AFL world reacts to bizarre blackout scenes at the Gabba in Lions win

Lions and Demons players were forced to leave the ground in staggering scenes.

Blackout at the Gabba stadium as players leave and Max Gawn leaves the field.
The AFL world has been left stunned after the lights went off at the Gabba during the game between the Brisbane Lions and the Melbourne Demons. (Images: @NedsDylan3Votes/Getty Images)

The AFL world has reacted with shock and bewilderment after the Gabba was cast into darkness in the fourth quarter during the Lions' win over the Demons in Brisbane. The Lions were leading by 40 points with about 12 minutes remaining in the final term on Friday night when the lights went out and the players were forced to leave the field.

A lone bulb caught fire in a tower, which prompted the game to be put on hold as technicians attempted to fix the issue before the 60-minute cut off that would have handed Brisbane victory. Commentator James Brayshaw said: 'Oh no, oh no" as the stadium and fans watched on as the lights powered down.

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The lights have turned off at the 2032 Olympic venue before with the scenes reminiscent of the 2019 Big Bash League game between the Heat and the Sydney Thunder. That match was eventually abandoned after the third over.

In 1996, disgruntled fans lit fires on the surface and in the stands of Waverley Park when a blackout forced St Kilda and Essendon's clash to be completed a week later. Three years later, the MCG scoreboard caught fire.

There were contrasting scenes at the Gabba, though, as 30,047 cheery fans broke into song waiting for a resumption. Speaking on Fox Sports, AFL great Luke Hodge noted the huge power surge before the lights went out.

“The power’s on at the hotel across the street," he said. “There was a big bang and out everything went. The cost of electricity has gone up – have they paid the bill?”

Boundary reporter Abbey Holmes said on Seven that there was confusion within the ground. "We have absolutely no idea what’s going on," she said. “The torches from the iPhones here going on. There was another big bang about 10 seconds ago.”

Players wait on the field as the Gabba lights go out during the AFL.
Lions and Demons players wait on field as power goes out at The Gabba. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

During the debacle a sign on the big screen read: “The Gabba is investigating a technical issue that is impacting the venue’s power.” TV and radio staff at the ground were also left without power.

Fans did their best to light up the ground with their phones as most of the crowd stayed around during the 27 minute delay until the players were able to take to the field to warm-up as power came back on.

The AFL world was quick to make a few jokes at the scenes

Brisbane Lions defeat Demons at the Gabba

Earlier in the game, the Lions bounced back from their hiding against Port Adelaide in round 1, as they burst out of the gates with six first-quarter goals while Demons star Max Gawn left the game with a knee injury. The ruckman cut a devastated figure on the sideline and will wait on scans, hopeful of no long-term injury.

Steven May (calf) was ruled out of his injury return before the bounce and the Lions went in for the kill, Melbourne's second-quarter resistance blown apart with two early third-quarter goals that looked to have sealed a win for Chris Fagan's side.

The Lions were keen to make sure their upset win over the Demons in last year's semi-final was no "fluke", especially after their slack Adelaide Oval effort last Saturday.

Playing at half-forward, Dayne Zorko (22 touches, two goals, eight inside 50s, four tackles) showed how important he remains to Brisbane after missing round one, while Cam Rayner was electric in defence and Will Ashcroft (31 touches) a midfield jewel in his second AFL game.

"I love the will and the fight in our team," Demons coach Simon Goodwin said. "There's a lot to take out of that last 12 minutes ... but Brisbane beat us in a few areas that are really critical to the game."

with AAP

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