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Roller Derby Blog | May 2014

Featured Skater - Team Australia's Susy Pow

30th May 2014

Derby Name
Susy Pow

Derby Number


Charm City Roller Girls


How did you get into derby and how long have you been playing?
I got into derby in 2009 because a friend had told me she'd decided to try a new sport. She thought I'd love it so I came along to an early session of Newcastle Roller Derby League. The league had been started a little less than 12mths beforehand but this was their first true Freshmeat intake. I bought skates immediately and haven't looked back.

Highlight of your derby career?
Up until recently, the highlight of my derby career was playing against Team USA at the first Blood & Thunder World Cup for Team Australia. That gleaming moment has been replaced by an experience at WFTDA D1 Playoffs that I am extremely proud of. I wasn't on the initial 14 skaters rostered to skate at Playoffs but was making the trip to support my teammates as a member of our Charter. The night before we were due to leave, a space became available on the team and I relished the opportunity.

During the D1 Playoffs, I managed to end in the top five jammers based on points across the entire tournament. It's a moment I cherish and drives me to work harder at every practice.

What is your personal derby goal?
I want to help my team get to the WFTDA Championships and persevere past Round 1 (it's a knockout tournament) and I want to be renowned for my unique skating ability among queens of the sport (Bloody Mary, Bonnie Thunders, Scald Eagle, etc)

Who is your Derby Idol?
I'm always excited to watch Fifi Nomenon skate. She is crazy and effective and a powerhouse both as a blocker and jammer.

What is the best piece of advice you could give and up and coming derby player?
It's hard work but you didn't sign up to swan around on your skates. You are worth the effort you're putting into this sport.

Thanks to James McDaniel Photography for allowing the use of the featured photo! For more from this photographer, click here.

Featured Skater - Team Australia's Beth Adder

23rd May 2014

As a part of our support of Team Australia, we will be featuring one of the team's skaters each Friday. This week we speak with Beth Adder from Sun State Roller Girls.

Derby Name
Beth Adder

Derby Number


Sun State Roller Girls


How did you get into derby and how long have you been playing?
I didn't know the sport existed until I saw the ad for the movie Whip It. Thinking I'd have no luck in finding a team at the time I googled to see if there was a league in my city, Cairns at the time, and thankfully found there was one that had recently formed! I joined that Sunday in March of 2010 as it was a fresh meat intake; I didn't even have to wait!

Highlight of your derby career?
It'd have to be making the national squad.

What is your personal derby goal?
I plan to stay involved with derby in whatever capacity for as long as possible. Whether it be skating for the national team or officiating or benching down the track I'd like to stay part of it.

Who is your Derby Idol?
There's many but if I had to pick one it would be Smarty Pants because she is clever! Smarty is also very talented and continues to work hard at improving her own skating which I admire greatly.

What is the best piece of advice you could give to an up and coming derby player?
Just keep skating. If you get knocked down get up again ...and skate. If you want to get better at skating - skate. If you ever get injured, recover, and then skate again.

Something interesting about you on a personal level?
I'm a Zoologist. I got first class honours and have a paper published on venom toxicology of the big no jellyfish.
I'm also into creative arts having been involved in drama and plays most of my life as well as playing piano (at a basic level).

A huge thanks to Roaringstorm Photography for use of this photo. For more photos by Roaringstorm, click here.


NCDC Wrap Up

20th May 2014

The coveted Golden Skate is the ultimate boon for the collection of rural roller derby teams dotted up the North Coast of NSW. For the last three years the trophy has resided with Lismore-based league, Northern Rivers Roller Derby (NRRD), whose formidable team Battlestars, have claimed the tournament title since North Coast Derby Coalition’s (NCDC) inception.

NCDC was originally formed in 2011 by five coastal leagues – Tweed Valley Rollers (TVR), The Bay Rollers (TBR), Clarence Valley Roller Derby (CVRD), Coffs Coast Derby (CCD) and the aforementioned NRRD, in an effort to increase bouting opportunities for the skaters through the sharing of league resources, venues, NSOs and Referees.

