Preview: Great Southern Slam

The Great Southern Slam takes place at the Adelaide Showgrounds on June 12 and 13, 2010. It’s the Asia Pacific region’s first derby tournament and is on track to be the largest derby event anywhere, ever. Fifteen teams of skaters will compete in round-robin mini-pools to establish seeding, with eight teams progressing into a single elimination tournament on Saturday afternoon and Sunday.

DNN’s live coverage of this historic tournament begins at 10am Adelaide time on Saturday June 12 (8:30pm Eastern, 5:30pm Pacific on Friday, June 11 in the States.). Live coverage of The Great Southern Slam is presented by Riedell Skates and Fast Girl Skates, and is also made possible by generous support from DNN viewers like you!

The Slam is designed to be an inclusive experience; with the exception of safety-based minimum skill standards (based on the WFTDA Minimum Skills Assessment), no requirements were levied on teams wishing to participate. Any league wishing to field a competitive team could do so. As a result, the experience levels within the tournament range from the four-year-old Pirate City Rollers to teams which have not played even a single home bout. With Geelong and Ballarat, and Western Australia and Wellington uniting in combined teams, as well as Team Pot Luck, sixteen leagues are represented in the competitive section of the Slam.

In addition, pick-up and themed challenge games are open to any skater who has passed their league’s minimum skills and registered with the Great Southern Slam. Skaters from twenty leagues around Australia and New Zealand will be participating in the various events at the tournament.

Tournament structure follows the precedent set by Roll Britannia in seeking to establish seeding amongst a group of teams with widely disparate skill levels and little previous play. This also had the advantage of guaranteeing all participating teams a minimum of two games. Bouts will be played under the WFTDA ruleset dated December 1, 2009, with the exception that games within the round-robin mini-pools will consist of two 20-minute periods.

Each mini-pool of three teams contains an ‘established team’, which typically has a moderate amount of interleague experience and between two and four seasons of home play behind them,an ‘intermediate team’ – likely to have played one or two home seasons, and little if any interleague experience – and a ‘new team’. It’s these third teams which have the greatest variability and can be expected to throw up some surprises – some of the newest leagues represented at TGSS haven’t played a single public game and the Slam is their first opportunity to show what they can do.

The winners of each of the five pools get an automatic pass into the quarter-finals; they’ll be joined by three runner-up teams, selected based on point differentials in their preliminary rounds. The pools have been set up to ensure that leagues who have previously competed against each other will not meet in the preliminary rounds of the tournament, with a view to ensuring a new variety of interleague play.

Perhaps the most obvious question here is “Why hasn’t a tournament like this happened before? Actually, why have so few leagues played each other? Hasn’t derby been in the Asia-Pacific region since 2006?” It’s a fair question. Derby has been down under since 2007 and in New Zealand since 2006, but interleague play has been rare until very recently.

There’s a very simple reason for this: Australia is big. Really big.

Consider this: the country is approximately the same size as the continental United States, but is home to one fifteenth as many people. Most of Australia’s population is clustered in a few large cities on the eastern seaboard and one on the west coast, with the result that interleague play in the country will, more often than not, require a plane ride or a very substantial drive. The distances between leagues have also posed some barriers to interleague cooperation and coaching, which may slow the development of regional and rural organisations.

This logistical challenge is becoming less of an issue as leagues continue to form in Australia’s country centres – competing teams hail from seven of the country’s eight state and territory capitals, plus smaller towns – but for many of the teams participating, the Great Southern Slam marks their first attempt at interleague play.

The obstacles faced by derby organisations in New Zealand are different, but no less challenging. Auckland’s Pirate City Rollers were the first derby league in the Asia-Pacific region, forming nearly two years before any Australian league – but local competitors were slow to emerge and as Australian derby hit its stride in 2008, the first Kiwi leagues outside Auckland were just beginning to form.

The first interleague bout in New Zealand took place in November 2009, between Pirate City and Wellington’s Richter City Roller Derby. Pirate City are the only Kiwi league fielding a competitive team in the Great Southern Slam, although a number of skaters from other leagues are registered as challenge participants and a number of skaters from Richter City Roller Derby (based in Wellington) have volunteered to fill the ranks of Western Australian Roller Derby’s tournament team.

An open discussions of the challenges faced in Australia and New Zealand should not, however, be taken as a suggestion that derby down under is underdeveloped or inexperienced. Bouts around Australia routinely draw audiences of over 1500 – as large as 4000 at the Northern Brisbane Rollers’ home events – and a steady trickle of visiting and returning ex-pat derby visitors has ensured that Southern Hemisphere skating is competitive with that occurring in the North. Local players have also been known to embark on training trips to the United States to skate and learn.


