Gold Coast would not be able to support a team unless it was getting support from the AFL.
Others have speculated that the reasons for a lack of funding and interest in Tasmanian football were that many people were leaving the state altogether. The population of Tasmania has decreased over the years as more people look for jobs on mainland Australia.
This has resulted in Tasmania having fewer people to recruit as players and less people to attend games. While there is no shortage of amateur players they are not filtering through the system fast enough to create a competitive pool of elite AFL players.
Many commentators have said that if Tasmania was given the same attention and patience as other states is could easily resurrect its presence in the AFL. For a lot of people this represents another example of Tasmania being sidelined by mainland Australia.
For now, Tasmanian AFL fans will have to be patient and hope for the best. While AFL executives have promised that they have a plan for Tasmania it has yet to be seen how meaningful that plan will be.