Local skaters feature in roller derby event
Wednesday, 11th June, 2014
By Ethan James
Members of the Broken Hill Roller Derby League got the chance to rub shoulders with some of the Australia’s elite skaters at The Great Southern Slam at the weekend.
Forty-five teams from Australian and New Zealand congregated at the Adelaide Showgrounds over the long weekend for the largest roller derby event in the southern hemisphere.
That included a selection of Broken Hill ladies, who skated in the challenge tournament.
The event featured composite sides made up of skaters from leagues not large enough to form full teams of their own.
BHRL mentor Jodie Brealey, known as ‘Coach Sugar’, was on the sidelines supporting the girls.
“They’ve played really hard and have had a lot of fun which is the main thing,” she said.
On the first day of competition on Saturday, teams featuring Silver City skaters won three-from-three jams.
“It has gone right down to the wire a few times up until the point where in one jam it went right to the end where we had our jammer go out and win at the last moment,” Ms Brealey said.
“Leigh has been the one doing the last minute grabbing of the points, so she’s been excellent.
“People are learning that Kat is a brick... and that you can’t take her on.”
With Broken Hill not having a competition of its own, it was a welcome opportunity to put training into practice.
“A lot of the people are still leaning but that said, there are a lot of good skaters out there,” Ms Brealey said.
“They can take away that this is what it’s like to play in a competition.
“It adds to what they’ve been learning, for sure.”
The highlight of the second day was the Country Women’s Association teams going head-to-head in pink and yellow.
In layman’s terms, the aim of roller derby is to ensure your team’s ‘jammer’ completes as many laps of the circuit as possible.
Other members of the team act as blockers, with the goal of preventing the opposition jammer from passing.
Ms Brealey said it was a learning experience from a coach’s perspective.
“There are some great skills that I have picked up from watching some of the higher leagues warm up, as well as strategy,” she said.
“You’ve got to work out how you get your jammer out of the pack first, so we’ve picked up some interesting tips there.”
Ms Brealey was hopefully that the girls’ experience would lead to more people giving roller derby a shot in Broken Hill.