Adelaide Roller Derby – Adeladies

Host league Adelaide Roller Derby boasts the largest corps of bouting skaters in the country – they’re the only Australian league currently fielding four home teams – and a long history of interleague play. Their first outing was Skate of Origin against the Victorian Roller Derby League, held in Adelaide in February 2008 – VRDL escaped with a slim victory. The Adeladies have since gone from strength to strength, reclaiming the Skate of Origin trophy in a nail biter, and hosting – and beating – both the Sydney Roller Derby League and Northern Brisbane Rollers for an interleague double-header. The league formed in 2007 and is currently in its third home season.

Look out for founding member Barrelhouse Bessy, a crowd favourite and a proven jammer for the Adeladies, plus the nationally famous ‘orbital booty’ of Vaderella. Fresh to the Adelady ranks are double threat Kit Cat Krunch and Tricksy Belt’em, who comes to derby from an ice hockey background and joins the ADRD all-stars after just a single home bout.

00 Coconut Rough // 4 Radical Edward // 5 Violent Krumble // 6 Kissy Suzuki // 8 Lulu Fortune // 9 Kit Cat Krunch // 10 Barrelhouse Bessy // 13 Rolla Junky // 16 Melvin Star // 23 Pistola Balboa // 33 Moe Skeeto // 37 Gateway Girl // 38 Bone Shaker // 81 She Ra // 96 Hell Grazer // 106 Tricksey BeltEm // 187 Raw Dog // 454 GoGo Fiasco // 570 Vaderella // 666 Bride of Skatan

Canberra Roller Derby League – Vice City Rollers

The Canberra Roller Derby League was among the second wave of leagues starting up in Australia, with training beginning in September 2008, and despite a small – and in the popular imagination, deeply boring – population, CRDL have established a large and enthusiastic fan-base in the nation’s capital. They’re currently in their second home season and this will be their first foray into interleague play, although they have participated in organised scrimmage opportunities with other nearby groups.

Team captain Bambi von Smash’er is a veteran jammer and a local crowd favourite, while star newcomers Cassatrophic and ShortStop have made their marks as point-scorers since graduating to home teams in April. The dutchAss and triple-threat skater Dr Hell are key players to watch in the pack.

22 Pink Mist // 3 Cassatrophic // 21 the dutchAss // 27 Dee Nature // 35 Melicious Damage // 53 Beck Wise // 72 Belle E. Up // 77 Shaggle Frock // 80 Trixie Dynamite // 109 Bullseye Bettie // 308 AmyKazeee // 327 Ova Bearing // 411 Bambi von Smash’er // 1080 Aunty Aggro // 16 Roulette Rouge // 1st King Cam // 5buck Sue R Rat // 7 Dr Hell // 6 ShortStop // 12 Fauna Cat

Van Diemen Rollers

Van Diemen Rollers were the first league to form in Tasmania, commencing training in October 2008. They’ve held a single public demonstration bout in February 2010. Cruella de Wheels and Zig E Scarghbust are relative veterans, while Gigi Hutz and Risky Business are newer to the league but expected to make a splash at the Slam.

0.1 Jugganaughts // 4.2 Gigi Hurtz // 5 Weevil Kneevil // 5.6 De-icide // 6 Bronster Mash // 7 Zig E Scarghbust // 11 Cazaclysmic // 14 Valentine Vendetta // 17 Rogue Arrow // 19 Extreme Carnage // 22 Cruella de Wheelz // 53 Bloodnut Betty // 57 Metal Spawn // 99 Tequila Smasha // 107 Risky Business // 333 Spiderbite // 4×4 Land Cruiser // no5 Coco ChaBang


Victorian Roller Derby League – All-Stars

The first league to form in Australia, the Victorian Roller Derby League began in March 2007 and is now in its fifth home season. They have a strong background of interleague play, with the firmly established Geelong Roller Derby – skating in pool E – just down the road regularly competing against their B-team and in the past twelve months, the VRDL All-Stars have met teams from Adelaide and Sun State.

As well as home-grown heroes, the VRDL All-Stars boast international talent; London Rollergirls alumnus Kitty DeCapitate is a stand-out jammer, complemented by the formidable blocking talent of ex-Charm City skater Berzerker. New recruit Swish Cariboom has proven a head-turner on the jam line.

