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It’s all over red roller!
It came. It went. It’s gone.
And so is a little piece of the Malice Springs heart.
But thankfully, filling that tiny little hole is a whole pile of love and overflowing enthusiasm from the amazing skaters and zebras that we had visit our small little league in the middle of nowhere to help us pull off our biggest adventure yet: OUR FIRST EVER LIVE HOME BOUT!!!
After over a year in the making, our remote little league laid out our brand new skate court in preparation for Duels in the Desert on Thursday October 10th at St Philips College. And it was beautiful. The 8hr set-up of the 8,300-piece track nearly killed Dial M for Mayhem, Mad Axe, and Sik Em, but when the shiny new track was complete Duels fever set in! Many thanks go to the helpful hands of many and especially Giles (Mad Axe’s sweetheart) whom we couldn’t have done it without, and the support of TOLL express, whose last-minute fork-lift and truck were a Godsend!
Our two new favourite All Stars from VRDL, Tiger and Swish Cariboom, arrived in Alice in style and kicked off an awesome weekend of training on Saturday morning for all of our fabulous visiting friends. We had skaters from Kalgoorlie’s Gold City Rollers, Wangaratta’s North East Roller Derby League, Gawler Roller Derby League and, our besties, the Darwin Roller Girls. We even had a few lovely gentlemen join us for training and scrimmage from the Gentleman Rollers of Darwin! Look out!
Of course, we can’t reveal here the secret amazingness that was the Swish and Tiger VRDL bootcamp. But we can tell you that it was totally rad and we all totally learnt some super useful tricky new skatalicious skills and you and your league should like, totally hire an All Star for your very own weekend of roller derby madness. ‘Cause these guys rock!
At the same time, the fabulous Paxilon Reaver of Darwin Roller Girls and Disco Steward of Lil Adelaide Rollers were leading the visiting referees through an equally awesome zebra bootcamp. We had refs from South Side Derby Dolls, Gawler Roller Derby League, and of course our lovely Karnivorous from MSRDL. And for the first time ever, Karni had a herd.
After 10 hours of skating over Saturday and Sunday… the bout was on! (and our legs were jelly!)
Our visiting friends (including the VRDL All Stars!) helped the Malice girls beef out our numbers to form two small (but solid!) competing teams: the Ghan Derailyas and the Bush Bombshells, modelling our wicked new Duels in the Desert merchandise in black and red, respectively. The Thorny Devil Samba Band got the girls going with some heart-thumping beats, as a crowd of over 200 trickled in to watch Alice’s first ever live derby game (a pretty good turn-out for a town this size!). And although many had never even heard of derby before attending, let alone understood the rules, our lovely commentators, BeVenge (from Darwin Roller Girls) and Ed Nicholson from Alice, talked the audience through a slow-mo jam before the real game kicked off. And we were away!
It was a close match, with the two teams almost neck and neck at half-time and at least a quarter of the crowd finally catching on to the general gist of the game… I think The awesome duo Circosis, starring none other than Malice’s own Raging Ruby, put on a spectacular display of acrobatic feats to keep us entertained in the break, followed up by the equally awesome musical duo Bat Hazzard, also starring a Malice girl- Steph Hazzard herself! Aren’t we a talented bunch?!
The second half was just as hair-raising as the first, though thankfully injury-free, thank you St Johns! And the final score was 281:205 to the Ghan Derailyas. But everyone was a winner in this game. For the Malice girls, Duels felt like an unachievable feat that gobbled itself up faster than our little hearts could take! But there’s no doubt we’ll be back for more, thanks to the truly lovely visiting skaters, refs and NSOs who travelled all the way to Alice from across Australia, and whom we hope had as much fun as we did.
