'It's cheating': Footy world erupts over 'gutless' extra-man decision

The SANFL tribunal has been absolutely slammed after allowing North Adelaide to play in the grand final despite their extra-man controversy.

On Monday night the tribunal found the most appropriate outcome would be to replay the game, but it doesn’t have the power to make such a ruling.

North Adelaide had an extra player on the field for almost four minutes in the final quarter in Sunday’s preliminary final against the Woodville-West Torrens Eagles.

North won by five points but admitted the extra-man mistake.

The Eagles protested to the SANFL, which referred the controversy to the league’s independent one-man tribunal, retired Supreme Court judge Michael David QC.

North Adelaide in action on Sunday. Image: Channel 7

After a five-hour hearing on Monday night, David said the most suitable outcome would be a re-match, but he didn’t have the power to make that ruling.

“To me, a re-match would seem to be the most appropriate penalty but I have no power to do so,” he said.

“I’m of the view that as this was not deliberate a reversal of the result is too savage a penalty.

“The matter should be dealt with by matter of fine and loss of premiership points for next year.

“Sadly, this is of little consolation to the Woodville-West Torrens Football Club.”

David fined North $10,000, the maximum amount under league rules, and also docked the club four premiership points – the equivalent of two wins – next season.

North will now play Norwood in Sunday’s grand final, but fans and experts are absolutely filthy.

Retired player Campbell Brown said North Adelaide should have lost their spot in the GF.

“The final margin was five-points and they scored seven (eight) points while there were 19-men so I would take it off of them,” Brown said on Channel 7’s Talking Footy.

“It’s a form of cheating if you’ve got 19-men running around and you’re kicking scores and you win by five points.”

Last Sunday, North kicked 1.2 – eight points in total – while they had the extra player on the field for three minutes and 39 seconds in the last quarter.

Eagles officials complained to a reserve umpire and interchange stewards about North’s extra player.

But under SANFL rules, only a captain or acting captain can ask an on-field umpire for a head count of players to officially determine an extra-man breach.

It’s understood North called the extra player off the field before the Eagles’ captain could ask a field umpire for a head count.

with AAP