Explained: Unique A-Leagues first as substituted player returns to action in Reds’ draw with Roar

Adelaide United goalkeeper Annalee Grove made a string of impressive saves to ensure her side came away from Suncorp Stadium with a point in a 1-1 draw with Brisbane Roar on Sunday evening.

The Reds did take a 1-0 lead early in the game with Mariah Lee converting from a slender angle, before Mia Corbin’s 38th-minute equaliser breaking Brisbane’s four-year wait for a Liberty A-League goal at Suncorp Stadium.

The special moment might have launched the Roar toward an important win at home if not for the excellent form of Grove in goal for the Reds whose repeat saves kept Adelaide on level terms until full-time.

Lee bagged the opener after breezing past Roar defender Jenna McCormick to go one-on-one with Jordan Silkowitz in Brisbane’s goal; Lee skipped past Silkowitz and narrowed her angle to score, but squeezed the ball home from the tightest of angles.

Then came Corbin’s equaliser on 38 minutes, brushed home at the back post after an exquisite cross from Leah Scarpelli whipped off the right wing.

Grove denied Sharn Freier on two occasions in the first half, and she continued to show a safe pair of hands after the break.

The Reds custodian pushed Hollie Palmer’s shot away from the bottom-left corner soon after half-time, and less than 10 minutes later stuck out a strong left left to keep Freier’s close-range attempt in a one-on-one off target, reacting to quell Palmer from the rebound and keep Adelaide on level terms.

Just beyond the 70-minute mark it was Silkowitz’s turn to come up with an important save, collecting Rosetta Taylor’s close-range attempt flicked off a cross from out wide.

Lee continued to threaten down the other end for the Reds but couldn’t add a second goal to her all-round attacking performance.

The 1-1 draw kept Brisbane in touching distance of the top four, with an eight-point total after six games two shy of Victory in fourth spot. For Adelaide, it’s just a second point earned this season – but one that lifts Adrian Stenta’s side off the bottom of the table.

Explained: Bizarre substitution in Adelaide v Brisbane – it’s an A-Leagues first

For the first time in A-Leagues history, a “concussion substitution” was used to bring a player previously substituted back onto the field of play at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday night.

Alana Jancevski started Adelaide’s clash with Brisbane and was withdrawn for Emily Condon in the 80th minute. Reds head coach Adrian Stenta made a further two changes to clear his bench of fresh outfield players, with Chrissy Panagaris one of the players brought off the bench inside the last 10 minutes of regular time.

Panagaris suffered a hefty head knock in a collision nearing the final whistle and as a result was substituted back out of the game.

But with Stenta having already exhausted his four outfield substitutes, and only goalkeeper Claudia Jenkins remaining as an unused substitute on the bench, Adelaide enacted a principle of Football Australia’ concussion protocol that has not been utilised in the A-Leagues since the establishment of the protocol initially as a trial run 2021.

Football Australia’s principles read as follows, with the third principles enacted by Adelaide against the Roar on Sunday:


  • Each team is permitted to use a maximum of one “concussion substitute” in a match.
  • A “concussion substitution” may be made regardless of the number of substitutes already used.
  • In competitions in which the number of named substitutes is the same as the maximum number of “normal” substitutes that can be used, the “concussion substitute” can be a player who has previously been substituted and who may be used at any time, regardless of the number of substitutes already used.

In the Liberty A-League, the number of named substitutes (five) matches the maximum number of “normal” substitutes that can be used (five).

The procedure and opportunities to enact concussion protocols can be read below.


  • The substitution procedure operates in accordance with Law 3 – The Players (except as outlined otherwise below).
  • A “concussion substitution” may be made:
    – immediately after a concussion occurs or is suspected;
    – after an on-field assessment, and/or after an off-field assessment; or
    – at any other time when a concussion occurs or is suspected (including when a player has previously been assessed and has returned to the field of play).
  • If a team decides to make a “concussion substitution”, the referee/fourth official is informed, ideally by using a substitution card/form of a different colour.
  • The injured player is not permitted to take any further part in the match (including kicks from the penalty mark) and should, where possible, be accompanied to the changing room and/or a medical facility.

Substitution opportunities

  • Making a “concussion substitution” is separate from any limit on the number of “normal” substitution opportunities.
  • However, if a team makes a “normal” substitution at the same time as a “concussion substitution”, this will count as one of its “normal” substitution opportunities.
  • Once a team has used all its “normal” substitution opportunities, it cannot use a “concussion substitution” opportunity to make a “normal” substitution.

Read more about the International Football Association Board’s (IFAB) concussion protocols here

Jancevski coming back on the pitch as a concussion substitute.