Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology

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Spring heat and dry conditions forecast this long weekend and football grand finals


Issued: 28 September 2023

Warm spring temperatures are forecast this weekend for both the AFL and NRL grand finals in Melbourne and Sydney, with the forecast expected to register among the top five warmest AFL grand finals ever and the NRL could see its warmest on record.

Bureau of Meteorology senior meteorologist Angus Hines said that Melbourne can expect warm and sunny conditions for the AFL Grand Final.

“We’re expecting clear skies this Saturday, with a maximum temperature into the high 20s for the opening bounce,” he said.

“We could see a few patches of cloud throughout the afternoon, but conditions are expected to be mostly bright and sunny.

“The clear conditions are due to a high-pressure system across Victoria this week, with winds turning north to north-westerly on Saturday and bringing the warmer weather.

“While not as warm, temperatures will be reaching the mid-20s tomorrow afternoon, and clear skies are forecast for the grand final parade and Victorian public holiday.”

Under the current forecast, this would be just the fifth AFL Grand Final played in Melbourne on a day reaching 26C or warmer:

31.3C in 2015 (West Coast v Hawthorn)
30.7C in 1987 (Carlton v Hawthorn)
29.8C in 1944 (Fitzroy v Richmond)
26.4C in 1919 (Collingwood v Richmond)

Conditions are expected to be considerably warmer than the last time Brisbane and Collingwood met in back-to-back grand finals in 2002 and 2003:

2002: Min. 9.7C, Max. 11.9C. Cold with showers, fresh winds and localised hail after the game
2003: Min. 5.9C, Max. 13.7C. Cold with showers and a few sunny breaks

On Sunday, the NRL decider at Sydney Olympic Park is also expected to be played in very warm conditions, but conditions will cool slightly for the game, given the night-time kick-off.

“Maximum temperatures are expected to reach the mid-30s in western Sydney on Sunday afternoon, as hot, gusty north-westerly winds flow into the Sydney basin," senior meteorologist Angus Hines said.

“By kick-off at 7.30pm AEST, temperatures are still expected to remain in the high 20s and decrease steadily throughout the game, though overhead conditions will remain mostly clear, with just a few patches of cloud.

“Earlier games, including the NRLW Grand Final, will be played during the peak heat of the day, with temperatures expected to nudge 35C.

“Those hot north-westerly airstreams are forecast to make way for a brief, cool southerly change early on Monday in time for the NSW public holiday, before a more significant cooler change is due to arrive mid next week.

If the current forecast maximum temperature of 35C on Sunday is reached, it would make this year the hottest NRL Grand Final day since observations began at Sydney Olympic Park. The temperature reached 34.7C on the day of the 2014 grand final between Canterbury-Bankstown and South Sydney.

This would be the first NRL Grand Final day since 2015 to surpass 30C, which was the last time Brisbane appeared in a grand final.

Penrith last appeared in a grand final on a day reaching just 19C in 2022.

This long weekend, stay up to date with game-day weather, latest forecasts and warnings by visiting or the BOM Weather app.