Now in its third year, NCDC has seen the addition of two more leagues – Port Macquarie Roller Derby League (PMRDL) and Armidale Roller Derby (ARD) – as well as the inclusion of two mixed-league men’s teams (TVR's Valley Vikings and the Southern collective the Bruise Brothers). In previous years, the annual competition between the leagues was run over a series of weekends spread throughout the year, with each league taking its turn to host in their hometown. This year, with additional teams to accommodate, the bouts have been condensed into a tournament style competition, run over two weekends in two rounds, culminating in a final for the two Division 1 winners on the last Sunday of Round 2.

The Bay Rollers’ Byron Sirens were a firm favourite to give the NCDC trophy a new home this year. Having already defeated Lismore’s new B-team – Supanovas – in Round 1 of the tournament in Port Macquarie back in April (which interestingly, was the first game that NRRD has lost in the tournament’s four year history), on the first day of Round 2, it seemed that this was finally the Byron girl’s year.  

The Bay Rollers were well placed to take out the tournament – as host league, they were playing on their home turf, the team was strong and most importantly, they were hungry for the win. The Sirens started off well, and right throughout the first half and into the second, the scores were neck and neck. It was a thrilling game for the spectators, the majority of whom were clearly on the side of the Sirens.

The reduction of penalty times from one minute to 30 seconds has certainly made Derby a more exciting spectator sport. Power jams no longer have the ‘power’ they once did. A couple of lucky power jams half way through is no longer a game changer for a team; where once a speedy jammer could potentially collect 40 points in a well-played power jam, she is now lucky to put 10 points on the board in the measly 30 seconds that her opponent is off track. It has made for both a fairer game to play and more enthralling one to watch, which the Sirens and Supanovas demonstrated perfectly in this final.

Sadly for the Byron supporters, the Sirens allowed the pressure of this close game get to them in the last 10 minutes. Despite their extraordinary team work and impressive jamming from experienced skaters such as Nitro and Pinky Bruiser, the team got flustered. Their defence crumbled in the final minutes, and the jamming skills of the super-athletic A-grade NRRD skater Nora the Explorer, pushed the Lismore girls ahead. The final score reflected the intense competitiveness and equality of these two teams – 109 to 139, but ultimately the golden skate was boomeranged back to Lismore.  

The Division 1 Final was not the only nail-biting game in the tournament. Perhaps the biggest surprise this year was the performance of long-time underdogs Tweed Valley Rollers’ Valley Vixens. The team placed third overall, winning all but one game in Round 2, and coming surprising close to winning the game they lost to NNRD in the Semi-finals (at halftime, the Vixens were leading with 75 to 55, and the final score was close with NRRD’s 175 to TVR’s 129). This year was the first to see a full roster of 14 for the Vixens, who have traditionally played with minimal numbers. Tweed’s defence was spot-on, as was their strong line-up of jammers such as the experienced Jac Nippleson and Monie Bones, and newcomers LC Hammer and Bom Zo‘Way. They completely blitzed their games against tournament virgins Armidale and Port Macquarie, in the latter game scoring 397 points to Port’s 35.

The Division 2 finals saw the Vixen’s face-off with counterparts Daughters of Mayhem from Coffs Coast. It was a fiery and aggressive game, with more than a little argy-bargy on and off-track. Although the teams played a close game in Day 1 of Round 2 (TVR 212 to CCRD 194), this game on day 2 saw the Vixens defeat Coffs in a total white-wash, which was somewhat disappointing to spectators, who were hoping for a close game like the day before.

As fun as it is to see old-foes play it out on track, it was a welcome sight to see the two brand new teams from Port Macquarie and Armidale tough it out in the Division 3 finals. Port’s Breakwall Brawlers looked collectively amazing: Their striking black and red tunics and full roster of fresh faces was an impressive sight. Though the team finished bottom of the ladder, their tenacity was admirable. Their jammers seemed overwhelmed a few times by the sheer amount of endurance required to get through a game, but having said that, they never threw in the towel. They were well-matched with Armidale’s High Rollers, who had the advantage of having a couple of experienced skaters from Queensland – Sweet Fanny Adams and D Block - on their team.

Armidale Roller Derby is a young league (coming up to two years), still being supplemented by skaters and NSOs from the Official Hot Sauce Committee (OHSC) - a travelling crew of officials and refs. The fledgling league has to be admired for their commitment to getting themselves off the ground. They regularly travel between Armidale and Ipswich (where the majority of the OHSC are based) to train and gain scrimmage experience.

