St Kilda coach Alan Richardson insists he didn’t order his team to flout the AFL’s 6-6-6 rule in the dying seconds of their five-point loss to Fremantle on Sunday.
The Saints booted a late goal to close to within five points, but there was just eight seconds remaining on the clock for St Kilda to snatch the winner.
Under the AFL’s new starting positions rule, teams can’t have more than six players in the forward line.
But a seventh St Kilda player drifted forward just before the umpire went to do the final ball-up.
The umpires noticed the seventh player, and ordered him into his correct position before throwing up the ball.
Under the new rule, teams are given a warning before a free kick is paid, meaning the Saints had nothing to lose given they hadn’t received a warning earlier in the game.
Richardson said having seven players in the forward line was nothing more than an honest mistake.
“There was a period before that where Freo put a player back to try and protect their lead and our message to one of the defenders was to go down and play as a forward,” Richardson said.
“He just had a bit of a brain fade and stayed there really. He just missed the fact that you’ve got to reset at a centre bounce.”
When asked whether players could talk amongst themselves to try to flout the rule, Richardson replied: “You won’t get away with it.
“There’s an umpire and that’s his job is to look and make sure there’s six of us and six of the opposition at both ends.
“You’ll never get away with it. That was just a blue by us.”
The 11.5 (71) to 9.12 (66) loss was St Kilda’s first loss of the season.
The Saints will aim to bounce back in Sunday’s home clash with Hawthorn.