A Great Sporting Wrong Has Finally Been Righted

Andrew Cooling
3 min readMay 3, 2023

After years of waiting and campaigning, the moment has finally arrived. At long last, Tasmania has finally been granted its own team in the AFL and will take its rightful place in the national competition.

This is a momentous occasion, not just for the state’s footy community, but for Tasmania as a whole. The decision to grant Tasmania its own team finally sets right a great sporting wrong that has plagued Australian football for far too long. Today’s announcement brings an end to what has been a disgraceful snubbing of a heartland state and a black mark hovering over the league. It’s a salve for a decades-old wound that has persistently pained Tasmanian footy fans.

Tasmania has a rich football history and a truly passionate football community, yet for too long, it was shamefully overlooked and undervalued by the AFL. A state that has produced legends of the game such as Baldock, Hart, Hudson and Stewart, should never have been made to wait so long for a team to call their own.

Today marks the end of decades of frustration and uncertainty for Tasmanian football fans who have made numerous attempts to establish a team, only to find themselves with the door slammed in their face at every turn. For too many years, Tasmanians had been left feeling like the forgotten state in Australian football, unwanted and unloved.

As the AFL prioritized chasing the money by establishing teams in Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney, the game in a footy heartland was left on life support. It left Tasmanians feeling neglected and unimportant as if their contributions to the sport were insignificant. They sent us Hawthorn games and tried to move the Roos down here, but the response was loud and clear, only an authentically Tasmanian team, built from the ground up, would suffice. Anything less was just insulting.

I must admit that until recently, I never thought this day would come. The prospect of Tasmania being granted its own team always seemed like a distant dream, something that would never come to fruition. But today, that dream has become a reality, and I feel a sense of overwhelming joy and pride for my state and what this means for its football community.

To all those down the years, who have kept the flame of hope alive through the darkest of times, never giving up on the belief that Tasmania deserved a team of its own, I salute you. From passionate football fans to former players and community leaders, these individuals have campaigned, petitioned, and lobbied tirelessly for Tasmania’s rightful place in the national competition. Without their unwavering dedication and commitment, this momentous occasion would not have been possible. The Government of the day, in particular Peter Gutwein, who really kicked this bid into overdrive, deserves no shortage of credit for getting this over the line, but this is also the culmination of decades of work from a myriad of different people far too extensive to list here.

This is a moment that will be remembered for years to come. It’s a moment that will inspire a generation of young footballers, who can now dream of representing their state on the biggest stage in the country. The impact of this decision goes beyond just the sporting community. It sends a message that Tasmania is not to be forgotten or overlooked on the National stage. It recognizes the contributions that Tasmania has made to Australian football and acknowledges the passion and dedication of its football fans. Footy can now finally be whole.

The granting of a Tasmanian team in the AFL rights a great sporting wrong in this country. Tasmania’s absence from the league was a grave injustice and it is one that today has finally been corrected.

Bring on the Tasmania Devils.

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Andrew Cooling
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Sports Gamblor. Freelance Sports Writer and Commentator 🎙️ Cooling it Down on ABC Hobart, Monday's at 10am