One team that is clocking up serious scrimmage and bouting experience in the last few months is TVR's Valley Vikings. These guys seem to be everywhere at the moment, travelling far and wide to gain track time for their skaters. This weekend saw them face off against the Bruise Brothers, a collective of male skaters from the Coffs, Armidale and Port Macquarie leagues. This game was hairy - in more than one way. Watching a men's derby game is akin to watching formula 1. Lots of crashing and bashing and testosterone. It's not that the men are more aggressive than the women - it's just that they seem less controlled out there. Also, they fall harder and skate faster.

There's no denying the guys are talented skaters and seeing as the majority of them also referee; they know their rules. This doesn't stop them from breaking them though and the penalty box was running hot the entire game. Head referee Tipsy Moo had her work cut out for her, as barely a minute went by when she wasn't sending a player to the bin. It was a well-matched game and the Bruise Brothers had some seriously strong players. But the Vikings came through in the end, with 250 points to the Bruisey's 150.            

The only NCDC league that wasn’t represented by a team this year was Clarence Valley Roller Derby, whose members are mainly sourced from Yamba, Ballina and surrounding areas. Clarence recently lost a handful of strong players to Lismore’s Supanovas, which came at a time when the league was already struggling to fill rosters. They were unable to field a full team last year and were left with no choice but supplement their roster with skaters from other NCDC leagues. This year, with the loss of their primary jammers, Clarence decided to forfeit, and just send representatives to NSO.

It’s sad to see a league struggling for lack of numbers, but with a club in practically every corner of the country now, perhaps this the way of the future. Skaters are now spoilt for choice when it comes to leagues, and it’s unsurprising that small rural leagues like Clarence Valley have succumbed to trend. However, the remaining Clarence girls are undeterred and are confident that by the end of the year, they will have a regenerated team ready to play in the 2015 season.

Lastly, it must be said that The Bay Rollers did an outstanding job at hosting over the two days. Held at the relatively new Byron Bay Sports Complex, the league went all-out to provide a positive experience for both the skaters and the spectators. Spotted in the ref and NSOs change area for example, was a refreshments table with coffee, cakes, fresh fruit and lollies. It's the little things that make a big difference, particularly to those who are giving up so much of their time to do what is often a thankless job. The officials put in as much time as the skaters in order to pull these events off, yet they get none of the glory. Small gestures like free coffee and lollies can go a long way to making these quiet achievers feel appreciated.

Well done to all the NCDC leagues for pulling together what was another great series of roller derby games. It's refreshing to see clubs pull together and work towards a common goal, when of late we are seeing more and more clubs in heated rivalry. Here's hoping that NCDC continues to thrive and be an inspiration to all rural clubs in Australia.

For those who are interested in the final scores over both rounds of the tournament, here they are:

ROUND 2 (May 2014 - Byron Bay)


Game 1 NRRD 93 v TBR 158
Game 2 PMRDL 88 v ARD 241
Game 3 CCDD 194 v TVR 212
Game 4 ARD 37 v TBR 338
Game 5 PMRDL 35 v TVR 397
Game 6 Bruise Brothers 150 v Vikings 250


Game 1 PMRDL 83 v CCDD 281
Game 2 NRRD 175 v TVR 129
Game 3 ARD 239 v PMRDL 100
Game 4 CCDD 115 v TVR 247

Game 5 NRRD 138 v TBR 109

ROUND 1 (April 2014 - Port Macquarie)


Game 1 ARD 123 v CCDD 171
Game 2 NRRD 378 v PMRDL 55
Game 3 TBR 231 v TVR 115
Game 4 NRRD 300 v CCDD 107
Game 5 ARD 83 v TVR 268


Game 1 TBR 507 v PMRDL 41
Game 2 ARD 51 v NRRD 303
Game 3 Vikings 248 v Bruise Brothers 147
Game 4 TBR 258 v CCDD 115




Team Australia Announcement

16th May 2014

Roller Derby Australia is proud to announce that we are officially sponsoring Team Australia 2014. We can’t wait to see these awesome ladies battle it out at the Blood and Thunder World Cup in December this year. Stay tuned over the coming weeks as we profile the team, bring you updates and follow along the official preparations for the tour.

