SANFL confident new ’19th man’ rules will prevent repeat of Roosters preliminary final debacle

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Posted

December 11, 2018 15:40:03

The SANFL will move its “19th man” rules closer to those of the AFL in a bid to ensure there is never a repeat of this year’s preliminary final debacle.

Key points:

  • North Adelaide won the SANFL preliminary final after having 19 players on the field for four minutes
  • The club went on to win the grand final after the SANFL Tribunal decided not to reverse the result
  • The SA Football Commission today changed the league’s rules to be more similar to those in the AFL, which focus on in-game penalties

North Adelaide won the preliminary final against Woodville-West Torrens after having 19 players on the field for about four minutes of the match and then went on to win the next weekend’s grand final.

The South Australian Football Commission today decided to add an extra league official at all games, who will account for all interchange players before each quarter starts.

Each team’s runner, captain and vice-captain will be able to call for a head count, rather than just the captain.

If one team has an extra player on the field, the opposition will be granted a 50-metre penalty and free kick — the same as in the AFL.

SANFL general manager of football Adam Kelly said a post-match review could also be called for.

He said he was confident the changes would stop any repeat of the rule breach.

“We know that with the measures that we’ve introduced today and particularly around the addition of the match-day official and the learnings we got through the preliminary final that we’ll be significantly reducing the likelihood that this will ever happen again,” Mr Kelly said.

The Roosters kicked a total of eight points while its extra player was on the field in the final quarter of the preliminary final, and went on to beat the Eagles by five points.

North Adelaide was fined $10,000 and docked four premiership points for next season the day after the game after Michael David QC, sitting as the SANFL Tribunal, found the Roosters were “grossly negligent” in having 19 players on the field.

Mr David said he found the laws regarding a team’s captain being forced to ask the umpires for a head count in this situation were “anachronistic”.

“That really doesn’t apply today and has been overtaken by technology because there is no doubt that there were 19 men on the field,” he said.

Under the SANFL’s old rules, it was up to the captain to demand a count of players once he noticed there were more than 18 players on the opposition team.

The team with too many players would have its score returned to zero.

Under the AFL’s rules, brought in in 2008, umpires monitor whether a team has too many players on the field, and the opposition is granted a 50-metre penalty and free kick if the other team does.

The AFL revised its laws after it was revealed Sydney had an extra man on the field for a short period during the crucial closing moments of a draw with North Melbourne.

Woodville-West Torrens chief executive Luke Powell applauded the SANFL for putting new rules in place to stop the issue happening again.

“If anything comes out of it, if it can stop it happening again, then I think it’s a win for everyone,” Mr Powell said.

The Eagles are still seeking compensation from the SANFL for not making it to the grand final.

Mr Powell said the issue was still with “legal representatives”.

“We just want to concentrate on season 2019 and look forward to what’s going to be a successful season for our football club,” he said.

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