Of course there are many, many people we need to thank, starting with those mentioned above, as well as the wonderful NSOs who helped to make the game possible, and were trained in true Territorian style at the last minute by Kaos Bob from South Side Derby Dolls, with many thanks. Our principle sponsors were NT Sport and Recreation, TravelWorld, Kafe Gonzo, TOLL express, St Philips College, OneSteel, ASPrint, Alpitye Arts Studio and of course our after-party host with the most, Mulga’s Montes. Thanks to Kyran Smith of Cutlery for providing some groovy beats to unwind to, Pirate, Oliver Eclipse, Alexandra Hullah and Newtonstar Photography for documenting the event, Alice Sports News on Sun 969, 8HA radio, and 8CCC radio stations and The Advocate for their support in promotions, the Alice Springs Youth and Community Centre, the Darwin and Adelaide crew for helping us pack up the court, Centralian Middle School, Northline, Crazy Skates, Ju Ju Beane, Duncan Rae, Bunnings Warehouse, Brumby’s Bakery, Northern Territory General Practice Education, Centralian Sports, Margaret Furber, Samcakes and Killakaze and our own Toya, Nicki, Gina, Double0Psycho and RoboGeisha for their contributions to Duels in the Desert, 2013.
Words by Armadreaddon
The time has come.
The stars have aligned.
The small few members of Australia’s most remote derby league have combined their forces in a huge effort to bring you… (drum roll please)
DUELS IN THE DESERT!
The first ever live display of Roller Derby to hit Alice Springs! (isn’t this reason enough to come?!)
It’s gonna be awesome, so you’d better get your butt out here!
Malice Springs RDL has been working hard to get to this point, but we need YOU to make it happen!
We want to showcase roller derby to the people of Alice to show them what a great sport it is! AND we want to hold a seriously fun derby weekend for skaters from all over Australia in one of the country’s most well-known outback towns (that you may not have ever been to!).
WHO: You + Us
This event is open to individual skaters and officials from all over Australia. That means YOU!
WHAT: a weekend of bootcamp, challenge bouts (look it up, they’re great) and an awesome derby show-down to bring in the crowds to top it all off.
WHY: for the love of derby baby! And to help our little league grow. Awww!
WHEN: Oct 12-13 which is the same weekend as our amazing Mbantua Festival (the last one was 12 years ago!) – a massive cultural event with artists, dancers, musicians and more from a whole bunch of Indigenous communities surrounding Alice. You should def check this out between bouts!
WHERE: Alice Spriiiiings! Yeeewwww!
Seriously, Alice is a cool town. No, you can’t see Uluru from here (though it is only a 4hr drive), but you can readily access the Western and Eastern MacDonell Ranges for some wicked camping and some seriously beautiful scenery, or you can stay in town and make the most of the many cool venues and events that are ever-present in Alice. We’ll show you the ropes.
Just click the Duels in the Desert tab up the top and you will get the full details on this tournament!
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
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.
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
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
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 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.
Final NTT results
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)
The girls from Malice Springs have at long last purchased their skatecourt!
With a grant from the Department of Sport and Recreation and raising a substantial amount through their online fundraiser campaign, the league is close to realising their dream: to host a local roller derby bout.
Pending the expansion of the Alice Springs Youth and Community Centre’s rink, the portable skate court overcomes their first hurdle towards securing a suitable permanent venue to train and compete.
The portable skatecourt, which is made up of 8,300 tiles, will arrive in Adelaide on May 6th. It will remain in storage until it is laid out at the Centralian Middle School for Alice Springs’ first ever roller derby competition: ‘Duels in the Desert’ which will be held on 12-13 October later this year.
“We’ll be inviting skaters from all over Australia to demonstrate this amazing sport in the heart of the Outback. These skaters will form their own teams known as ‘Challenge Bouts’. This inaugural event will highlight how we build community, and showcase what the desert is made of! We see this as an annual event, with it being combined in next year’s Masters Games,” says Dial M for Mayhem.
This is a very exciting time for Malice Springs; getting the league ‘whipped’ into shape in preparations for Duels in the Desert. Members have attended referees clinics in Sydney, boot camps in Darwin alongside the Darwin Roller Girls and Katherine Derby Dolls and the girls are training hard to compete at the Northern Tropical Thunder Tournament in Townsville in June.
Malice Springs is currently seeking sponsors and expressions of interest to support their efforts.
“I’m proud of what our little remote league has achieved so far. But we need lots of community support to make Duels in the Desert happen,” adds Mad Axe, “We need security guards, food stalls, toilets, forklifts and anyone with lots of enthusiasm who would like to get involved!”
To get in touch, visit the girls at the Alice Springs Youth and Community Centre or email firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 0430228555.