In the same week as Tasmania was snubbed at a second consecutive AFL national draft, the state's top female footballers are facing losing their talent pathway altogether.
Less than two months on from the 2020 grand final, the TSLW is looking increasingly unlikely to make it into a fifth season.
News that North Launceston would not be fielding a team in 2021 kickstarted a domino effect that has reigning premiers Launceston and Southern heavyweights Glenorchy and Clarence unsure where they will play next season.
Discussions are continuing as to how a statewide competition can go ahead next year, however, it is possible that the state's women's football landscape could feature only regional competitions and an underage Devils program next season.
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For ex-Launceston coach Ange Dickson, a mainstay of Tasmanian women's football throughout the last decade, the news has come as a bitter blow.
Dickson's Blues have produced seven AFLW players in the past three years - Courtney Webb, Daria Bannister, Abbey Green, Chloe and Libby Haines, Mia King and Brooke Brown - but will be hard-pressed to continue the trend should the TSLW fall over.
"It's really disappointing as a coach and a player to see now that it's not just the TSLW, it's the end of any kind of pathways for females over the age of 18 to get drafted," Dickson said.
"If the TSLW wasn't here Emma Humphries wouldn't have been drafted, Nicole Bresnehan, Abbey Green, Brooke Brown wouldn't have been drafted.
"I know there's discussions being had with AFL Tasmania in regards to what can we do to create these pathways, but they're talking about state finals or a possible one-off rep game - it's not going to be enough.
"When you're expecting high-calibre players to play in regional competitions, the level and the standard is going to drop and we're never going to be creating a program that is going to give these women the opportunity to really push themselves and open the door to getting drafted."
'IT'S UNFAIR ON EVERYONE'
Dickson fears Tasmania's top female footballers could be lost to the system should the TSLW dissolve back into the three regional competitions.
Such a move would see Launceston and North Launceston competing in the NTFAW, which will feature three first-year sides in 2021 and is still in its early stages of development.
"We play TSLW because we want to play the best in the state week in, week out, and there'll be players that just turn around and say 'I'm not going to bother'," she said.
"It leaves no platform for them to play - you can't have AFLW players coming back to Tasmania and playing against regional teams - it's unfair on them and it's unfair on the regional teams.
"To expect someone like Hillwood as a first-year club to try and compete against a club that we've built over a long period of time ... are we going to end up forcing players out of the regional?
"Because if I was a first-year player and you knew you were playing Launceston and it featured four AFLW players, you're going to say 'no, I don't think this is for me' and there needs to be that space."
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AFL TAS FUNDING 'NOT ENOUGH'
Funding has been a widespread problem for TSLW clubs.
After resigning as North Launceston coach last month, Dean Smith said he had been unhappy to see his players being asked to lead fundraising for their own football program in 2021.
Smith also spearheaded a push to get TSLW games filmed in 2020 - footage from three games was eventually captured - while Launceston sent its own clips of draft hopefuls to AFLW clubs, who were unable to attend TSLW games this year due to border restrictions.
TSLW clubs received just $5000 of funding from AFL Tasmania and both Dickson and Smith believe the competition and its players could be better supported.
"We all know that's not enough - it takes $30,000 to run the female program at a bare minimum, so clubs are being expected to front up around $25,000 which is a lot of money," Dickson said.
"But if the TSLW is gone there's at least $25,000 sitting there - why aren't we trying to find a beneficiary or somebody that can fund an elite program for female footballers here in Tasmania?
"Why aren't we pushing to form a VFL side and send us to Melbourne where we can consistently train and play against the top female athletes and give these girls a pathway?
"There's still so much potential and talented players and with more regional teams coming, that's only going to give us more players to develop and we don't know who's out there that could potentially be at AFLW level.
"By getting rid of the TSLW we're never going to find them."
Dickson said rep games and state training squads - ideas which have been floated as pathway options for 2021 - were inadequate.
"It needs to be more than a state final or a squad that trains and people scoot off to the mainland every now and again to play VFL - it needs to be better than that and I know the other TSLW players around would be thinking the same thing.
'We can't wait all year for a state final to finally play a high pressure game - it'll destroy us and there'll just be players that decide not to play and that's sad because we all love to play the game and compete."
In the meantime, Launceston has begun its pre-season training under new coach Alex Wadley.
Dickson will stay with the group until Christmas before embarking on a four-month reconnaissance trip to Melbourne, where she hopes to join up with a VFL side in a coaching capacity and "sponge" off a high performance environment.
The 100-gamer said the mood among the Blues playing group remained hopeful but realistic, and praised the efforts of president Sandra Boland to find the team a home for 2021.
"At the moment we don't have a competition to play in,' Dickson said.
"As a club we're staying united and training together and we hold hope that we'll have somewhere, but at this stage we're training knowing there's a chance we won't have a league to play in.
"Right now we'll never get the TSLW back, that's it."