Lightning delay suspends play in Easter Monday clash between Geelong and Hawthorn at MCG

Aaron Kirby
The Nightly
Play was delayed for more than half an hour.
Play was delayed for more than half an hour. Credit: Dylan Burns/AFL Photos

Lightning delayed the Easter Monday clash between Geelong and Hawthorn for more than half an hour, with players sent to the changerooms amid severe weather conditions at the MCG.

Thunderous rain struck the home of football during the third quarter of the final clash of round three, but as the teams lined up to begin the final term, the umpires informed the players that the match had been suspended.

The sides were returned to their dressing rooms for a mandatory 20-minute pause as lightning crackled around Melbourne and the MCG.

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“Severe weather is approaching the MCG,” the stadium’s scoreboard read. “Please seek shelter immediately”.

Players leave the arena.
Players leave the arena. Credit: Michael Willson/AFL Photos

The lightning dissipated during the break and the game restarted 46 minutes after players left the field of play as Geelong completed a 36-point win.

Two footy fans took advantage of the break in play to jump onto the ground, security slow in tracking them down.

If play had been delayed for more than an hour, the game would have been abandoned and leaders Geelong awarded the four premiership points.

The stoppage evoked memories of a 2021 game at Optus Stadium between West Coast and Melbourne, where play in the final quarter was halted for almost half an hour due to lightning in the area.

Earlier in the day, the Easter staple Stawell Gift running race was struck by similarly wild conditions that forced the feature event to be postponed for more than two hours.

The Cats were 36 points ahead when the teams left the park after a dominant third term undid the brilliant second-quarter comeback from the Hawks.

The match is also a celebration for Geelong stalwart Tom Hawkins, who is playing his 350th AFL match.

He had three majors before the delay.

Thousands of die hard fans remained at the MCG as play resumed, Hawthorn making a fast start to turn the last quarter into a contest.

However, it was not enough as Geelong ran out winners by six goals.

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