In case you missed the announcement, your Team Australia 2014 is:

Wrenegade 2880 ADRD
Colonel KAOS! 601 ADRD
Kit Cat Krunch 9 Lives ADRD
Chop Chop 117 UBRD
Susy Pow TOP5 Charm City
Bambi von Smash'er 411 CRDL
Shaggle Frock 77 CRDL
ShortStop 6 CRDL
Annabelle Lecter 8 SRDL
Beth Adder 20 SSRG
Brutal Deluxe 76 SSRG
Lil Gee Unit 41 SSRG
Christy Demons 14 UBRD
Freyda Cox 50X SRDL
Blockodile Dundee 411 SSRG
Cookie Cutter 45 SSRG
Dodge&Bolt 58 SSRG
Lady Killer 11 SSRG
Muzzarati 28 SSRG
Polly Crackers 8 SSRG
Rose Ruin 12 SSRG
Bicepsual 10 VRDL
Calamity Maim 4 VRDL
G-Banger 10 VRDL
Mad Mel Arena 505 VRDL
Tiger 782 VRDL
Tui Lyon 88 VRDL

Flamin' Galah Bench Coach VRDL
Slawta Dawta Bench Manager SSRG
Cherry Axe-Wound Tour Manager CRDL



Introducing DerbyWest

13th May 2014

Exciting things are happening for roller derby in Western Australia where the sport has experienced an incredible amount of growth in recent years that has culminated in the forming of DerbyWest, a committee that is working together in association with SkateWA that aims to foster support for all leagues across the state.

2013 saw the first ever WA roller derby tournament, the 'Boom State Clash', which brought 11 leagues together. Some participants travelled well over 2000kms, with 6 leagues participating in the tourney and a series of challenge bouts including co-ed games.

While DerbyWest’s original goal was to run the event which will now be a regular tournament, broader goals are now in sight for the group which aims to foster co-operation and distribution of funding, knowledge and opportunities for all skaters, officials and associate members.

Some of these opportunities include the training and retention of officials, holding WFTDA camps and bootcamps, and facilitating the support for the increasing membership of skaters who are registered as roller derby skaters in WA, with new leagues forming including Albany Roller Derby League and a new men’s league in Kalgoorlie, the Solid Gold Rollers. Including these newer groups, there are now 12 leagues in WA including Perth Junior Roller Derby.

Overall, DerbyWest is all about increasing the competitiveness of roller derby as a sport and sharing knowledge with leagues who can feel easily isolated due to the size of the state and remoteness from other leagues. Opportunities to help these remote leagues are part of the goals of DerbyWest, which is also interested in co-operating with leagues in the Northern Territory to share resources and create competition across the Pilbara.

Caitilin Dancer, AKA Dirge, is chairperson for DerbyWest and is passionate about promoting the sport in what she believes is “the most awesome, life changing sport in the world”.

“I am honoured to be a part of DerbyWest and I’m looking forward to see how the leagues move forward together within the greater context of SkateWA”.

Working with SkateWA also gives more opportunities for greater co-operation with SkateAU and other skating disciplines. DerbyWest is committed to promoting the discipline and all it has to offer, and is so proud of the achievements that roller derby as a sport in Western Australia has achieved such a short amount of time.

*Image provided by Ishtar Photographics, click here for more.


