SANFL chief executive Jake Parkinson at the Adelaide Oval. Picture: Matt Loxton
SANFL chief executive Jake Parkinson at the Adelaide Oval. Picture: Matt Loxton

Ricciuto: North Adelaide flag would be ever tainted

AUSTRALIAN football Hall of Famer Mark Ricciuto says the SANFL has failed to make the tough but correct decision to stop North Adelaide from playing in this weekend's grand final.

Ricciuto led a chorus of discontent after the SANFL tribunal's hearing and retired Supreme Court judge's ruling on Monday night to allow the Roosters to progress to Sunday's grand final against Norwood.

This was despite confirming the Roosters had 19 players on the field for the first three minutes and 39 seconds of Sunday's preliminary final against the Eagles.

North Adelaide won by five points.

Instead North was fined $10,000 and docked four premiership points for next season.

"It's an interesting one, a tough one, and you've got to make the tough calls and I don't reckon they did on this occasion," Ricciuto said on Triple M on Tuesday morning.

Eagles Club chief executive Luke Powell arrives at the club on Tuesday. Picture: Mike Burton/AAP
Eagles Club chief executive Luke Powell arrives at the club on Tuesday. Picture: Mike Burton/AAP

He also said if North beats Norwood to win the premiership on the weekend it would be forever tainted.

"They would always have an asterisk next to it - it would be remembered as the premiership they perhaps shouldn't have won, if they win," Ricciuto said.

"It's not right and I feel sorry for the North players because it was an unbelievable comeback, but unfortunately they made a big mistake.

Australian, South Australian and Woodville cricketer Chadd Sayers took to Twitter to protest the decision.

"Weak decision by @SANFL. Extra man definitely impacted the game. Feel for WWTFC Eagles. Where does 10k go? Should pay for the eagles mad Monday!"

North Adelaide coach Josh Carr and the Roosters delegation leave the tribunal hearing. Picture: Matt Loxton
North Adelaide coach Josh Carr and the Roosters delegation leave the tribunal hearing. Picture: Matt Loxton

Former Melbourne and Essendon greats Garry Lyon and Matthew Lloyd believed the right decision was to either replay the game or strip North Adelaide of the victory.

"I think it's an overturn," Lyon told SEN.

"This is the point, the rule says that the score gets taken away from the amount of time that player is on the ground.

"What if they're kicking into a breeze and they put on a 19th man just so he can sit in the hole?"

Other media identities including the ABC's Julian Schiller and Fox Sports' Tom Chadwick questioned the ruling on Twitter.

Chadwick described it as "100 per cent the wrong decision" while Schiller said it was strange.

"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," Schiller Tweeted.

North Adelaide defender and former captain Mitch Clisby tweeted something far more succinct on Tuesday morning: "Bring on the big dance."

SANFL chief executive Jake Parkinson told Triple M it was not an easy decision but said North Adelaide had made an "honest mistake".

"(The finding) was that North Adelaide was grossly negligent and they haven't walked away from yes, they fielded 19 men on the field for three minutess and 39 seconds," Parkinson said.

"It was an honest mistake, they madly ran around trying to work out what was going on.

"The wonderful thing about footy is it's played by people and people make mistakes, and that's what's happened."

Crows captain Taylor Walker said it was a big ask for a captain to call for a head count in the heat of the moment, particularly in a big final.

"My understanding of the rule is the captain or coach must pick it up or ask for the headcount at the time of the event," Walker said on Triple M.

"It would be tough, very tough.

"You know what would be a good idea, in the first five minutes after it happened, you'd have a five to 10 minute buffer to work it out where the opposition team could then ask for the count.

"For five to 10 minutes you've got that time to ask for the count rather than at that particular time."

reece.homfray@news.com.au