Does weather play a role in finals?

Every game from now is a knock-out final.

Players playing. Coaches coaching. And a gazillion support staff chipping in to control the controllables.

Though no one can control the weather.


But like the idea that “there is no such thing as inappropriate weather; only inappropriate clothing,” even the weather can be planned for.


A triple banger low pressure system is flooding its way across south eastern Australia presently.

Total forecast rainfall for 13-16 September

Total forecast rainfall for 13-16 September (click to enlarge) Source:


What role will this have on the finals this weekend?
Or on preparations for the games? On selection?
Hawthorn v Western Bulldogs in Melbourne Friday night.
Sydney v Adelaide in Sydney on Saturday night.

What role has weather (wet, dry, hot, cold, windy, still) played in previous finals? Or on footy generally?




  1. From memory the wet weather might have done Fitzroy a favour in the 1986 Elimination Final.

    In other news, I’ve had a look at historical rainfall figures for Moorabbin, and they reveal that the Saints’ old home ground often bears the brunt of heavier downpours than surrounding areas. So, those claims of “an overnight downpour” being a 1980s euphemism for “the ground staff watered the centre square to stop the Saints from being thrashed by a more skilful side” might not hold as much water (pardon the pun) as some people might have thought!

  2. I don’t have anything to back up this idea – but I’ve always felt September to be a windy time in south eastern Australia.
    Gusty, chaotic winds in Melbourne.
    They can play havoc with a tall forward line – or with kicking for goal.
    Freo v Hawthorn had problems, I think, going long and skew-wiff. Whereas the Hawks chipped short and held possession in the swirling wind.

    A successful winter game plan (high and long into the forward line) can definitely be brought undone in September.

  3. Someone may have time to find some info but to support your point ER the 1944 GF was played at Junction St in very windy conditions. A hot northerly. From memory 1987 GF was a hot day (windy too?) – some Carlton type will remember it.

  4. I’ve got a couple of examples to back you up, ER. In 1999 the Bulldogs went into their QF against West Coast as red-hot favourites but the warm and very windy conditions played havoc with the Bulldogs game plan. The normally very skilful Doggies butchered the ball all night (with Steve Kolyniuk a notable exception – he was precise throughout) and the Eagles pipped us by a few points. Sitting in the top row of the old uncovered stand at the Punt Road end, getting battered about by those winds just made me curse them all the more. The loss consigned us to an away SF against Brisbane the next week and we succumbed to the Lions on the night Lynchy sent us off with his infamous choking gesture.

    Nine years later at the same venue, on another warm and windy Friday night, Buddy Franklin gave us a football lesson, kicking eight goals to set the Hawks on the path of the 2008 flag.

    Last Thursday evening was again warm and windy and with the memories of 1999 and 2008 triggered, I suddenly felt very glad that we were taking on the Eagles in Perth rather than at the ‘G. Needless to say, my gladness increased exponentially as the night wore on!

  5. A quick scout around and it seems that for Melbourne, the mean 3pm wind speed is higher in September than in any other month.
    chart of mean 3pm wind speed by month

  6. Earl O'Neill says

    The weather is a factor in every game that isn’t played at the Terrordome.

  7. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Expect a late change for Adelaide on Saturday night then:

    In: P Vardy

  8. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    It’s fairly rare that finals are affected by severe weather. 1927 GF stands out Collingwood 2 – Richmond 1. Most of the ground under water apparently. As a kid I used to wonder why they didn’t show the last quarter of the 1968 GF on the footy marathon. Swirling wind made skills difficult to execute yet the margin was only 3 points and the Bombers lost even though they scored one more goal than Carlton. 1998 was a warm swirler as well when Adelaide got on top of North.
    The best was 1958 of course when the 100 to 1 outsiders lead by ‘The Weed’ protected their 4-in-a-row against Melbourne in the rain and the mud.

  9. Yes, the weather plays a part in the game. It determines the style of play that is going to be most productive. And the side that adapts to it the best – all things being equal – should come out the winner.

    But why are we having this discussion? It’s like debating whether or not we have a plebiscite about something that in reality is a fact of life.

    But I digress, where Neil Balme KO’ed Geoff Southby in the 1973 GF final it had a profound effect on the outcome, but for the life of me I can’t remember if it was a hot northerly blowing, or a blustery south westerly.

  10. Bugger the finals. I have just seen pictures of the Merri Creek flooding its banks. Is the Fitzroy Town Hall in any danger for the Almanac Lunch?
    Hope Dips and Mr Wrap are organised a sandbag brigade of Almanackers to protect a precious cultural landmark.

  11. I wasn’t born then but the ‘G’ must have been sodden in 1960. The Dees held the Pies to 2-2-14,not a wining score .

    i can only surmise it might have been the wettest grand final in VFL history. Since the establishment of the AFL would 2009 been the wettest grand final ? Certainly the wettest i can remember in along time .


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