Geelong vs Melbourne roller derby tournament makes history
Melbourne & Geelong, VIC – Athletes from Geelong and Melbourne’s north have been battling it out on the pitch for nearly a century, but Australian sporting history will be made this year with the first-ever roller derby tournament played between leagues solely from the two rival cities.
Two teams from the Northside Rollers (NSR), a women’s flat-track roller derby league from Melbourne’s northern suburbs, will face two teams from the Geelong Roller Derby League (GRDL) in the Battle for the Bay, a round-robin tournament taking place over the next several months. The first doubleheader event will be held on 9 August (in Geelong), while Melbourne will host the next two, on 13 September and 11 October. The playoffs will be held in Geelong on 9 November.
The first of the Geelong-hosted events (at the Leisuretime Centre in Norlane) will see NSR’s Pulp Vixens face off against GRDL’s Atom Bombs at 2:30pm on Saturday 9th August, followed by NSR’s Sisters of Anarchy versus GRDL’s Psychotics at 4:30pm. The tournament continues over 13 September and 11 October in Melbourne’s northern suburbs (at Puckhandlers Stadium in Reservoir). Tickets for all four events can be purchased at the door for $15 per person (children under 12 get in for free).
‘There’s a really good relationship between our leagues,’ noted Melanie Zimmermann, President of the Northside Rollers, about their counterparts in Geelong: ‘We often go to each others’ games to cheer each other on.’ Shannon Partington, the Geelong league’s Secretary, added: ‘Instead of just coming to see each league’s home teams compete internally as we normally do, we’re hoping that the fans from both cities will really get behind the whole Geelong versus Melbourne rivalry and support their town.’
Roller derby is a full-contact sport played on quad (four-wheeled) roller skates. A game consists of two 30-minute periods, played over a series of 2-minute ‘jams’. Each team fields five skaters per jam; one skater from each team, called the ‘jammer’ (who wears a helmet cover with a star), is the only one who can score points. The other four skaters are ‘blockers’; the blockers of both teams must remain within 20 feet (approximately 6 metres) of each other to be considered in play. Players skate laps anti-clockwise around an oval track; jammers score one point for each opposing player that they pass on a lap. Blockers from each team must help their jammer to pass their opponents while preventing the opposing jammer and blockers from doing the same, thus playing offence and defence simultaneously.
Full Tournament Schedule:
Sat 9 August (Geelong, 2pm) – NSR Pulp Vixens vs GRDL Atom Bombs / NSR Sisters of Anarchy vs GRDL Psychotics
Sat 13 September (Melbourne, 3pm) – NSR Pulp Vixens vs NSR Sisters of Anarchy / GRDL Atom Bombs vs GRDL Psychotics
Sat 11 October (Melbourne, 3pm) – NSR Pulp Vixens vs GRDL Psychotics / NSR Sisters of Anarchy vs GRDL Atom Bombs
Sun 9 November (Geelong, 2pm) – Playoff for 3rd & 4th / Playoff for 1st & 2nd
Written by Alison Lemer