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Roller Derby Blog | December 2014

Nut Factory 2015

9th December 2014

Words by Kernel Panic- Sydney City Smash

When you say "Roller Derby" to the casual passer by, they still think girls in fishnets hitting each other on skates. Well we all know that derby has moved far beyond that, but the number of guys playing derby is still greatly outnumbered by women.

However that is changing too, thanks in part to the men of the New York Shock Exchange. Pulled together in 2006 by Jonathan R, the NYSE played their first game way back in 2007.
They went on to be a founding member of the Men’s Derby Coalition, and champions at the first year's tournament in 2010. 
The next year MDC became the MRDA, and once again, Shock Exchange took home the championship trophy. They share practice space with WFTDA champions the Gotham Girls Roller Derby, and you'll have seen NYSE's own Buster Cheatin and Abe Drinkin on the bench helping the Gotham All Stars to take home the Hydra trophy 4 years running.

Down Under, mens derby has taken a little longer to get going. In the year that NYSE won their first championship trophy, the Aussie guys had only just done their foray onto the track with the 2010 Moustachio Nuts games.
In 2012, NSW saw its first full length mens game with the Incredible Hulks vs the Dark Knights. That sparked the flame for men's derby for a lot of people - soon after, the Sydney Merby Crew incorporated and became Sydney City SMASH Mens Derby.
A bit of a crazy thing happened next, the Aussie guys got together and formed a national team - The Wizards of Aus. June 2013 saw Australia's first dedicated men's bootcamp happen - the Nut Factory.
Guys came together from all over the country and spent 2 days learning how to play derby using their own style. And in the evening we watched This Is How I Roll - the story of how the Shock Exchange and the MRDA came together.
We hadn't event played any league games yet, but the guys were so keen coming out of the Nut Factory and from seeing what the guys from New York could do, that the Wizards took on New Zealand in Sydney in August 2013. 

Not wanting to rest, the Sydney SMASH Bros then played Australia's first interleague men's game in Port Macquarie later that month, and soon after took on BCR's Scartel on their home ground of Ipswich.
2014 saw an even greater challenge - the first Mens Roller Derby World Cup. Tryouts happened around the country, and a squad of 20 skaters were selected to travel to the UK to compete against the best in the world.
Sydney City SMASH was the most represented league on Australian squad, and along with guys from Perth, Tassie, Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne, the Wizards spent a week training in Scotland before the tournament in Birmingham.
The Wizards had a nailbiter game against Wales to take home 5th place in the world, and since then men's derby has been very much part of the Aussie community.
2014 finished off with the AMRD Nationals - where 9 league-teams from Australia and NZ came together in the summer heat of Ipswich for a 2-day tournament which saw the Victorian Vanguard defeat Sydney SMASH Bros and the Bass Straight Brawlers to be champions.

Both the SMASH Bros and the Brawlers are ready to prove they are not second best, and have been working together with NYSE to bring another first to Australian derby - the first International mens inter-league games to be played on these shores.
In Jan 2015 the Shock Down Under tour will bring the men from New York out, and after a stop at the Bont Invitational and a mid-week game in Brisbane, they are coming to Sydney for the 2015 NUT FACTORY bootcamp.
Sydney, at the Menai Indoor Sports Centre, on Friday Jan 16 - Tasmania's Bass Straight Brawlers will take on the Shock Exchange in a full length game. and on Sat Jan 17, the Sydney SMASH Bros will test their skills against the men from New York.

The SMASH and Brawlers games are just part of the event - and this is where you get involved. The NUT FACTORY will include a full length black & white mens game for attendees first up Friday night, then there will be a 2-day bootcamp coached by the NYSE, with Saturday dedicated to mens derby skaters.
Sunday will be running 4 tracks plus an off-skates room, and will be open to all adult skaters, so guys and girls can learn together from these amazing skaters and coaches.
Finishing off the weekend, will be a coed scrimmage with the NYSE guys playing on both teams, so you can test out these new skills and see just how they compare to some of the best in the world.

Tickets are on-sale now, click here to head to the event page.
Option for off-skates coaches to attend, or a SHOCK PASS that gets you into the Friday B&W game, spectators for both NYSE games + the whole bootcamp.

Featured Skater- Team Australia's Flamin' Galah

4th December 2014

Derby Name: Flamin' Galah

Derby Number: 80

Age:  34

League: Victorian Roller Derby League

Position: Bench Coach

How did you get into derby and how long have you been playing?

My girlfriend dragged me along to learn to skate. I got hooked on the game and the people and here we are 4 years later.

Highlight of your derby career?

Winning the 2012 Men's European final by 2 points, winning the 5th place final at the men's World Cup by 1 point or being part of the All Stars at Playoffs last year - I've been spoilt rotten!

What is your personal derby goal?

Play some legendary games, meet more great people and keep enjoying every moment.

Who is your Derby Idol?

My lovely lady friend, Meg.A Tsunami, who got me into derby in the first place. She's a really tough jammer!

What is the best piece of advice you could give and up and coming derby player?

Regularly take time out from team training to play around with your own skills - enjoy teaching yourself new things!

Featured Skater- Team Australia's Slawta Dawta

3rd December 2014

Derby Name: Slawta Dawta

Derby Number: 44

Age: 36

League: Sun State Roller Girls

Position: Bench Manager

How did you get into derby and how long have you been playing?

Watched it, loved it, did it! Retired after 5 years and now love supporting from the bench.

Highlight of your derby career?

Soooo many, but my last game was Captaining my team against Gotham, that's up there.

What is your personal derby goal?

I love helping develop players and teams. Watching the growth and those moments when it just clicks for players is something powerful.

Who is your Derby Idol?

Cliche as it might sound but I have a new one every game I watch. Everyone who takes that track deserves that tag.

What is the best piece of advice you could give and up and coming derby player?

There will be fears, tears and joy, embrace it all and continue to challenge yourself.

Featured Skater- Team Australia's Bicepsual

1st December 2014

Derby Name: Bicepsual

Derby Number: 10

Age: 30

League: Victorian Roller Derby League

Position: Blocker/Pivot

Highlight of your derby career to date:

Making it to WFTDA Champs with my team! I was also really excited to be selected for the Victorian Vagine Regime team last year - this was the first time I was selected for any team. I love VR and Battle on the Bent Track in Sydney 2013 was an amazing event.

Something interesting about you:

Earlier this year I competed as part of my university’s Cheerleading team. The uniform included a compulsory hair bow.

How did you get into derby and how long have you been playing?

I started skating 3 years go when a friend taught me to skate because  I was injured and couldn't do the circus training I had been doing. I intended to never do contact because I was scared of getting hurt, but I accidentally fell in love with derby.

What are your personal goals for your derby career?

World Domination...

Best piece of derby advice you've received?

Get some skates that fit you.

What would be the best piece of advice you could offer to an up and coming derby skater?

Use SMART goals and write them down. When you can’t do something, try to find a way to break it down into bits that you can learn. Practice a lot, unless you’re injured.

Thank you to Rachel Gedye Photography for the use of this photo 

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