Skate of the Anzac - National Officiating Scholarship - Part 3

5th May 2014

It was bloody cold (for this Brisbanite) and far too early in the morning to be awake on a public holiday, but here I was walking into the Southern Cross Basketball Stadium in Tuggeranong, Canberra for the Skate of the ANZAC invitational tournament hosted by Canberra Roller Derby League. I was walking through the door as Tournament Head Referee, and my job had actually begun several weeks before, attempting to staff a small number of referees over a large number of games. Several referees were skating three games back to back, and everyone's endurance and mental stamina would be tested - but none more so than the non-skating officials, most of whom were staffed on every single time-slot throughout the weekend.
The tournament consisted of three separate brackets. At the top of the tree was the 'Sanctioned Division' of Sun State Roller Girls, Sydney Roller Derby League and the host league, Canberra. After that was the 'Super Division', consisting of Canberra's B-grade and C-grade teams, Sydney's B-grade team and Ballarat Roller Derby League. Finally there was a 'Skate Division' - the Sydney City SMASH men's team, and three pot-luck teams made up of Canberra skaters, all other tournament skaters, and all other non-tournament skaters. Over the next two days there would be eighteen full length roller derby games, culminating in a grand final for each of the divisions.
The air was full of anticipation for a weekend of roller derby, but for me and the other officials, the anticipation had a different tilt - evaluations. Skate of the ANZAC was the first event in Australia to have several teams from several WFTDA member and apprentice leagues playing each other - a total of seven games over the weekend that were eligible for 'evaluations' which help referees and non-skating officials achieve WFTDA certification!
Before I'd even begun meeting the other officials, my day began with me MacGyvering an evaluation box together - commandeering a box from the skate-shop table, cutting a hole in the top of it, and sealing it up with an abundance of tape to make it confidential.
My first interaction with the officials for the weekend was standing on a chair, making a speech to the room - talking about the difficulties of staffing, and how excellent it was that everyone was willing to pitch in so readily, and to work through their fatigue. Leaving them encouraged and excited, it was time to gear up for the first games of the day - and boy were we starting off with a bang! On track one was the Canberra and Sydney B teams, while on track two the Canberra and Sydney A teams were playing. I lined up in the head ref position for the A-grade game and we were off!
The rest of the day was a blur of logistics, staffing, timing and organisation - we had runners going back and forth between tracks figuring out how much they were 'off schedule' to each other (as we often had officials backing up from one track to the other). The day was not without injuries to the skaters, unfortunately - there was a broken leg, and also a suspected neck injury that led to an entire game being moved over to the warm-up track (a feat that was accomplished in about five minutes flat). At one point there was even a fifteen litre water spill from a broken bucket that needed cleaning and containing - again, something that was managed within minutes.
In terms of my personal weekend - on day one, I reffed four games - two each at head referee and jammer referee - with two of those games being eligible for evaluations. By the end of the day I was exhausted, and my plan for the evening involved dinner and bed.
The weekend ticked over, the games continued to be played and officiated to a high standard, everyone consumed a lot of caffeine and sugar (or...maybe that was just me). I lost one referee to the flu (which I then caught myself a couple of days later) and had to reshuffle some games - yet somehow, it all ended up coming together. And soon enough we were at grand final time.
The first final pitted the Sydney City SMASH men's team against the ANZAC Potluck team - a hard fought game that ended with the SMASH victorious. The second game was Sydney B team vs Canberra B team - another close game that ended with the home team winning by only 22 points.
Then it was time for the grand final between Sun State and Canberra, which I was lined up to head referee. The crew was skilled and reliable, the skaters were poised and ready (having already teased me during the captains' meeting about my 'sexy voice' from spending all weekend yelling), and the game started with a bang - the home team getting out to an early lead. The calls made by my ref crew were accurate, and I personally felt like I was having a blinder of a game. At half time there was only one point in it, with the home team still holding on by a thread. The game continued, and Sun State slowly eked ahead bit by bit. The refs continued to excel, and the final score had Sun State winning by 33 points.
Lining up to shake hands with the teams afterwards, I was quite certain that I'd just reffed my best performance ever. I would like to chalk it up to luck or progression, but I think a fair portion of the credit has to go to the National Officiating Scholarship program and the improvements I've made since starting the program. Not only basic physical improvements like diet, but also better self-awareness, better awareness of others and an ability to read situations and people. I feel more conscious as a referee of my actions, from the smallest to the largest behaviours, and thus I am in control of what exactly I do at any point in time.
Overall the weekend was a roaring success! The sealed evaluation box collected nearly 150 evaluations, and every official developed their skills not just in officiating but in working with unknown officials and building trust and rapport quickly. Huge thanks has to go to Canberra Roller Derby League, and particularly Hatchet and Cherry for their tireless work as tournament organisers. Huge thanks also goes to everyone who completed an evaluation over the weekend - these numbers (plus many more that will be submitted separately) are huge and are so important to our officials in Australia. 

The next two instalments are going to be quite exciting - Part 4 will be based around the Satellite workshop in Brisbane where I get to meet up with the scholarship recipients again, and straight after that will be Part 5 - THE GREAT SOUTHERN SLAM!


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