1 June 2010

Griffin Gold

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[First filed: May 30, 2010 @ 12:32]

rollerderby photo
[Photo by Deye, more on his Flickr page]

The Surly Griffins took home the title of Canberra Roller Derby League’s Season Two winners after beating the Black n Blue Belles in front of a sell out 1000+ crowd on Saturday night.

Each with a victory already under their belts, both teams were hungry for the win. With the third bout of the series aptly themed ‘Mad Stax: Beyond the Hyperdome’ the scene was set for a fight, and the bout delivered; it was a battle to the end.

From the starting whistle both teams played a strategically defensive game. After Shaggle Frock won lead jammer status scoring 7 points for the Belles first up, jammers from both teams struggled to get through the pack and add to the tally.

Points came in small lots of 3’s and 4’s, with many jams resulting in either one or both jammers scoring nothing but bruises for their efforts, getting trapped in the pack or sent to the bin. Jammers were also left empty handed thanks to strategic lead jamming – most notably by Beck Wise and Shortstop for the Surlys, and Shaggle Frock and Cassatrophic for the Belles – shutting down the opposition’s point scoring opportunities.

Each jam was a pleasure to watch, tactical, and energetic. Shaggle and Dr Hell displayed warrior endurance as Black n Blue Belle jammers. Cassatrophic flew through the pack and around the track so low and fast you could hear her wheels screeching. Surlys’ Sue R Rat and Shortstop ducked and weaved, sneaking through the pack thanks to tiny gaps on the inside line, and the mighty Bambi von Smasher’s dream runs through the pack were a thing of jamming beauty.

Great multi-player blocking was everywhere. Belle E Up, Trixie Dynamic, McSmack sk8, and Aunty Aggro worked well together building intimidating walls of Belle booty blockers. Surly blockers Dee Nature, King Cam, Bambi, and Beck Wise paired up to build walls and can-opener opposing jammers and blockers alike. Griffins captain Ova Bearing pulled some awesome blocks, stopping Belle jammers in their tracks, and sending Ova to the bin more than a few times.

The best stack of the night happened four minutes into the second half. A super fast pack and excellent blocking saw Aunty Aggro and jammer Beck Wise tumble and slide out of control into the suicide line to the delighted roars of the crowd.

Scores were close throughout the match, with the half time board of 47 to 44 to the Surly Griffins. The Griffins kept and slowly increased their lead throughout the second half. The final whistle brought them a convincing 93 – 81 win.

Well done to the Canberra Roller Derby League, both teams and the hard working refs for a fantastic second season! Each bout is exciting and ferocious, and leaves us in the crowd wanting more!

Stay tuned for news on Season Three planned for Spring 2010…

Another view:

Who needs another hero when here in Canberra we have the hottest heroines on eight wheels?

Roller Derby has taken the capital by storm, because really, who can resist a bunch of bad-ass girls in fishnets and roller-skates giving it some serious attitude and knocking each other over? It’s so popular, in fact, that every time I’ve gone to buy tickets it’s been sold out and I’ve missed out. Yet there I was at the final bout of Season 2 in my borrowed “press cap” with a heart full of gratefulness, copping an eye-full of awesomeness. Roller Derby is the Best Sport Ever!

This bout was the decider, between the Surly Griffins and defending champions the Black’n’Blue Belles. Both teams had everything to play for, as bodies were laid on the line and one lucky guy in the suicide seats landed himself a lap-full of rollergirl. If I’m honest, I must confess that most of the time the rules of roller derby eluded me, but the spectacle is so great that I just don’t care! I’m here for the thrill of it, let the refs worry about the rest. When it’s Sue R Rat vs Fauna Cat, you can’t help but feel that there’s something primal afoot, and the rules be damned! Then the jam goes down nil-all but you know you got what you came for because (to quote Tina Turner again) what you get is what you see.

That said … I learned a lot.

This was a strongly tactical match with both teams playing hard and fast. Vice Captain of the Surly Griffins, Dee Nature, was overheard by your correspondent to exclaim “Textbook!!” to her teammates after one rock-solid jam. Honorable mentions must go to Jammers, Bambi vonSmasher of the Surly Griffins, sailing through the pack like she was the only one on the track; and Cassatrophic of the Black’n’Blue Belles, reminiscent of a one-girl blitzkrieg. After thirty manic minutes of “mad stax”, chaos and carnage, the Griffins were up by 3 at the half.

Round two, and the Griffins went from strength to strength as the Belles changed tack, edging back on the scoreboard with a series of short, low-scoring jams that didn’t give the Griffins a look-in. But the valiant Belles were just not strong enough for the well-oiled machine that was the Surly Griffins tonight. The Griffins played brilliantly, their teamwork and tactics, flawless, clinching the season decider with a twelve point win. The scoreboard read 93-81 as the Griffins took the shield to the roar of the crowd. Surly Griffins V.C, Dee Nature, touted the bout as “the most academic and athletic bout we’ve ever played” saying that “there were brains and brawn out there tonight and I’m so impressed with everyone! But victory is sweet.”

Canberra Roller Derby League Season 3 commences in September. And I, for one, plan to be there!

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personally I would have picked this image for the article 😉

the only complaint i had about the GF was the beer ran out at half time.

but what a grand battle and spectacle it was!!

dr hell is my fave roller 🙂

For a group of Derby Virgins, this was one hell of a night out!
The energy & enthusiasm of the crowd and the teams was awesome.
Bring on Season Three, there are so many more spectators to be converted to players now!

For derby nerds like me here’s a little more bout analysis:

In my opinion this win was influenced by two key factors. First, the Surlys took on board lessons learnt in previous bouts this season, and countered consistently impressive Black n Blue Belle offensive blocking by focusing Griffin blockers on protecting and assisting their jammers through the pack. Stand out Surly blockers in terms of jammer assistance and general support in the pack included King Cam, Amykazzee, Ova Bearing, Bambi von Smasher, and Sue R Rat.

Secondly, in clearly strategic game play, the Griffins rested key players throughout the bout by diversifying player roles. For example, the Surlys relied heavily on Sue R Rat as a jammer throughout the first half, who then mainly blocked during the second half. Conversely, star jammer Bambi von Smasher only jammed once during the first half and rather focused on blocker assists, but made many more jammer appearances in the final half. Mixing up player roles in this way meant that Belles were less able to predict Griffin line ups, and also meant that the Surlys had strong jammers in the wings ready to compete against perhaps more weary Belles.

This was a really great game with a huge number of stand out plays from both teams. I can’t wait to watch the League’s newly announced all star team – the Vice City Rollers – in action in Adelaide at the Great Southern Slam this June!

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