TORRENTIAL rain has caused the cancellation of the Brisbane Lions-St Kilda match in Mackay.
More than 200mm of rain has fallen in the region in the past two days as ex-Cyclone Winston struck, and a downpour at around 2pm forced the AFL's hand.
Surface water surrounded the boundary line and the cricket square in the middle of the ground was rock hard with a slippery film on its surface, causing concern for players and officials.
But one of the biggest worries was a relaid patch of grass not far from the centre square that was literally floating away under the deluge.
It simply wasn't safe.
Lions captain Tom Rockliff and St Kilda veteran Leigh Montagna – both AFLPA representatives – met at around 2.15pm local time to inspect the surface.
In consultation with the AFL, the game was cancelled.
Coach + Vice-Captain pre-game paddle #NABChallenge pic.twitter.com/ixnxtSd9y6— Brisbane Lions (@brisbanelions) March 6, 2016
"When we got here we wanted to play, we obviously haven't had a hitout, most of our senior boys," Rockliff said.
"But unfortunately the ground in a couple of areas was not real safe so common sense prevailed in the end.
"You wouldn't want to see someone do their knee or ankle on that, especially in the NAB Challenge.
"That's footy sometimes, that's north Queensland - I think the AFL (also) had the heat policy in place earlier on today."
"It came down to player safety," Lions football manager Matthew Francis said.
"Our players are hugely disappointed to not be able to put a spectacle on for the local community, but unfortunately the weather gods have overruled that."
Saints players walk from a sodden field in Mackay. Picture: AFL Media
Saints football manager Jamie Cox said the cancellation of the match was a real disappointment.
"There's been an enormous amount of work gone in locally and the facility is a ripper, but unfortunately the conditions didn't allow it. The ground is waterlogged and unsafe," Cox said.
"It's frustrating but no-one can control the elements."
The League has announced full refunds for fans who bought tickets for the clash.
With the match not being rescheduled, both teams now have just one NAB Challenge match remaining to prepare for round one.
The Lions face Greater Western Sydney next Sunday at Metricon Stadium, while the Saints take on Melbourne at Etihad Stadium.
"It puts a lot of eggs in that basket to make sure we get it right against Melbourne next week. It'll be under the roof, so slightly different conditions," Cox joked.
The AFL will not seek to reschedule the Lions/Saints match to another day or venue, with the remaining 9 NAB matches next week already set.— Patrick Keane (@AFL_PKeane) March 6, 2016