The 2020 AFL Grand Final will be played at the Gabba. Picture: Michael Klein.
The 2020 AFL Grand Final will be played at the Gabba. Picture: Michael Klein.

Could Grand Final be cancelled? ‘Historic’ rain wreaks havoc

The AFL has faced many curveballs this season and the weather gods may have a final one up their sleeve.

Lightning could force a delay to tonight's Grand Final at the Gabba, with rain and the chance of thunderstorms predicted to lash Brisbane from this afternoon.

The AFL's National Extreme Weather policy states that if lightning strikes within 10km of the venue, play should be suspended and can only resume after 30 minutes of no electrical activity

"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."


The policy states that the starting time of a game can be delayed by an hour if lightning is predicted to strike within 10km of the venue at the first bounce.

While it is overcast in Brisbane as of Saturday lunchtime, it is still dry. But the prospect of rain is keeping officials on their toes, especially for logistics around the pre-match entertainment.

The BOM's latest advice for Brisbane states: "High (70%) chance of showers, most likely in the afternoon and evening. The chance of a thunderstorm in the afternoon and evening."

It is rare but not without precedent for wild weather to interrupt AFL games. As recently as this pre-season, a match between West Coast and Essendon in WA was halted for about 20 minutes due to storm activity before the game resumed.

The other curveball is extra time.

The AFL has this morning revealed the process for what happens if scores are tied at the end of the match.

There will be a six-minute break followed by two three-minute (plus time-on) halves.

If the game is still tied after the two halves, the process (without the break) will start again until there is a winner.

AFL CEO Gill McLachlan was adamant the game would go ahead.

"We will be discussing the plan shortly, lightning means playersbris come off. There are back-up generators, that's the kind of thing you need to make sure you have done the best you can," he said.


"I'm not worried about that. It's been such an effort by our clubs, our players. everyone is going to feel pretty relieved but also proud of what has been achieved by the industry this year.

"The storms are going to piss off, leave us a lone and we're going to have a great night.

"It has as much or more legitimacy than any premiership I have been involved in … to get there you've had to deal with much more than the on-field stuff.




The following procedure shall apply in the event of a draw at the end of ordinary time:

Six-minute break.

Additional Time period of two x three-minute halves (plus time on) will be played as required, until a result is determined.

1. Goal umpires confirm scores are identical;

2. There is a six minute break;

3. Teams change ends;

4. Three minutes of Additional Time shall be played, plus time-on;

5. At the end of the first Additional Time period, the siren will sound and teams will immediately change ends without a break;

6. The ball will be bounced (or thrown up) in the centre and a further three minutes of play (plus time-on) will commence;

7. At the conclusion of this period, the siren will sound and the team with the highest score is declared the winner;

8. If scores are still tied, steps three - eight are repeated until a result is determined.

Originally published as Could Grand Final be cancelled? 'Historic' rain wreaks havoc