The time is now. If we are to seriously have an evidence-based proposal for a Tasmanian AFL team we do it now or risk not ever having another crack.
The exploration of a Tasmanian AFL team is not about fairness. The push is also not a cry from the "poor cousins of Tasmania" to demand equality.
The Examiner's focus on a Tassie team is not a blind endorsement of the taskforce's recommendations that will come later this year. As the proud voice of Northern Tasmania, we will scrutinise all business plans.
What we do support is busting the myths that have denied Tasmania a team in the past. There are solid reasons to believe why right now is our best, and perhaps final, chance to enter the AFL.
TIME TO DECIDE:
Northern Tasmania has proven its appetite and support with the largest crowd numbers for Tasmania at UTAS Stadium consistently over the years.
The Examiner has always supported Hawthorn's presence in Launceston for the same reasons we support this push to explore a business case for a Tasmanian team. Given crowd support, access for North-West Tasmania and the improved infrastructure of the Midland Highway - our case strengthens.
Tassie is an AFL heartland. More than 91,000 Tasmanians are financial members of current AFL teams. We live and breathe Aussie Rules. The economic impact for the state, and in particular Northern Tasmania, is hard to ignore.
A Tassie AFL team is more than just the 22 players on the field representing the Apple Isle. For the boys and girls playing footy right now, they must be able to see clear pathways in their chosen sport and have access to role models.
Cricket in Tasmania already do this well. A boy growing up in Mowbray can captain Australia. The pathways are obvious and supported. Our recent success stories in the AFL - Ben Brown and Jay Lockhart - are examples of our talent having to leave the state to have a chance of playing in the premier league.
There are many reasons to believe that Tasmania can have a successful AFL team that would be supported by Tasmanians and others around the nation.
If the taskforce is to be successful in its business case, the first step is to unite as a state to demonstrate support for a Tasmanian AFL team.
The time is now to decide.
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