3 Gili Pepper // 4 Calamity Maim // 6 Hidden Magenta // 8 Kittie von Krusher // 12 Berzerker // 20 Rock the Casper // 25 Mandytory Punishment // 28 Nightmary // 40 U Sooz U Lose // 55 Denim Destructor // 60 Penny Carving // 69 Hotrod Stacy // 77 Rocky Rogue // 83 Tarzanna // 96 Punani Tsunami // 138 Swish Cariboom // 3121 Bella duBois // 8008 Splatterpuss // 45rpm Skate Bush // X0X0 Kitty DeCapitate

Northern Brisbane Rollers – Brawl Stars

Northern Brisbane Rollers are quite possibly unique in Australia – the league is established and run as a cooperative, with every member having voting rights and an equal stake in the organisation. They held their first season in 2009 and currently have a second season, with new teams, underway. NBR had its first interleague outing in Adelaide in September 2009, falling to the Adelady Tornadoes, before playing their city-mates the Sun State Rollergirls in a somewhat more even match. Experience told in this game, with the Sun State Rollergirls coming out on top.

Like VRDL, NBR have a London Rollergirls graduate on their side; Belle de Brawl started her derby career with LRG before returning home. Crowd favourite Dead Meat is known for lightning speed and a unique skating style, while Chastity BeltHer has proven impressive as a new addition to the Brawl Stars roster.

0 Strawberry I Scream // 4 Trixie Hellborn // 5 Sweet Enemy // 6 Demonik // 9 Raspberry Bullet // 36 Lil’ Ripper // 55 Pandemic // 58 Queen Slander // 75 Blonde Reaper // 80 Infamous Butcher // 81 Chastity BeltHer // 84 Belle DeBrawl // 268 Crush N Kik // 314 Smackarena // 336 Meanie Girl // 668 Dead Meat // 747 Kaos // 1111 Dreadly Diva // 4M Thumpelina

Newcastle Roller Derby – Dockyard Dames

Based just a few hours north of the well-established Sydney Roller Derby League, Newcastle Roller Derby have benefited from a close mentoring relationship with their more experienced neighbours. NRDL commenced interleague play in March, taking on the Wollongong-Illawarra Roller Derby in a three-game series, which ended with NRDL winning the second and third games. Look out for power blockers GodJilla Sold Separately and Dino La Rouge in the pack.

call000 Stax On // 11 DangeRass // 13 Calamity Cut Throat // 14 The Cramp // 27 Killher Kellett // 40 Honey Beeatch // 66 Fisty Fistulina // 74 Broken Arrow // 78 Victoria Bit Her // 79 Lady Quirkinator // 92 GodJilla Sold Separately // 333 Ruff As Richo // 1428 Cannibal Cupcakes // 1922 Daisy Boo Cannon // #U The Vicioushire Cat // 2.2pa Brigand Strong // Top5 Suzy HomeWreckHer Pow // XXV11 Dino la Rouge


Sun State Roller Girls – All-Stars

As a group of skaters, Sun State Roller Girls date to the earliest days of Australian roller derby, getting together in March 2007, however the current league was only officially launched in June 2008. Their first home season was in September 2008 and they’ve played two interleague games, taking on VRDL on their home turf in July 2009 before dispatching cross-town rivals Northern Brisbane Rollers in November. SSRG is one of the biggest leagues in the country, with more than 170 current members.

Rose Ruin was voted SSRG’s jammer of the year in 2009 and will be relied on heavily at the jam line; keep an eye out for the agile and aware veteran blocker Ruby Ribcrusher in the pack. Stepford Knife is distinguishing herself as a hard and effective blocker, while the speedy Chop Chop is quickly becoming a home-crowd favourite.

0 XL // 8 Annabelle Lecter // 9 Annie Seizure // 11 ladykiller // 12 Rose Ruin // 13 Monstar // 14 Christy Demons // 16 Juicy Laimz // 18 Stepford Knife // 24 Ruby Ribcrusher // 33 Ajax // 44 Slawta Dawta // 45 Cookie Cutter // 54 Masochist Mell // 133 Tizzy Fit // 330 Rola Cherry Cola // 455 Boezerk // 911 Sculley // CHOP CHOP

Wollongong-Illawarra Roller Derby – Steel City Derby Dolls

Although a new league on the Australian scene, Wollongong-Illawarra Roller Derby are establishing themselves as a team to watch. They skipped a home season in favour of the Steel City Skate City bout series against Newcastle and the two teams recently met again as the opener to the Sydney-NBR game.

