Torrential rain has sabotaged Friday night’s trans-Tasman clash at Suncorp Stadium, marking the first time a Test involving the Kangaroos has been postponed in Australia.
The signs were ominous that a Test involving Australia would be re-scheduled for the first time since 1948 when the women’s Jillaroos-Kiwi Ferns Test was called off at 1730.
Showers refused to ease and flooded sections of Suncorp Stadium forcing the hand of the NRL after consultation with stadium officials and the Nine Network, who were set to broadcast the match live.
NRL head of football Todd Greenberg admitted it was a “big call” to postpone the match until 1600 Sunday.
However, he believed it was the right one, not only for the players but also fans after showers over the past 24 hours in south-east Queensland had caused flash flooding, disrupted public transport and cut roads.
“It was a big call but primarily it is about player safety – clearly the conditions tonight weren’t safe for them,” Greenberg said.
“But equally as important to us is the fans – it’s gridlock in the city tonight, there’s issues with public transport so we made the decision.”
Greenberg said they left the call to reschedule the match until as late as possible after the threat of lightning eased.
“Lightning was a significant consideration but the way the field is now, full of water and hard to drain, it would have put players in a difficult position,” he said.
“It was a sensible decision.”
Greenberg said all players and coaches plus stadium officials and the Nine Network had supported the call.
Nine have brought the broadcast of their City-Country game at Wagga Wagga forward on Sunday in order to also televise the postponed Test.
“I have to congratulate Channel Nine,” he said.
“It’s an expensive exercise because we have to change plans.
“We are mindful of the impact…(but) we are in new territory for the game.”
Greenberg could only laugh when a New Zealand journalist told him that Kiwis were already complaining that the match should have been held across the ditch.
“Wow, I didn’t think of that consideration,” he smiled.
“But one thing I do know is that I can’t control the weather so I will leave it at that.”
It marked only the second time a Test involving Australia had been postponed, the previous being the fog-delayed third Ashes Test against Great Britain at Bradford in 1948.
It’s not the first time Suncorp has seen a game called off this year.
Brisbane Roar’s A-League match against Wellington at Suncorp Stadium was called off due to rain and a water-logged pitch on March 22.
The Jillaroos-Kiwi Ferns match will again be the curtain raiser on Sunday, held from 1400.
All tickets purchased for Friday night’s match will be valid for the rescheduled match.
Patrons unable to attend will be given a full refund.