Richard Hinds has investigated the sad decline of AFL in Tasmania, as regional clubs fold due to the lack of interest of the national competition.
For ABC Offsiders, Hinds pointed out the dismal truth that all Tasmanian sport fans know too well, Australian sport ignores the southern-most state almost completely.
"Tasmania has no A-League, W-League, NRL, NBL, WNBL, NRL or Super League team to foster local pride. Just the Hobart Hurricanes to wave the flag during the BBL and WBBL's brief summer holiday seasons (and the Sheffield Shield team, if you happen to be walking the dog)," Hinds said.
The problem in Tasmanian sport has, according to Hinds, become particularly acute in the much-loved local Aussie-rules competition. Local clubs Burnie and Devenport have recently folded, causing shock-waves throughout the Tasmanian sporting community.
The bitter-truth is, without these development clubs, Tasmanian sport doesn't have a chance. The impact this would have on already-isolated Tasmanian youth is threatening.
"There are local factors," Hinds said. "An economic downturn, a dwindling population of football-age playing males in the region. These are not glory days in north-west Tassie.
"But Burnie Football Club's collapse is also a reminder that professional sport still depends heavily on a sense of ownership and personal investment from local supporters to flourish. Regardless of what the financial indicators suggest."
"The advent of AFLW provided another opportunity to give Tasmania a team to call its own. But instead the AFL insisted upon a joint venture with North Melbourne.
"Unflattering comparisons with apparently indifferent fans or empty stadiums in Homebush or Carrara won't sway the AFL. Tasmanians must continue to demonstrate — as the staunchest advocates have done extremely well — that their footballing history and their passion can sustain a team and, even if it can't, they deserve generous financial aid to do so.
"Sadly, it might take the demise of yet more local teams for the AFL to understand what it is missing."