IT WAS billed as the coldest game of the season and the forecast delivered with snow falling in the match between Greater Western Sydney and Hawthorn in Canberra on Friday night.

The crowd roared as the snow began to fall at the end of the first quarter in remarkable scenes at UNSW Canberra Oval as the 'feels-like' temperature dipped well below zero.

HAWKS HAMMER GIANTS Full match coverage and stats

It is understood to be the first AFL game played in snow conditions but it didn't catch the locals off guard with some fans sporting ski goggles in the stands.

"I must admit when the snow came down the crowd went a bit wild," veteran Giant Heath Shaw told the Seven Network at half-time.

"That was a bit interesting ... it's obviously going to be a bit of a slog this game.

"(But) it's not too bad. (My) hands are a bit numb at the moment but I'll warm up and get back out there in the second half."

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson famously doesn't allow his players to wear long-sleeve jumpers and didn't lift the ban in Canberra.

Clarkson was comically wearing shorts at the first-quarter hurdle and then a t-shirt at full-time.

"The crowd got excited and I was wondering what the cheers were," Clarkson said after the match.

"It's amazing we have been playing this game for over 110 years and it is the first time it has been played in snow.

"It just happened to be the day that CJ (Changkuoth Jiath) played his first game. He was born in Sudan of all places.

"For CJ to play his first game in conditions like that is a very good story."