Last weekend the Canberra Roller Derby League’s all-star travel team, the Vice City Rollers, competed in the first ever East Coast Smack Down, a regional comp hosted by Wollongong Illawarra Roller Derby (WIRD). This article covers a full 2 days of derby action so – just like a jam played to full term – it’ll need your attention for a full two minutes…
Set to fight it out over both days were our Vice City sweethearts, the slick Sydney Roller Derby League (SRDL) Assassins, home crowd favourites WIRD, fun-loving Newcastle Roller Derby League (NRDL), and the winsome and gracious Western Sydney Rollers (WSR).
Day 1 was a round robin, with every team playing every other team in 15 minute half bouts. Following a shaky first game with Sydney, Canberra came out fighting and won every other bout they played. So much derby action in one day produced an overwhelming number of highlights.
Emotions ran high as all teams bar Canberra had played each other before, and every team had something to prove. Sydney’s Assassins passed the star in an awesomely sneaky play against Canberra. Response to controversial ref calls saw ref Special K talking back to the crowd. Wollongong’s passionate team captain Janis Job’em bellowed at her blockers to get on the track in time for the next jam. Canberra’s Cassatrophic scored a massive 30 point jam against Western Sydney. And Terrace Trent Derby was ejected after getting a little too excited watching the last bout of the day.
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Each team had stand out plays. Opposing jammers struggled to break through Assassin walls. NRDL ran a dizzyingly fast pack, leaving the other team’s jammer in the dust. WIRD had great communication in the pack and multi-tasking jammers. Western Sydney Rollers were learning plays and translating them to the track at lightning speed. Canberra jammers were the fastest, and intimidated with their chase and manoeuvrability.
Day 1 saw Canberra with full time scores of 43 to Sydney’s 82; 170 to Western Sydney’s 13; 53 to 40 to Newcastle; and 76 to 6 to Wollongong (WIRD forfeited at half time due to injury).
Thanks to their smashing Day 1 result, Canberra had the pleasure of lining up on the track against the SRDL Assassins in the final full-length showdown for the title on Sunday afternoon.
Vice City jammer Shaggle Frock delivered a clean 4 points straight up, but the Assassins Ltl Whipit managed to triple that number in the second jam. Five jams into the first half saw Sydney with a 20 point lead and 3 Vice City vixens in the bin. It was an indication of things to come. Our jammers were faster, but Sydney blockers consistently worked as a team forming unbreakable walls supported by excellent pack communication.
Canberra played a defensive game, focused on slowing down Assassin jammers. Cassatrophic’s fast footwork saw her dancing all over the track trapping opposing jammers. Roulette Rouge sat down low and wide running interference. Our blockers worked hard, but penalties saw them frequently in the bin.
The Vice City jammer crew mostly collected points in lots of 3 or 4. Shortstop and Shaggle Frock were the biggest point earners, but points came too from Bambi von Smash’er, Dr Hell, Cassatrophic, and Roulette Rouge. In my favourite jam, Shortstop weaved impossibly through the pack thanks to flawless assists by Bambi. Ms Smash’er managed to push the Sydney wall away from the inside line just long enough for Shortie to fly by and rack up 9 points before being power blocked and overtaken by Assassin jammer-turned-blocker Great Bolz O’Fire. Fast thinking Shortstop called the jam off while still flat on her back, effectively locking Sydney out from any point scoring opportunities.
Sydney held their lead the whole game. In the last jam, with 26 seconds left on the clock and two Canberra blockers in the bin, Vice City put out their tiny-but-mighty girls for a bit of fun. Our girls fought for it until the very last refs whistle, but at full time the score board read 109 – 82 in favour of Sydney.
Smiles, congratulations and hugs abounded at full time. SRDL won the title and trophy this time round, but with so much derby talent in the Eastern Region they’ll have to stay on their toes if they want to take it home again next year!
The Vice City Rollers and Sydney Assassins will meet again at the Hordern Pavilion in Sydney on Saturday 9 October for Roller Wars. It’s sure to be a massive action packed bout not to be missed!