ERMAHGERD – It’s Northern Tropical Thunder 2013! And once again, Malice represents.

A blog by Armadreaddon

What is NTT you ask? Only the biggest roller derby comp of the June Queen’s birthday long weekend (alternating each year with The Great Southern Slam and ignoring that measly capital city event held in Canberra…). Held in Townsville every second year, Northern Tropical Thunder is open to all leagues in northern Queensland and NT. This year 8 teams were entered into the comp, and Malice helped to form one of them :D

In a last minute bit of small-town-roller-derby magic, a spot opened up at NTT for one more team, so some determined Malice girls sent out a call for support, and the “Rogue Sisters” team was born: Starring Dial M for Mayhem, Sik Em, Filthy Fairy and Double0Psycho from Malice, alongside girls from Kalgoorlie’s Gold City Rollers, Katherine Derby Dolls, Airlie beach Trashbags and even a friend from Sydney Roller Derby League (SRDL). Malice’s Karnivorous and Armadreaddon stepped up for the roles of NSO and Rogue Sisters’ benchie respectively, and the adventure began.

Our might Rogue leading the way

Our might Rogue leading the way

After a lot of Facebook-fuelled organisation, some ever-more expensive flights to Cairns and a road trip led by our miniature but mighty Rogue team mascot, the Malice girls arrived in Townsville on June 6th ready for a warm-up skate with our brand new team and our brand new uniforms. Both were awesome. As was the Townsville skating rink (so jealous!).

The Rogue Sisters team was largely composed of new and inexperienced skaters, alongside just four girls who had bouted before, who provided a lot of much needed guidance and support for the Rogue sisters’ first bout – which also happened to be the first bout of the entire tournament! No pressure! Arriving early for our 9am game (Yes, AM!) against Tableland Roller Derby was a fairly rough start, but with a whole heap of nervous energy and enthusiasm and that much-needed support from our experienced team members and co-benchie Princess Chaos, our mighty captains Ruby Soho and Mayhem managed to lead the Rogue Sisters to victory! Didn’t see that coming now did you!

Sadly, but also quite amusingly, this was our first and only win of the tournament :P

Our final score against Tableland was 174:147, and Malice’s own Mayhem and Filthy Fairy managed to get their names up in flashing lights on the scoreboard as lead jammers a number of times, whilst Sik Em and Double0Psycho showed their talent as sturdy blockers, and Karniverous helped to NSO the bout (and yes, she remained steadily impartial because that’s how NSOs’ role)! Our other superstars from bout 1 were Blame Canada and Gretchen Wheelers (ABTB) as jammers, and the almighty duo April O’Squeal and Frankie Fierce (of Gold City Rollers) and the awesome Ruby Soho (of SRDL).

So, whilst running on a high from winning our first bout of the weekend, and the first bout ever for our benchies benching, and our first bout ever as a team, and the first bout ever played by many of our team members, we cruised into bout 2 of day 1 against one of the top teams in the tournament and were rapidly brought back to earth (literally). The girls from the Gladstone Hustlers sure knew how to throw a hit (well, hip), and our girls felt it! Finishing the game with more bruises than we could count and feeling a little thunderstruck, the bout ended with Gladstone on 389, against our hard-earned, hard-fought-for 12 amazing points.

But we didn’t feel defeated! We realised that Gladstone were in the top 2 teams in the comp when they scored similar points against many of the other teams, and braced ourselves for day 2 of competition feeling a little more weary, but having definitely learnt an amazing amount about the game and how to play it well, even after just these 2 bouts. One lesson learnt from Gladstone, for example, was the importance of knowing the rules of derby back to front so that you can use (and abuse?) them to your advantage :)

Our very own Rogue Sisters logo!

Our very own Rogue Sisters logo!

Thankfully the morning of day 2 gave us a bit of respite, with a later start than the day before, and so the Malice girls hit the beach for a much-needed fix of some sun, sand and surf. (For your information, we may live in a desert 1500kms away from the coast but yes, we do know what a beach is and sure know how to make most of it!)

Back at the Willows on Wheels Rink later that day, our first bout on the track was against the Reef City Roller Girls (yew!) who we’d collectively decided we had a derby crush on :) I think they reciprocated our affections (and we certainly won most popular underdog team of the weekend), but they didn’t hold back on the track! The final score was 246:27, but still ended with hugs and huge smiles, as the competition was a friendly one. The afternoon brought us Townsvillains Roller Derby B team – the Bandits – whom we managed to give a good run for their money at 233:102. And once again we were defeated, but not deflated, and certainly far more skilled and knowledgeable about the sport for the experience. Unfortunately we were also one woman down as Filthy Fairy managed to roll her ankle on her way back to the bench and was out for the last day of skating :(

Our last day of bouting was a long one with a 9am game against our other favourite team, the Cairns Derby Dolls (our hostel buddies!), who gave us a close game at 181:135; much more than the margin left by Townsvillains’ A team (the Supervillians), at 301:26. Our final game of the day was at 8pm (great timing, right? Not.) against our bestest ever frenemies; the Darwin Roller Girls.

