The first AFL grand final to be played outside of Melbourne looks set to be won in the wet after heavy rain hit Brisbane just hours out from Saturday’s Gabba decider.
And with the possibility of lightning later in the evening there is a chance the game could be delayed, in one final twist to a season like no other.
Up to 89 millimetres has fallen since 9am near the Gabba, sweeping through to soak the playing surface just as the Bureau of Meteorology delivered an official thunderstorm warning for a host of regions including Brisbane city.
The AFL’s first night final could be a blessing given the initial storms will have passed by the 7.30pm AEDT first bounce, however more rain is expected later in the evening.
If there is lightning within 10km of the ground, the game would be stopped in line with AFL protocols for up to an hour and players sent inside.
It would then resume if there was no lightning within 10km of the ground for 30 minutes.
Asked on Friday, Geelong coach Chris Scott has given up trying to predict Queensland’s weather.
The 44-year-old spent 14 seasons in Brisbane as a player and admits he never worked it out.
“They (Richmond) have got a bit of recent experience with slippery conditions over in Adelaide, but I’ve given up forecasting the weather,” Scott said.
“I’ve made too many mistakes year after year and it’s become a bit of an in-joke with our coaching team.
“My experience is it’s either going to rain all night or it will come and go really quickly and there won’t be much in between.
“We’ll think about it, obviously, but we’re not going to get confused by trying to forecast difficult-to-predict weather.”
Rain and slippery conditions would add another layer to Richmond coach Damien Hardwick’s theory that the grand final will be a tough, contested affair.
Richmond have won two of the last three flags and Geelong have played four preliminary finals in five years.
The Tigers won lead-up finals against the Cats in 2017 and 2019.
But the two clubs have not met in a grand final since Richmond won a thrilling VFL decider in 1967.
“We’re two pretty good sides who have been playing a great brand of footy for a long time and I’m looking forward to the challenge,” Hardwick said.
“They’ve been a yardstick, along with our football club, for a number of years and it’s about time we played off in a grand final.”
-BY AUSTRALIAN ASSOCIATED PRESS