North Launceston's inaugural women's coach Dean Smith says the TSLW needs more support as it works through the most challenging period of its four-year tenure.
Established from the eight-team Tasmanian Women's League, the TSLW began with five teams in 2017 and grew to six despite Burnie's departure in 2018.
Plans to mirror the TSL's seven clubs through North Hobart's inclusion now look some way off with Lauderdale sitting out 2020 and news last week that North Launceston is unlikely to field a team in 2021.
Smith, who resigned from the head coach role earlier this month, said his Bombers had faced challenges on many fronts throughout their first two years in the TSLW.
State League clubs have had their funding slashed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, with the 2020 season only getting underway thanks to players and coaches foregoing payment.
COVID's financial pinch looks set to continue well into 2021, leading North Launceston to ask its women's team to play a lead role in fundraising for their football program.
Smith said he thought it was unfair to ask the players - who do not get paid to play - to be "political activists and fundraisers".
MORE FOOTBALL: North's Tassie deal talks expected soon
"It was never about numbers - we've got plenty of players, there was no issue there despite whatever gets said elsewhere," Smith said.
"We had plenty of players looking to come on board as well, so everything was running along quite smoothly until we struck that hurdle and it just became personal choice to the girls with what they wanted to do.
"They didn't get sufficient numbers to say they wanted to be running a committee and running fundraisers without support from the rest of the club."
North Launceston's plight has put a question mark around the 2021 competition, with a Bombers exit leaving just Launceston, Clarence, Glenorchy and Kingborough - who are yet to beat the aforementioned trio in four years - to compete next season.
Smith said he would continue to support North's women's teams and players, but had grown weary of the "political side" of the role.
Smith said while assistance such as bus subsidies had helped the competition go ahead in 2020, he had to "hound" AFL Tasmania in order to get three TSLW matches filmed this season competition-wide.
"Hopefully of course we'd like to see North still going and it's not just North, all the clubs need support for their women's programs," he said.
"If they let it fall over it's not a very good look for their support of women's football.
"I think the NTFA ... I've spoken to a fair few of their clubs over the time and they've said they've got really good support at NTFA level for the clubs to push their women's footy and that's what I thought would have been the same with TSL.
"We were really happy with our results on the field, I was really happy with the way the girls were progressing - only two years in and playing finals both times.
MORE SPORT: Tassie secures extra BBL fixtures
"We were happy with where we were going, so it wasn't anything to do with that, it's just more about the way the competition was going and the lack of support we had from AFL Tas and for women's football in general.
"It leaves a bit of a bad taste in the mouth but I hope it works out.
"In my time there the girls were great and I'll continue to support them all, it's really just the politics of it that's worn me down."
Smith said there were plenty of worthy coaching candidates waiting in the wings - including Claudia Matteo, Jodie Clifford and Steven Crooks - should circumstances allow North to return to the park in 2021.
North Launceston president Thane Brady said his club would feel the effects of a "COVID hangover" well into next season with decreased funding and continued restrictions compounded by a return of council training and match day fees.
"When we considered entering a side in the TSLW for a 2019 commencement we understood the challenges we were facing such as the financial costs associated, a lack of facilities for training and match day and the already stretched volunteer resources," Brady said.
"Conditions in 2021 will be even more difficult.
"We continue to work with AFL Tasmania to find the right structure allowing the continued growth of participation through community football played at a regional level, balanced out equally with a statewide competition that creates junior pathways and ensures talented players graduating from the Devils program have access to a challenging environment.
"A final decision will be made in due course."
AFL Tasmania declined to comment.