Why was no penalty called?

Australian rules football is noted for the fact that there are few rules (there is no offside rule, for example) and as a result the game is fast moving with few interruptions, unlike the snooze-fest that is American football where in a game that lasts for over three hours, there is usually only about ten minutes of actual action.

But this minimalist attitude was tested when during a recent amateur game in Melbourne, a two-year old child wandered on to the field. Surely one of the sides should have been penalized for having an extra player?


  1. Owlmirror says

    “No! No! See, she iz categorized az course hazard! […] Like in dot krezy game vere dey hit stuff mit sticks!”

  2. efogoto says

    This reminded me of the 2002 World Series game 5 where the manager’s very young son Darren Baker, acting as a bat boy, ran to home plate in the middle of a play. He was picked up by JT Snow as he crossed the plate, scoring a run. Here’s the spot in the replay with a good view.

  3. photon says

    According to the rules of Australian football, the captain of one of the teams would have to “call for a count”, asking the umpires to stop play and count the players on the field. If the opposing team has more than 18 players on the field, they are penalised by having their score reset to zero and the team that called for the count gets a free kick close to the goal. If the team has the correct number of players, they get a free kick on goal, and if the umpire considers that the call was “without merit” (eg. was simply a delaying tactic) the captain who made the call may be penalised further (fines, suspension, etc.)

  4. Mano Singham says

    photon @#3,

    Thanks for that information. 18 players is a LOT! Given the fast-moving nature of the game, it seems unreasonable to expect a captain to keep track of the number of fast-moving opponents. Can they delegate to a non-player who could tell them if such an infraction occurs?

  5. Mano Singham says

    efogoto @#2,

    Thanks for that clip. Given how brutal the collisions can be at home plate, the little boy was lucky to be grabbed up by the player. In the comments to that link, one person said that this incident prompted the league to raise the minimum age of bat boys to 14, which seems like a good idea.

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