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IN THE end it was inevitable. The moment a head count was called early in the third quarter and Frankston was found to have 19 players on the field; the Dolphins’ fate was sealed, writes David O’Neill.

Under AFL Laws of the game - rule 5.5, that stipulates a team will have its score reduced to zero if found with an extra player on the field, the host’s were never realistically in the hunt for the four points in Round 14 the Peter Jackson VFL.

The Dolphins were 5.8 (38) when the drama unfolded, leaving the three goals and five behinds they managed after the incident as their final score.

The change sees the Roosters’ winning margin altered from three points to 41 points, a handy percentage boost for a side sitting just outside the top eight.

But with most in attendance – including both playing groups – unaware of such a rule, the absorbing contest was left to run its path. And what a contest it turned out to be.

Believing they were just 13 points down at three quarter time and kicking with the aid of a strong breeze, the Dolphins would have fancied their chances.

Two early goals had the home crowd roaring and a Dolphin’s win appeared assured.

But against the odds, the Roosters held firm and when North Melbourne listed-midfielder Taylor Garner kicked truly against the run of play, their lead was out to nine points.

Dolphins spearhead Michael Lourey responded with his second goal at the other end, but the Roosters clung on until the final siren sparked jubilant celebrations.

Tough on-baller Lachlan George booted three goals for the winners, including two from outside 50, while Chris Giampaolo finished with two.

Liam Anthony continued his strong form with 34 disposals, while Cameron Delaney (26) shone in defence, combining well with brother Luke to keep Lourey and co quiet.

The younger Delaney brother was instrumental in the final stanza, pulling down several contested marks to hold the Dolphins at bay.

VFL Academy member Nick Rippon was another to stand tall, amassing 10 final-quarter possessions to help drag his side over the line.

Usual suspect Myles Sewell was prolific early to finish with 24 disposals, while North Ballarat Rebels captain Matt Crouch – playing as the 23rd man – collected 23 in an impressive VFL debut.

Dolphins ruckman Russell Gabriel dominated the hit-outs and was well supported at ground level by Shane Hockey (23 disposals) and Luke Delahunty (18).

Sewell, who was acting captain for the Roosters yesterday, said he was happy to come away with the feeling of victory regardless of the score change.

"Even after the game we had no idea that their points would be wiped and we were just pleased to win such an important game," he said.

"I was alerted from our bench that there might be an issue and I asked the umpire for a head count."

"Obviously at the time it was a pretty big mometum shift, (Sewell kicked a goal from a resulting free kick)."

"We were really challanged in the final term so it was great for our group to be able to withstand that and win on our own merits."

Frankston 0.0 0.0 1.1 3.5 (23)
North Ballarat 3.4 3.5 8.10 9.10 (64)

Frankston: Lourey 2 Buchan Irving Giobbi Haretuku Calvert Cass
North Ballarat: George 3 Giampaolo 2 Sewell Garner Austin Rippon

Frankston: Cass Buchan Irving Kitchin Gabriel Giobbi
North Ballarat: Delaney Anthony Sewell George Delaney Jacobs