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Block to the future: Canberra roller derby league 2015 grand final

Sophia Dickinson

If you’ve never been to a roller derby bout but always wanted to, this weekend is the perfect time to go.

It’s the Canberra Roller Derby League (CRDL)’s 2015 grand final! Four teams: the Surly Griffins, the Red Bellied Black Hearts, the Black n Blue Belles and the Brindabelters, will smash it out to determine the ultimate rankings for 2015.

Yes, it’s a real-life version of that Drew Barrymore movie right here in Canberra!

Brindabelters blocker and CRDL Vice President Amy McDonell, aka Boudica, told us why HerCanberra readers should head along and bring the whole family.

“Roller derby is a highly strategic and physical sport which makes it incredibly exciting to watch,” says Amy. “If you want to see tough and determined Canberra women pushing the boundaries of athleticism and defying stereotypes of what our bodies are capable of, come along!”

Black 'n' Blue Belles v Red Bellied Black Hearts. Photographer: Brett Sargeant, D-eye Photography

Black ‘n’ Blue Belles v Red Bellied Black Hearts. Photographer: Brett Sargeant, D-eye Photography.

“We put on fun, family-friendly events and we always love showcasing our sport to the awesome Canberra community.”

‘Boudica’ is inspired by ‘female badassery’, taking her derby name from the queen of a tribe in Celtic Britain who led an army in revolt against the occupying Romans. She liked her spirit of rebellion and toughness in the face of overwhelming odds.

Boudica dedicates between seven and ten hours per week over three or four days to roller derby.

“It sounds like a lot when you add it up, but honestly it feels like getting to spend ten hours a week with your best mates. CRDL is full of passionate, dedicated people, and spending so much time surrounded by that kind of energy is incredibly positive,” says Amy.

 She credits the league’s success to the devotion of the skaters.

“I think that’s a big part of the reason why we’ve seen so much success as a league – everyone is committed to the sport and to their teammates and that in turn drives this constant desire to improve.”

It will be the first grand final for some of the skaters who joined the league in November 2014, which is a proud and exciting achievement for Boudica.

Black 'n' Blue Belles v Red Bellied Black Hearts. Photographer: Brett Sargeant, D-eye Photography

Black ‘n’ Blue Belles v Red Bellied Black Hearts. Photographer: Brett Sargeant, D-eye Photography.

“To see them progress through their training, be drafted to teams, and then make their debut in front of our wonderful Canberra crowds has been a massive highlight. Watching these women grow in skill and confidence has been really rewarding and I’m really looking forward to seeing what the atmosphere of grand final day brings out in them.”

The teams train together a lot, so while they don’t have secret gameplays, each one will bring their own strengths to the finals.

“We know the Griffs play strong offence and have devastating walls, while the Black Hearts have powerful jammers and a real knack for solid teamwork. The Black n’ Blue Belles are always tenacious and together, and the Brindabelters excel at locking down opposition jammers,” says Amy.

“As a Belter I’ll be working hard with my team to try and take out third place against the Belles.”

“As for the grand final itself, it’s impossible to predict which of the Griffs and Black Hearts will end up taking the trophy. Both teams have been looking strong and no matter who emerges victorious the game will be a cracker.”

the essentials
What:The CRDL 2015 Grand Finals
When: Saturday 14 November, Doors open at 3pm, bronze bout at 4pm (Brindabelters vs Black n Blue Belles), first place bout at 6:30pm (Surly Griffins vs Red Bellied Black Hearts).
Where: Southern Cross Stadium, 22 Cowlishaw St Tuggeranong
Tickets: Available online here.  
Adults: $20 + booking fee
Kids (5-15): $12 +booking fee
Family (2 adults, 2 kids): $47.50 + booking fee
Kids under 5 free with paying adult


Sophia Dickinson

Sophia is a true Canberra girl having been born and raised here, and she now works in the public service. She loves Canberra for all it has given her from a great education, fulfilling work to opportunities to indulge her love of dance and music. She is passionate about travel and writing, and studied post-graduate media and communication. She has appeared in several local amateur theatre productions, although she prefers to be an audience member these days. More about the Author

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