Despite what the AFL would like everyone to believe, the biggest hurdle facing Tasmania's desire for a team in the national footy competition has never been parochialism.
The combined front pages of the state's three newspapers 11 days ago torpedoed that argument out of Bass Strait.
The AFL has hidden behind that convenient excuse for far too long.
The likes of Mike Fitzpatrick, Andrew Demetriou and Gillon McLachlan have churned out the party line and mainlanders have generally just bought it.
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Fitzpatrick was the most patronising upon retiring after 10 years as AFL chairman when he said: "In many ways, the difficulty is [the] North-South issue in Tasmania and that has to be resolved before Tasmania can be resolved."
Last year, McLachlan added: "In Tasmania, there is a divide and there are some issues which need to be addressed."
Tasmanians eh, they're their own worst enemies.
The top brass are conveniently stoking a smokescreen to hide the real explanation that the biggest hurdle preventing Tasmania joining the AFL is, and always has been, the AFL.
This is because the AFL gets everything it wants from the state, so why would it want to rock the Spirit of Tasmania?
Tasmanian taxpayers not only pay around $6 million a year for the privilege of not having an AFL team but have largely self-funded two venues for the competition.
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When the league's latest expansion clubs joined the party, the AFL injected $13.3 million into Gold Coast's stadium, $12 million into Greater Western Sydney's but had provided just $600,000 into Hawthorn's Tasmanian home.
Not only would the league have to sever its umbilical link to Tasmania funding but, if they were to treat a Tassie team the same way they did those expansion clubs (an if about as big as the Great Sandy Desert), they would have to pump millions into the venture.
So determined was the league to make Gold Coast and GWS succeed that it guaranteed gleaming stadiums for both, heavily subsidised their operations and rolled out golden draft incentives. It would be reluctant to treat Tasmania as generously.
There has never been a shortage of observers keen to point out the league's stance, but to date all such comments have been allowed to pass straight through to Tim Paine without the hint of an aggressive stroke.
In 2008, Hawks president Jeff Kennett said: "They are drowning in money, they just need to give Tasmania a bigger slice of the cake."
Tasmanian premiers of both major political persuasions have presented a united front.
David Bartlett revealed how the AFL expected his Labor government to pay $100 million to lure the Kangaroos to the state while Liberal Will Hodgman has said: "I think we have been let down by the AFL, they have taken us for granted."
As if reading from some internal party memo, Federal Sports Minister Richard Colbeck added: "They've taken us for granted."
"When it comes to the North-South stuff, [it's] an excuse that's been used against Tasmania for a long time by people who didn't really want to do anything," he said.
Even Brad Green - one of the legions of great AFL servants to emerge from our state - sang along when he said the biggest obstacle in Tasmania's way was getting the AFL to believe.
However, both Green and The Sunday Examiner columnist Brian Roe shot down the suggestion that the state would require Gold Coast or GWS levels of investment.
They pointed out that an expensive new stadium would not be required while Tasmania's footy genetics would help ensure interest in a state-based team.
The hardest task facing such an entity may be converting 500,000 passionate footy followers to start barracking for a second team.
We Tasmanian journalists have also been championing the cause by attempting to expose the league's hypocrisy.
In 2013 I wrote: "So while the Giants and Suns get given everything on a plate, Tasmania must provide for itself. And pay for the plate."
In 2015 came this: "During their visits south, Demetriou and McLachlan told journalists how much the AFL did for Tasmania without considering the reverse and gleefully played the parochialism card, suggesting our North-South divide was a bigger impediment to the state's own team than anything they were responsible for."
Two years later: "The AFL has played on Tasmania's footballing passions throughout their shared dealings, safe in the knowledge that the state always has been, and probably always will be, a die-hard footy hotbed."
Also in 2017, I wrote this: "There is no denying that parochialism exists in Tasmania, but so do two other 'p's: passion and pride. So envisage this...
"A Tasmanian AFL team playing home games evenly between UTAS Stadium and Bellerive Oval.
"The state's population distribution is roughly 50 per cent either side of Oatlands. With each half supporting their "home" venue and the loyal ultras travelling to both, there is no reason why the games could not be well supported.
"Tasmanians getting behind a Tasmanian cause in Tasmania - novel I know.
"Traditional sparring partners The Examiner and The Mercury might even unite as one voice."
That day arrived on August 30, 2019.
The parochialism argument is dead in the choppy waters of Bass Strait.
It's time for the AFL to confront the real reasons.
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