WIRD have a strong core of jammers in former speed skating champs Kim Ocean and Tracy Cyclone. Shelby Unkonshus is an aggressive and effective blocker and Janis Drop’Em is, historically, true to her name. The WIRD ranks are buoyed with the addition of SRDL veterans Prince Perilous, Surly Valentine and StinkBomb, who can be expected to make their presence known in the pack.

3 Surly Valentine // 9 Black ‘Vettie // 19 Kells Angel // 23 Prince Perilous // 73 Tracy Cyclone // 138 Shelby Unkonshus // 200 Stink Bomb // 369 Kitty Kats Can // 505 DropBear // 818 Kim Ocean // 24/7 Demander // 25-12 Magik Pudd // 80085 Janis Drop’em

Townsvillians Roller Derby

Townsville Roller Derby formed in April 2009 and is hoping to establish its first home season by August 2010. The Great Southern Slam will mark their first foray into competitive derby.

ph1.0 // Danger Skully // 0 Hannahsthetic // 4 SmashDance // 5 Mace // 8 Shell Razor // 11 Lethal Legs // 18 Fleetwood Smack // 27 Dotty Deranged // 37 J Grrrl // 39 Cin City // 39 Sweet Meat // 40 Unforgiving Bunny // 54 Penergy // 59 Chrissy-fix // 73 Wheels Scarlett // 85 Scarface Johannson // 131 Smasha Fierce // 360 Britney Speartackle // 666 Lady Hellsing // 0.1.0 Go Nads


Pirate City Rollers

The longest established league in the Asia-Pacific region, Auckland’s Pirate City Rollers are the only New Zealand league fielding a competitive team in the Great Southern Slam. The league was founded in 2006 and is currently in its fourth home season. PCR is committed to growing derby in New Zealand and in 2010, will again welcome skaters from nearby start-up organisations to train with the league. They defeated Wellington’s Richer City Roller Derby in December 2009, marking New Zealand’s first interleague game of the modern derby era.

Lucy in Disguise is a respected pivot and a force to be reckoned with at the front of the pack with the backup of Terror Satana. Bruizilla was awarded Most Improved Player in 2009 and is known as a big hitter.

0.38 Pieces of Hate // 0.45 Mia Vendetta // 17 Calico Smack // 32 Razor Czech // 42 Munter // 64 Skate The Muss // 84 Lil’ Miss Envy // 407 Bonnie Blaggard // 415 Scheisse Minelli // 420 Bruzilla // 555 Bad Jelly The Bitch // 666 Terror Satana // 828 Fia Fasi Oe // 911 Sister Wreck’d Me // *8 Spar Kill // 8crt Lucy In Disguise // C4 Ruby Disaster // i4i Pentakill // T89 Grenade

Sydney Roller Derby League – Sydney City Assassins

Incorporating in August 2008, Sydney Roller Derby was among the first wave of Australian leagues. They’re currently in their second home season and after a loss to Adelaide in their interleague debut, recently defeated the Northern Brisbane Rollers in a nailbiter match.

Watch out for former Denver Roller Doll Bobbi SoxHer and Mad Snatch in the pack, with the speedy Trippy Longstockings an effective blocker at the rear. Veteran jammer Aprilla the Hun can be relied upon to put points on the board, as can Adelaide transplant Ltl Whipit.

555MOFO Bitchy ‘n’ Scratchy // 00 Great Bolz o’ Fire // 8 Bully Jo // 12 Kila Newton // 13 Ltl WhipIt // 21 Fifi la Gore // 25 Winnie Bruise // 45 Dizzy Borden // 101 Mad Snatch // 411 Lulu le Brawl // 444 Aprilla the Hun // 773 Bobbi SoxHer // 801 Haterade // 808 Sideshow Ho // 916 Captain Ratz // 1512 Apollonia Thunderpussy // 100days Torture Twice // 20mg-stat Trippy Longstockings // xxx30 Miss Biff

Western Australian Roller Derby

Another newcomer to the derby scene, Western Australian Roller Derby expects to begin their home season later this year. The league has an unusual setup by derby standards, but one that will be familiar to fans of other sports – it acts as an umbrella organisation for a number of geographically discrete teams around the state. Representatives of WARD will be joined on the track by a number of skaters from Richter City Roller Derby, Wellington, New Zealand.

