The winner of South Australia’s Australian rules preliminary final had an extra man on the field during an incredible comeback victory.

The SANFL hierarchy were holding an emergency meeting on Sunday night about the rule breach, which could result in North Adelaide’s win against the Woodville-West Torrens Eagles being overturned.

North defeated the Eagles in Sunday’s preliminary final at Adelaide Oval by five points – but they kicked 1.2, a total of eight points, while having an extra player during a five-minute span in the last quarter.

The extra player was on field amid an extraordinary North comeback after they trailed by 47 points in the third quarter.

Eagles officials are understood to have complained to a reserve umpire and interchange stewards about North’s extra player, a breach that could be penalised by wiping their entire score.

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, which didn’t happen.

Eagles chiefs were seeking legal advice on Sunday night.


“SANFL can confirm … there were 19 North Adelaide players on the field at the commencement of the fourth quarter,” the league said in a statement.

“SANFL is currently considering this matter and will provide a further statement as soon as possible.”

Remarkably, it was the second extra-man furore in an Australian rules final on Sunday.

Earlier, the NEAFL grand final between Southport and Sydney Swans was stopped and a head count made early in the last quarter.

Southport, who were 60 points in front at the time, were found to have had 19 players on the field for a 20-second period when neither team scored.

NEAFL officials said in a statement the rule breach had “no material impact on the outcome of the game and the score should stand”.