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.
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.”
— FOX FOOTY LIVE (@FOXFootyLive) September 17, 2018
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.”
SANFL had to either award the game to Woodville or give green light to North Adelaide … to find North Adelaide negligent then sweep the problem into next season a massive cop out. Bring in the lawyers.
— Mark Stevens (@Stevo7AFL) September 17, 2018
— Adam Liaw (@adamliaw) September 17, 2018
I can only describe this as a gutless and abhorrent decision by the #SANFL. North Adelaide nor Woodville-West Torrens would not care less about the repercussions for next years fixture, they just want to play this weekend. https://t.co/EQ3ePz9HIO
— Lachie Kilby (@LachieKilby) September 17, 2018
The day SANFL lost it's credibility. Weak
— BrisbanePuntingCompany (@BrisbanePuntCo) September 17, 2018
What precedent does this decision set? Rooster's entire 2019 team punished for a mistake by the 2018 one? And why would the SANFL receive $10,000 for a mistake which in part was due to it's own officials? Surely that should go to the Eagles?? #SANFL.
— Julian Schiller (@Julesschiller) September 17, 2018
Literally every club would cop a $10,000 fine and 4 points the following season for a chance to play off in a grand final, completely and utterly gutless. #SANFL
— Laurence Bradley (@LaurenceBradley) September 17, 2018
#SANFL just killed off any of its remaining credility . The #injustice of proven preliminary final cheats being rewarded with a GF spot has damaged the brand beyond return. We wont be attending next year.
— Rob (@cycling4areason) September 17, 2018
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.