South Australian National Football League chief executive Jake Parkinson (centre) speaks to the media at Adelaide Oval on Tuesday. Picture: David Mariuz/AAP
South Australian National Football League chief executive Jake Parkinson (centre) speaks to the media at Adelaide Oval on Tuesday. Picture: David Mariuz/AAP

Ex-Crows star: 19th man decision is wrong and embarrassing

A DISASTER. A shambles. An embarrassment.

One mistake. Two mistakes. Three mistakes. Maybe more: and that's just the outcome of the 19th-man debacle from Sunday's preliminary final, let alone the action that caused all the controversy.

It may be the worst 48 hours in the SANFL'S 142-year history.

The 19th-man saga from Sunday's preliminary final between North Adelaide and Woodville-West Torrens will be a moment in time that will haunt the SANFL for many years - four minutes that will change history.

An unintentional error has become a national joke.

North Adelaide’s Aidan Tropiano, second from left, at the start of the final quarter of Sunday’s preliminary final. Picture: Sarah Reed
North Adelaide’s Aidan Tropiano, second from left, at the start of the final quarter of Sunday’s preliminary final. Picture: Sarah Reed

Mistake 1: North Adelaide fielded an extra man for four minutes, not 30 seconds as others have done before.

Sure a count was not called, but one wasn't needed. The world could see clearly the Roosters had 19 men on the field.

Mistake 2: The SANFL Commission chose to walk away from their responsibility and passed the buck to the tribunal despite the commission being the governing body appointed to manage and control the affairs of the SANFL. They failed.

Mistake 3: The verdict was a joke. Retired Supreme Court judge Michael David QC said: "To me a rematch would seem to be the most superficially appropriate penalty, but I have no power to do so and would have of course caused potential prejudice to the Norwood Football Club who are waiting to play the grand final."

North Adelaide coach Josh Carr at Adelaide Oval for the SANFL tribunal ruling on Monday. Picture: Matt Loxton
North Adelaide coach Josh Carr at Adelaide Oval for the SANFL tribunal ruling on Monday. Picture: Matt Loxton

North Adelaide was found to be grossly negligent and served with a $10 000 fine.

Oh, and a four-point penalty next year.

There's the embarrassment: an indiscretion in 2018, a penalty in 2019.

Many have been distracted from the initial game-day error by protocol, procedure, legalities.

What about what's right? What about laws of the game? What about spirit of the game? What about credibility of the competition?

Multiple mistakes are unacceptable. Inexcusable.

That's where we are today, five days from the grand final the game is in disarray, the competition divided and fans disillusioned.

I feel for Josh Carr and the North Adelaide Football Club and the predicament they are in but this is also about what is right for the Eagles and what is right for the future of the SANFL.

Lack of time is no excuse for an incorrect outcome. Fans are constantly asked to do the right thing, to follow the rules, to accept a code of conduct, to respect the game.

On behalf of the fans, it's time to practise what you preach.