It was easy to read between the lines with the Colin Carter report into an AFL team for Tasmania: it seems certain that the only way it'll happen is if a Victorian club partially or fully relocates here.
The report spoke of how Tasmania would not survive the on-field failures seen by the Gold Coast Suns and GWS in their early years, that predicted membership figures would be relatively low and significant infrastructure investment would be needed. Failures on the field would manifest into poor player retention and dwindling interest - ultimately, a loss-making exercise.
Carter tried to paint a positive picture though. He believed all of the hurdles could be overcome if there was will from the AFL community. But a 19th team? That seemed a stretch that could only occur if a 20th team came along too. Highly unlikely for years.
Tasmania would need to hit the ground running to be a success, like West Coast Eagles, Adelaide and Port Adelaide who were competitive when entering the VFL/AFL. That's much more difficult in 2021. Even the Sydney Swans endured years of hidings after South Melbourne relocated, only to emerge as one of the AFL's success stories.
To achieve this success, Carter made clear that a ready-made AFL club - with experienced players and a membership base - would be critical for Tasmania. The best way to get there would be to reach a deal with an ailing Victorian club, and he urged those clubs looking grimly into the future to have an open mind.
None were named, but any AFL observer knows which clubs are facing the worst prospects. They could play home games in Tasmania, but wear their old colours for matches on the mainland. Would that model work in practice and be backed by fans?
AFL observers would recall the long, bitter battles endured by various clubs - unsuccessfully for South Melbourne and Fitzroy fans, successfully for Hawthorn and Melbourne fans - to prevent relocations and mergers. It's the last thing the AFL wants.
Carter's report raised more questions than answers, but if there's one positive, it's that Gillon McLachlan seems genuine in his commitment to Tasmania.
It could be his lasting legacy.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.