sub0 SubZero // 10 Dayzee a’Dare // 11 Rayne n Blood // 29 Victori S Mine // 70 Bonnie Bang Bang // 77 Melody Distortion // 78 SkandaLass // 79 Ruby Deathskates // 88 Steely Niel // 101 Tuff Bikkies // 333 Kid Villain // 675 Damanda Respect // 790 Controller Phreak // 0900 Thigh Voltage // 1408 Ophelia Terror // 574R Starry Knightmare


Geelong / Ballarat

With big sister league VRDL just up the road lending an experienced hand, Geelong Roller Derby have progressed up the derby ranks quickly. The league formed in April 2008 and are currently in their second season, which – as well as GRDL’s two home teams – includes a team from Ballarat Roller Derby, based about 100km north-west of Geelong. The two leagues have met twice in interleague play and banded together to form a combined All-stars team to compete at the Great Southern Slam.

GRDL is a co-ed league and holds co-ed demonstration games at the majority of their bouts. Ballarat are the first league in the country to establish a junior league and facilitate the town’s only recreational indoor skating session as a fundraiser for their group.

Veteran Ballarat skater Miss Hellfire stands out on this team, as does GRDL’s agile jammer Nine Lives Isis. Thirteen, Nitro Nutter and Genie Smackers are establishing themselves as formidable derby talents.

6 Ricochet Ramona // 7 BezZombie // 13 Thirteen // 17 Miss Afliktion // 42 Riff Raff Saff // 75 Genie Smackers // 80 Savage Blanc // 82 Ace of Hearts // 83 Nitro Nutter // 101 Ruby E Raze // 666 Miss Hellfire // 911 Helter Belter // 1337 Apocalypse Nerd // 1984 Special Ethel // P<.05 Scarlett Savage

Perth Roller Derby

Perth Roller Derby are approaching their second birthday and have completed three intraleague bouts, as well as a number of demonstrations at their regular “PRD Presents…” themed general skate nights. Playing derby in the most isolated city in the world – yes, really – poses a unique set of challenges but with WARD operating in the same region, a competitive west coast rivalry is sure to emerge soon. Keep an eye out for Hot Wheels, a veteran jammer who brings her skating skills from ice hockey.

000 Hot Wheels // 2 PT Bruza // 79 Bo Skiddley // 80 Huh-Knee Badger // 88 Minnie Screwdriver // 719 Dirty K.O // 1614 Miss Erotica Deville // 1979 Maggie Snatcher // 8008 Tora Hymenov // 6.6L Trans Em // B00M Megaton Son // LV(55) Posh Slice // TS7 PJ Carvey // V8 Femme Ferox

Team Pot Luck

The Great Southern Slam is based on mini-pools of three teams competing to establish seeding and consequently, the tournament requires a multiple of three teams to skate. When registration closed, a total of fourteen teams had entered, leaving one slot free: enter Team Pot Luck.

In the spirit of ‘second chances’ and keeping in mind the Slam’s prime objective – to allow Southern Hemisphere leagues to come together as a community to compete, learn and have fun – Team Pot Luck was thrown open for all comers.

Any skater who had passed their league’s minimum skills requirement and was registered with GSS as a challenge skater (that is, attending the Slam but having missed selection for their league’s travel team or based in a league not fielding a tournament team) was eligible to throw their name in the hat – quite literally. 43 skaters nominated themselves for consideration and names were drawn at random to create a team of fourteen skaters representing six leagues from across Australia. (Video can be seen here and here.)

The team will be provided with uniform shirts and helmet covers by host league ADRD and will have the opportunity to nominate two non-skating support staff to accompany them to the Slam.

TGSS organisers believe that this is the first time a wild-card team like this has been entered into a major tournament – many of the skaters will not even have met prior to the event – but more importantly, consider it a symbol of how inclusive the GSS is. They’re rapidly emerging as every local derby fan’s “second favourite team” and Team Pot Luck’s inclusion in the tournament is proving a masterful way to foster a spirit of international cooperation.

0.44 Lashez (Adelaide) // 1 Pixie Pincher (Adelaide) // 7 Nikki Nitro (Gold Coast) // 21 The Little Murdermaid (Adelaide) // 23 Ram Jam (Gold Coast) // 65 Marshall Stacks (Adelaide) // 91 Bellie (Adelaide) // 101 Karmen Getme (Adelaide) // 333 Highway2Mel (Canberra) // 420 Lisrupter (Ballarat) // 808 Stoj & Weave (Adelaide) // 1812 General Panic (Victoria) // 1917 Rosa Deluxe (Victoria) // 2047 D’Juana FightMe (Adelaide)