Crio’s Question: Got any wild weather sports memories?


by Chris Riordan

As recounted in the “Soppy Saturday” review for this site, Flemington’s incredible hailstorm provoked widespread discussion on other awful conditions we’ve endured at the races.

Sports goers often recall extreme conditions as a badge of honour.

I’ll never forget the numbing rain and wind that seemed appropriate on the Doggies’ last day at the Western Oval.

Or melting around Metropolitan at the World Match Play in 2001 – too hot for a beer!

What extreme sports(watching) have you experienced?


  1. Andrew Starkie says

    Gday Chris,

    My girlfriend, Linda, wanted to get out of town for the weekend; Healesville, she suggested. Unfortunately, my scouring of the net found no available accommodation under a month’s wages. So, on Saturday morning, I nominated Ballarat. Coincidentally, the Roos were playing the Hawks at Eureka Oval. She could drop me off at the ground and pop off and do a few hours of shopping, coffee, sightseeing, whatever. Sure, she said. I think Linda rather relished the idea of an afternoon on her own.

    Anyway, we left Melbourne at 12.30pm under blue skies and a hot sun. My sister and her family, including an infant baby girl, were following behind. However, things grew dark and threatening pretty smartly. By Bacchus Marsh, the radio was forecasting floods, lightening, hail.

    At the Trentham turn-off, we were sucked into a blackhole. We were forced to pull over to the side of the road to allow Armageddon to pass. One bolt of lightening landed a bit too close to the passenger side window. ‘All this for a game of footy’, Linda said. We eventually made our way to Ballarat.

    After being caught in smashing hail for over 30 minutes, my sister turned back and thankfully made it back to Melbourne safely.

    I stood in the rain at Eureka and watched the Roos have a win while Linda hung out in the middle of town and paid $15 for a soggy foccacia.

    We headed home early evening a bit soggy, yet relieved.

    Things we do for footy.

  2. pauldaffey says

    I once went to the footy on King Island. There was magnificent sunshine, teeming rain and a wind that explained why the trees were all tilted at 45 degrees – and that was just in the second quarter.

    I reckon it’s a sad thing that we don’t associate AFL games with anything but perfect conditions any longer. In my spectating experience, the only game in recent years that was particularly affected by the weather was the 1999 state of origin game between Victoria and South Australia at the MCG. It poured all match. Brent Harvey got best on ground. What an inessential experience it was.

    Re- the telly, I’ll always remember the slosh at Arden Street when North played Hawthorn. Malcolm Blight was pushed in the back as he kicked for goal on the siren. His kick had gone through for a point. Scores were level.

    The ump gave him a free kick which he was to take after the siren. The behind was subtracted. Blighty slewed the free kick towards Moonee Ponds Creek. Out on the full. The Hawks won by a point.

    Great drama in the wet.

  3. Ian Syson says

    I was watching South Melbourne play Heidelberg at Bob Jane about 4 years ago. We were standing in the rain and it was raining so hard that my beer seemed to be full every time I went to drink it. That’s about as extreme as it gets for me.

  4. pauldaffey says


    Now if you were in the grandstand watching South Melbourne …

  5. Damian Watson says

    My only wet weather experience was watching the Carlton v Essendon match in 2004 (Round 19 from memory) in the first level of the Southern Stand and it was pouring with rain and hail at some stages, particularly in the first half, of course the ordeal was worth it as the Blues won.

  6. This is only a minor link to such a tradgedy, but on the morning to what was Black Saturday, I was playing cricket. Not least the smell of smoke but the forecast of low-40’s was enough to make anybody bat first, thankfully, we did but were also bowled out and had to field for an hour!!!
    For the record, the following week, the match ended as a tie.

  7. Yeah, that was an eerie morning Tom (and a pathetic batting display I must add!).
    Recalling hot days, do you remember that Test day at Adelaide when you chased Bracken up and down the pickets for an autograph in a furnace-like 40+ degrees…I think Dravid batted forever?

  8. I used to love bowling in 40-degree heat. I would always wear my sleeveless sweater. The batsmen thought I was nuts but I reckon it distracted them enough to put them off their batting.

    Following on from Daff’s comment (2) I’ll never forget Footscray and Essendon at the Western Oval in 1984. It rained incessantly for the entire match. Neither side scored a goal in the first half. Essendon broke away kicking with the tide in the third quarter and led 3.9 to 0.8 at the last change. From nowhere the Dogs kicked 3 in 3 minutes half-way through the last quarter and hit the front. But the fairy tale finish was ruined by Peter Bradbury, who kicked the only goal for the match at the Geelong Rd end with a couple of minutes left. The Bombers won 4.10(34) to 3.14(32) and went on to win the flag. We stood at the Barkly St end for the entire match. That’s a definite “badge of honour” story for me.

    A few years earlier our lunchtime footy match on the school oval was interrupted by a hailstorm. Every kid tried to seek shelter from the hail by hiding behind other kids. The result was a slow moving, seething mass of 15-year-old burgundy arms and grey legs edging its way across the oval towards the covered area.

  9. Tim Ivins says

    Tuesday 27 February 2007, I was playing Indoor Cricket in Canberra when a storm hit, nothing unusual there, it had been a noisy summer. I didn’t think anything of it, that was until the wicketkeeper complained about the pools of water at his feet. We slogged through the final over and headed home. As we crested the hill close to Civic the road was crunching as we drove over. I stuck my hand out and scooped up hail stones that were covering the road. We headed into town and assessed the damage from the supercell and it was like some post apocalyptic nightmare. Fire alarms were ringing, the streets were covered in a metre of ice, there was thick mist and Garema Place was literally underwater. The damage was intense, there were reports of birds killed midflight by hail and university was shut down for a week due to the damage. Worst of all though the next morning I received text messages and phone calls aplenty, it seemed that footage of me wading through ice in my track pants had made onto Sunrise. Oh the shame!

