AFL general manager of Gabba react after power outage on Friday night

A planned redevelopment of Brisbane’s aging Gabba Stadium could help prevent a third repeat of an embarrassing power outage during a major sporting event.

Play was halted with 12 minutes remaining in Friday’s AFL clash between the Brisbane Lions and Melbourne Demons after an underground cable failure left the teams and more than 30,000 fans in the dark.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: The lights go out at the Gabba in bizarre scenes.

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State-owned energy company Energex was able to restore power about half an hour later, and Brisbane was holding on to its second such incident in recent years.

Gabba general manager Mark Zundans, speaking to reporters at the venue on Saturday, commended the efforts of staff and emergency services, adding that a response had been made after a similar power outage forced the cancellation of a 2019 Big Bash League game.

“We tried everything last night to defuse the game, (it) was probably demonstrable that we got the game going again,” said the stadium manager.

The power goes out in the Gabba when a bullet in the light tower catches fire. Credit: Getty Images

The Queensland government plans to rebuild the gabba ahead of the 2032 Olympics and recently announced that the project’s estimated cost had increased to $2.7 billion in 2021 from $1 billion when it was announced.

A competitive bidding process for the conversion is expected in the second half of this year, with construction slated for the four years to 2030.

Mr Zundans said electrical infrastructure is one of many issues that could be addressed with an upgrade.

“There is no question that there is a lot of outdated infrastructure within the Gabba,” Mr Zundans said.

“This is probably an example of something that we can hopefully correct in the future.”

The crowd used their own lights when the Gabba went out. Credit: channel 7

Meanwhile, AFL general manager of competition management Laura Kane said the league would review its handling of the drama Friday night.

“It’s not the first time something has happened to us,” Kane told SEN.

“And to be honest, after a couple of years of COVID, we’re as flexible as ever and handling the situation quite well.

“So we’ll debrief, but I was really happy with how last night went.

“We see exceptional football, the competition is upon us and making sure we play to the end of every game has to be our priority for both the clubs and the fans at home.”

‘Unfair Advantage’

The AFL believe their emergency protocols were perfectly executed during the Gabba power outage, but Brisbane Lions coach Chris Fagan felt Melbourne had been given an unfair advantage.

The Lions’ 40-point lead was shrunk to 11 when competition resumed after a long delay on Friday night, with the Dems scoring five unanswered goals when the lights came back on.

“We were told to stay in the rooms and then found out Melbourne had been on the floor for about five minutes warming up,” Fagan told SEN on Saturday.

“That was a bit of an unfair advantage.”

AFL rules allow games to resume within an hour of being suspended.

The game was suspended for 38 minutes on Friday night – a break that Fagan believes was “way too long”.

“If a game can’t be resumed within 30 minutes, especially if it’s in the dying phase, the game should be over and the result stands,” Fagan said.

The ground was plunged into total darkness. Credit: channel 7

“It’s good that the AFL and the industry are discussing this.

“Hopefully that doesn’t happen very often, but we play football at night with lights on, so I suppose there’s always a chance.”

Melbourne threatened to snatch a notable win despite Fagan predicting the late run.

He warned his side that the Demons were throwing all precautions overboard and urged Brisbane to get their hands on the ball and slow the game down in the final minutes.

“They just played a small role and it was a little bit hard to stop,” Fagan said.

“Thank God we won because we deserved to win that night.

“We played particularly well until the game was stopped and kept them on the ropes at times.

“They looked quite tired, it was a really hot night in Brisbane and this half hour break gave them some renewed energy.

“It was probably to their advantage psychologically — they had nothing to lose.”

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James Brien

James Brien is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. James Brien joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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