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AFL grand final weather has been everything from scorching to swamp-like. How will Brisbane compare?

Kate Doyle, Thursday October 22, 2020 - 12:37 EDT
ABC image
The Gabba lights will be shining on a balmy 2020 AFL grand final on Saturday night. - ABC

As the pre-bounce hush falls under the Gabba lights on Saturday night, the lucky 30,000 there to witness the culmination of the most bizarre season in living memory will feel the tension in the air. Literally. The humidity is forecast to be 70 per cent.

There has been plenty of speculation around potential storms over the past few days.

But the latest forecast suggests while storms are expected around south-east Queensland on Saturday, they are looking more likely to stay inland than to rumble through the city. Although the BOM is still not completely ruling it out.



Even without a storm, potential showers are on the forecast, notwithstanding the unprecedented late start, the temperature is still forecast to be 24 degrees Celsius at 7pm in Brisbane on Saturday night after earlier reaching a maximum of 29C.

That is a stark change from last year's grand final day maximum of 14.9C as measured at Melbourne's Olympic Park.

But 24C is well short of the hottest AFL grand final on record.

Going back over all the previous AFL and VFL grand final weather records back to 1898, yes the BOM keeps this, tells us that the hottest grand final on record was in 2015 when it got up to 31.3C.



Despite the heat, Hawthorn downed West Coast 107 to 61.

The coolest at grand final day on record was in 1958 when the maximum got up to just 11.3C and Collingwood beat Melbourne 82 to 64.

It got close in 2002, with a maximum of 11.9C but that didn't derail Brisbane from topping Collingwood 75 to 66 and securing the second win of their own treble.



The wettest grand final day was in 1927 when 16.3mm hit the gauge.

Not only was it the wettest, but the lowest scoring with Collingwood beating Richmond 25 to 13.

A "disappointing finish to season," as reported on the Monday, in The Argus newspaper.



"Worse weather conditions could not have been imagined, for rain early in the morning was followed by heavier rain soon after lunch, and it did not cease throughout the match," it reported.

The news report described the centre square as a "quagmire", even before the first bounce and there were reportedly deep pools on the outer wing where it was almost impossible to keep a footing.

"Some of the falls were amusing from the spectators' point of view, but they were exceedingly uncomfortable for the players, who were quickly wet through."



The 2016 match between the Suns and Swans, shows perhaps that not so very much has changed. There were only 97 marks in the match.

Wet finals

Wet finals may not make for the most impressive technical play but they certainly are a spectacle.

The AFL/VFL is not the only league to have had wet grand finals.

The SANFL 1979 grand final, where Port topped South 63 to 32 at West Lakes, was wet, cold and windy. Very windy.



So strong was the southerly wind that no goals were scored against it during the match.

Not to be left out, the WAFL also had a spectacular seventies decider in the rain.



In the 1978 WAFL grand final East Perth defeated Perth in an epic played in drenching conditions at Subiaco Oval.

This year

Laura Boekel, forecaster at the Bureau of Meteorology said that even though there would be storms around in Queensland on Saturday, they would be unlikely to affect the match.



"We're not forecasting storms even though there will be some in other parts of Queensland.

"It's very unlikely that we'll see any of those storms make their way from inland to the coast and affect the Gabba during game time," she said.

But there is a chance of showers. There is a bit of moisture around. If you are lucky enough to be going, bring a jacket — umbrellas are banned at the Gabba.

What is going to set this final apart is the humidity. The relative humidity is set to be 67 per cent or, for those who prefer the more meteorologically correct dew point, that is set to be 18C.

A dew point of 20 is considered to be muggy for Queenslanders who are used to it. So best of luck to the Melbourne teams on the field.

Who is set to benefit?



According to ABC sports analysist Cody Atkinson, in the wet, the number of tackles go up and getting clean ball becomes nearly impossible.

Instead of composed disposal, soccer forwards and knock-ons become the order of the day.

"Richmond, with their chaotic style focusing on keeping the ball moving at all costs, are more suited to the wet than the deliberate, more finessed game of Geelong.

"Geelong may get an upper hand in the clearances against Richmond, but the Cats strong marking game may be curtailed," he said.

We will have to wait and see how much rain does eventuate on Saturday night in Brisbane.


- ABC

© ABC 2020

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