Australia

Fears over wild Grand Final weather

The Grand Final looks set to be a slippery affair with the Brisbane weather forecasts predicting the heavens to open before the first bounce.

A more alarming aspect of the forecasts however show the chance of thunderstorms which could potentially see the biggest game on the calendar either delayed or postponed.

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Under the AFL’s Extreme Weather Policy, if lightning is present within 10km of a ground, the match has to be stopped and all players have to head indoors.

The match will then only get back underway once the lightning has vanished from the 10km radius for more than 30 minutes.

“Under the lightning rule they can delay the match by up to an hour,” an AFL spokesperson said.

“It has happened before, but it’s very rare.”

A pre-season game in 2020 between West Coast and Essendon was postponed due to lightning. As was a game in 2014 between GWS and Sydney.

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“The (Gabba) ground looking spectacular this morning, we have just had a shower of rain come through,” Channel 7 reporter Bianca Stone said on Saturday morning.

“That’s the only thing people are keeping a very close eye on because the Bureau is predicting some rain and perhaps some storms.”

A warm and humid day is currently unfolding in Brisbane which will lead to dewy conditions at the Gabba when the Cats and Tigers lock horns.

The Bureau of Meteorology are forecasting a 70 per cent chance of showers throughout the game with lightning within the 10km radius sitting at around the 20 per cent mark.

Sky News Weather chief meteorologist Tom Saunders said it was looking increasingly likely that the AFL decider on Saturday night in Brisbane would be hit by storms.

“We’re expecting severe storms, squall lines with heavy falls, but also damaging winds and flash flooding,” Mr Saunders said.

“Some areas will see their heaviest rain in months, potentially we could see the heaviest rain since earlier this year for many parts of eastern Australia.”

Both sides are adept in the wet conditions, but Brisbane coach Chris Fagan says the rain falling plays into the hands of the Tigers.

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“We don’t often play in wet weather in AFL football,” Fagan said on Fox Footy’s AFL 360.

“We usually play at good venues, the grounds are quite dry and only sometimes we get a bit of wind. So it’s unusual.

“I think Geelong could adapt to some degree, but how well can they adapt? Whereas the Richmond style, in works in the wet very well for them.

“They (the Tigers) score a lot of goals from ground balls in their forward line – and if Geelong’s got a weakness in their defensive area of the ground, it’s when the ball hits the ground. They’re magnificent in the air, but scores against in general play and snaps, it’s not Geelong’s one-wood.

“It could well suit Richmond if the conditions become a bit slippery.”

Channel 7’s Tom Browne backed up the thoughts of Fagan and said if the rain falls as heavily as predicted then it suits the Tigers.

“I think the Tigers but it is only a tip because it’s got the hallmarks of a modern classic,” Browne said on Sunrise.

“It is interesting talking about the weather, the sun’s just popped out now and it is obviously wet here in Brisbane this morning, and that does suit the Tigers.”

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