As many well know, the Darwin girls and Malice crew go way back. A tale of two small teams embarking their derby journey in the Territory, supporting each other through all the trials and tribulations that all leagues face when starting out. Two years ago Darwin and Malice joined forces as the Terrortorians team at NTT, but in the intervening years Darwin Roller Girls has become a much larger and stronger league, and this year entered their own individual team into the NTT tournament. We sure hope to one day be an equally strong league should the transient population of Alice Springs somehow manage to pull together to create a sustainable team! But with a little help from our friends Malice was in NTT this year. And our final bout on our final day of competition was against the Darwin girls.

I should note here that Bevenge, who started her derby career in Malice Springs (she’s the one with our logo tattooed on her back!) and who moved up north joining the Darwin Roller Girls, trained harder than anyone ever (seriously, this girls is as tough as they get) and was popping her cherry at NTT, suffered a terrible injury on day 1 of competition; fracturing her leg in three places… and managed to somehow convince the doctors at Townsville hospital to let her loose (on [wheelchair] wheels!) to support her favourite teams from the side line. This also meant that Darwin were down to only 11 players, but had still managed to place 3rd in the competition so far: A testament to the strength and skill of their players.

The smooth track in Townsville - one day we'll have a smooth track of our own!

The smooth track in Townsville – one day we’ll have a smooth track of our own!

The bout was another tough one for the Rogue Sisters, ending in a 338:79 loss, but with a lot of laughs along the way, and a few notable highlights. Our Katherine Derby Doll Sister Whip Me – who’d already proved herself to be a great all-rounder on the field, in both blocking and jamming positions, scored us plenty of points in her ‘power jam’ skate at the start of the second period. And also went up against her “friend amongst the enemy”- Karnage Bear, also from Katherine, as jammer-on-jammer in an epic jam that saw Karnage take the lead, but with Whip Me still managing to score us plenty of points. One of our Airlie Beach Trashbag Sisters, Bellefire, also managed to be one of the few people in the tournament to get ‘fouled out’ for 7 deadly sins, but left with a smile, in the knowledge that she’d put in everything she could.

And that was it for us! We were exhausted, yet still exhilarated, and managed to pick ourselves up for a bit of a post-tournament after-party for those not in the final top 4 teams on Sunday night. Even more amazing is that we somehow managed to drag ourselves out of bed on Monday morning to show up at the rink for the 9am semi-final: Darwin vs Reef City Roller Girls (who to cheer for?! Answer: both.)

Darwin held their own, and managed to win the first half of the game by a tight margin. But at half-time, when they lost another two of their team members to early flights home, they were left with a team of 9 against a team of 15, and lost the bout overall 211:174. It was an awesome game to watch, and cudos goes to the Darwin girls for such an amazing effort, that probably could have placed them 3rd if they’d had their whole team!

Even more inspiring to watch was the grand-final bout of the weekend: Townsvillain Supervillains versus the Gladstone Hustlers. The level of skill was amazing; with each team’s blockers holding off the opposing jammers for two entire laps of the track in the opening jam and was a great display of what we might one day be able to achieve. And the winners were………… the Townsvillains Supervillains!!!! (Aaahhh! The crowd goes wild!)

Definitely one of the most loved teams, with some fantastic skaters including Smashdance, Mezziah and their captain Ankle Biter, and the host of a totes super awesome weekend; we’re pretty happy Townsville won NTT 2013. And we hope to be back for 2015.

 

We were fortunate to have some very skilled photographers in the house so do check out Carmen Jay‘s and Roaringstorm‘s photos!

 

Final NTT results

Grand Final:
1st Towns Villains Roller Derby
2nd Gladstone PCYC Roller Derby

Minor Final:
3rd Reef City Rollergirls RCRG
4th Darwin Roller Girls

Competition Ladder:
1. Towns Villains Roller Derby A (14)
2. Gladstone Roller Derby (12)
3. Darwin Roller Girls (10)
4. Reef City Roller Girls (8)
5. Towns Villains Roller Derby B (6)
6. Cairns Derby Dolls (4)
7. Malice Springs Roller Derby League (2)
8. Tableland Roller Derby (0)

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