  10. Tim, in the interests of historical research, can we get a link to that footage?

  11. Stainless says

    1. Wind. Moorabbin, August 1981, St Kilda v Richmond. Straight down the ground, so strong that there were no goals at the South Rd end for the first three quarters. The Tigers were kicking that way in the last and turned at 3/4 time at about level pegging so it’s fair to say there wasn’t much optimism about their prospects. They somehow managed three goals in the last quarter including Paul Sarah’s post-siren matchwinner from 25 metres out – about the limit of anyone’s kicks into the wind that day.

    2. Dust. Moonee Valley, February 1983. A 43 degree day, the week before Ash Wednesday, was suddenly transformed by a cool change that stirred up tons of mallee dust and blew it across Melbourne. A race in progress at the Valley disappeared into complete darkness. Can’t remember the winner.

    3. Hail. There had to be a VFL Park story in answer to this question and for me it was June 1983, Richmond v Geelong. The hail/rain/sleet storm hit at about 3/4 time, turning the ground into a sheet of icy water. Scoring looked impossible which suited the Cats who were four goals ahead. Incredibly the Tigers rattled on four goals in 10 minutes to take the lead and then defended relentlessly for the next 20 minutes in which time neither side scored and we held on for a one point win. The carpark after the game looked much like Flemington on Saturday.

    4. Lightning. Adelaide v Richmond, May 1999. Another thunderstorm and this time an alarmingly dangerous one which put half the lights out at Football Park. Had the match been called off at that time (late 3rd quarter), Adelaide would have been awarded the game as they were leading at the time. But both sides agreed to carry on, perhaps unaware of the rules or the physical danger they were in. The Tigers rallied and went on to win.

    There seems to be a pattern forming here – wild weather, heroic Richmond victories?? Perhaps climate change and the predictions of more frequent “extreme weather events” will be our path to success!

  12. Vin Maskell says

    Stationed alone in the relative comfort of the Williamstown scoreboard for last year’s home game against Werribee, I thought the mighty westerly wind might just knock the elevated tin shed over. It didn’t, but on two occasions the numbers that I hung up blew clear off their hooks and jagged into the turf below. Fortunately what there was a crowd was safely ensconced at the other end of the ground in the grandstand.

    The Williamstown ground is wonderfully open to the elements. A few years back the ABC halted its coverage for fear of lightning striking the camera operator up in the crane at the scoreboard end.

    On occasions the rain is horizontal.You don’t get that inside the Docklands cavern.

  13. Peter Flynn says

    The Fitzroy v Carlton fog match played in August 1971. I have to declare I wasn’t there.

    4 VFL matches were postponed in Round 2 of the 1960 season due to wet weather. Bolte refused these games to be played on Anzac Day (2 days later). Also wasn’t there.

    Eddo knocking off Newk in the 1976 Aussie Open final. Furnace-like heat and a foul north wind gave way to a very blustery south-wester via an old-fashioned cool change that toppled the umpire’s chair.
    The wind accentuated Eddo’s already crazy out-of-control hairdo and may also have contributed to him dropping the trophy at the presentation.
    I was at Portarlington.

  14. I can remember watching a Showdown in torrential rain a few years ago at AAMI Stadium. We all knew it was going to rain and the clouds decided to open up just as both teams were making their way onto the ground. I was in my regular sit three rows undercover and while we occasionally get a bit of water on our knees when it rains, depending on the direction of the win, I got absolutely drenched on this particular Saturday night. I managed to last the whole game in a poncho, including consuming an ice cream at half time, crazy I know, and went home sporting the drenched footy fan look.

    The Crows’ NAB Cup final in 2008 offerres a totally different story. It was bloody hot. The game was scheduled to kick off early evening but with daylight savings in Adelaide still in effect the sun only set after the first quarter. Eight friends and I sweated out the uncomfortable spectating conditions early on and commiserated the Crows’ lost with a game of cricket outside the ground afterwards.

  15. It was a social cricket match. The clouds were gathering when a mate looked up at the sky like a wise old wizard, assessed the wind direction, took account of the prevailing cloud shapes, calculated the El Nino effect on the local environment, then triumphantly proclaimed “It will blow over.”

    What followed was a once in a hundred year storm that flooded the whole parkland.

  16. Dave Nadel says

    It was a wet day. It had rained overnight and in the morning. It was obviously going to rain again later in the afternoon. To quote the old Aussie folk song “The sky is looking black as flaming thunder.” Royal Park Reds were playing in either our first or second season in the North Suburban Cricket League – C Grade (matting). The previous week we had dismissed our opponents quite cheaply and had made quite a few runs before stumps. We only had to bat successfully for about an hour to win on the first innings.

    The independent umpire initially wouldn’t let the game start because of wet and slippery run ups. Alec, our fearless captain, who lived close by, went home to get a broom and some rags to dry the run ups. By then the umpire was saying that the light was too poor to play in, whatever we did with the run-ups. Alec drove back to the ground with his Volkswagen lights on high beam and then proceeded to argue passionately and at length that the light was good enough to play in. He didn’t even convince the rest of us, much less the umpires or the other team. Shortly afterward the rain resumed bucketing down and we all retired to Naughten’s Pub.

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