Given the recent change in the weather, it is timely to remind the community that the 2020/21 TIO NTFL season abides by the National Extreme Weather Policy, which stipulates how incidents relating to lightning and storms are to be handled.
Only the umpires and/or match manager can decide to enact the National Extreme Weather Policy and subsequent AFLNT Rules & Regulations.
If you hear the siren sound five times in succession, then that indicates a stoppage in play on account of lightning.
All patrons are to leave the field or exposed areas to seek safe shelter.
Player and patron safety is the most important thing so please follow the directions given.
How an umpire or match manager determines whether there is a risk of lightning is stipulated in the national policy and works on a 30/30 safety guideline; whereby any lightning activity within 10 kilometres or less is deemed 'unsafe'. It's not an exact science but it's what the professionals recommend laypeople use (from observing the lightning to counting the seconds elapsed until the associated thunder is heard).
In conjunction with the AFLNT Rules & Regulations, which govern all our community competitions, rule 3.24 states how matches that have not commenced or that are incomplete will be decided.
In short, a game stopped or yet to start from its scheduled time has 30 minutes to restart/commence. If this is unable to happen for the start of the game or it’s before half time of a game, then this game is deemed a wash-out and be entered as a draw, when it's a regular-season (non-finals) game.
Any match that is stopped after half time and cannot recommence within the 30-minute window is deemed complete, and the scores will stand as is (from the point the game was stopped).
The same rule (3.24) applies to all incidents where there is a game delay as declared by the umpire or match manager; including extended breaks due to injury, storm events, or circumstances that might impact the lights/light towers required to run games.
AFLNT considers the safety of all player, officials, staff and patrons as its number one priority when making decisions relating to the weather.