Essendon knocked off the Cats on Saturday, but a simple mistake could have made it so different .
Just before the siren sounded to start the final quarter, Essendon defender Mark Baguley ran from half-forward to the interchange.
He had to get off the field because Essendon had 19 players on the field.
Geelong players were signalling to the umpires for a head count, but Baguley made it off before disaster struck.
If Essendon had been caught with 19 players on field at a lower level of the sport, they would have had their score wiped.
However this rule does not apply in the AFL.
AFL rules of the game read:
5.5.3 Players Exceeding Permitted Number
Where a Team has more than the permitted number of Players on the Playing Surface, the following shall apply:
(a) a field Umpire shall award a Free Kick to the captain or acting captain of the opposing Team, which shall be taken at the Centre Circle or where play was stopped, whichever is the greater penalty against the offending Team;
(b) a 50-Metre Penalty shall then be imposed from the position where the Free Kick was awarded; and
(c) the Team shall lose all points which it has scored in the Match up to the time of the count.
By Ben Madden