Huge storm delays AFLW clash, sends broadcasters running for cover
A huge thunderstorm in Sydney saw a huge delay to the AFLW clash between Carlton and Greater Western Sydney, with the lightning threat and heavy rain sending broadcasters scurrying for cover.
Carlton edged GWS 3.12 (30) to 1.3 (9), but not until the weather gods had forced a half-hour lightning delay after the first quarter was wrapped up.
As thunder rumbled nearby, ABC Grandstand's broadcasters were forced to vacate their spot beneath a temporary marquee, while sideline reporter Amanda Shalala had to sacrifice the brolly in spite of the downpour.
"I've just had to put the umbrella away because if the players are going off, it's definitely not safe to be holding an umbrella as well," Shalala said on the broadcast.
The thunder crackled overhead, increasing noticeably, as fans headed for the fences to find cover.
In Grandstand's marquee, the commentators were getting hammered by the inclement weather.
Corbin Middlemas: "Our table is underwater here, Clinchy!"
Matt Clinch: "We're underneath this temporary marquee and we're taking on water like the Titanic."
Corbin Middlemas: "My books are completely soaked!"
As the rain came in sideways, the broadcast team was forced back into the media pavilion, in a congested space among TV crews and scorers.
"It's unusual, to say the least. We're at a room in the back of the grandstand where everybody's come in, now that the lightning has started to strike," Clinch said on air.
"The television, scorers, the umpires, everyone who is up on our balcony level [is in here]. I can't think of anything like this ever happening before.
"When you think of the amount of electrical stuff we have, with all the TV, radio, scorekeepers, [our technician] said we need to move from here because it's actually not safe, someone will electrocute themselves."
External Link: Corbin Middlemas tweets Back to the footy after a week of heated debate following hq intervention. Let’s see it how it looks; imminent thunderstorm won’t help.External Link: GWSGIANTS tweet What is it with @GWSGIANTS @aflwomens home games and rain! It’s coming down at Drummoyne – well done to all the fans who are here. At the end of the first quarter the Giants lead 1.0.6 to @CarltonFC 0.4.4External Link: aflwomens tweets Due to severe weather, the game has been delayed for the safety of everyone. Update to come.External Link: Matt Clinch tweets Unusual scenes at drummoyne oval as Carlton and GWS players leave the field with flashes of lightning at q-timeExternal Link: Georgina Hibberd tweets Ok. Diabolical storm, I’m drenched, but the players are back on. Let’s do thisExternal Link: GWSGIANTS tweet #AFLW: inside the rooms, a quick chat. This doesn’t happen often.External Link: Emma Race tweets This tweet was propheticExternal Link: GWSGIANTS tweet The suspense is killing me but both teams are back on the field doing a warm up.External Link: Matt Clinch tweets Well done to our tech Josh for keeping us on-air. @CorbinMiddlemas & I are very grateful
The wet field and close score for most of game didn't make it easy to evaluate whether the AFLW's changes aimed at easing congestion around the ball were fully effective, but AFL football operations manager Steve Hocking was happy.
"I thought tonight … was exceptional, what the two clubs delivered," Hocking said.
"If you have a look at that game tonight and those conditions, it was very clear the game was far more open and there was some great transfers of play.
"We didn't see a situation whereby the ball was only travelling 20 or 30 metres from one stoppage back to a congested area, it was actually getting out beyond those areas."
Stand-in Carlton coach Nick Rutley felt his team adjusted well to the directives.
"Obviously the goals and points column was a little bit skewiff, but I thought the way we moved the ball and set up behind the play had a bit more free-flowing style to the way we played our footy."