Adelaide Roller Derby Grand Final @ Adelaide Showgrounds, Wayville 3/8/2019

After months of hip and shouldering, of slamming opponents to the concrete, of trying to skate harder and faster than anybody else, that one day in August had arrived: the Adelaide Roller Derby (ADRD) 2019 Grand Final doubleheader.

Local legends Teenage Joans returned as rink side entertainment providing the ideal atmosphere for a night of enormous entertainment and festivities. Then it was time for the second greatest event of the night behind the skating; the yearly all team skate out. And what skate out it was! With Miss Informed stepping up for the Little Commie B@stards to commentate, the ADRD went to the movies in a montage worthy of a non-televised Academy Award win. The Wild Hearses, Road Train Rollers, Salty Dolls, Mile Die Club, Little Commie B@stards and Team Zebra, dazzled the massive crowd in Wayville Pavilion with their well-rehearsed and passionate take on movie classics. Everyone had the crowd in stitches in the ideal pre-match warm up.

With The Philistine, Finger Prince and The Eagle out of their leotards from their Flashdance homage, into tuxedos and back on the commentary desk, and Miss Informed roaming through the crowd, the whistle signalled the start of Road Train Rollers and Wild Hearses bout for third and fourth place.

Invader Scrim (447) opened as jammer and took the lead for the Roadies while Nikola Daniel (44), jamming for the Hearses, managed to get herself in the box almost immediately. Daniel’s pluck at such an early stage was representative of the Hearses overall attitude to this bout. Despite not having won a bout this season, they came out fighting. With a variety of jammers scoring points for the Hearses in a super-fast initial fifteen minutes, it was Bionic Mayhem (420) who stood out as a critical point scorer. Having Roadies Babe N Pow (3) and eleven year veteran Killa Kaze (11) sin-binned helped as did Mayhem’s stellar 24 point power jam. With 16:57 left on the clock it was indeed a wondrous sight to behold for this die-hard Hearses fan, the Hearses were ahead for the first time all season, 42-50.

The Roadies did not take this lying down. With some spectacular blocking from Letta Loose (76) and Rolling Tones (82), Babe N Pow (3), Honey Homicide (124) and Killa Kaze (11) jammed their way to triple digits quicker than you could say “whaaaat?” With eight minutes left on the clock, the Roadies lead 100-50. The remainder of half one saw some remarkable action from both teams, plus an official review after Brutiful (152) slammed a weary Bionic Mayhem (420) to the concrete after a 12 point jam. At half time the Roadies lead 121-82.

In her retirement bout, Roadies veteran Letta Loose (76) stepped it up in the second half highlighting why she has survived a decade in this sport. Opening as lead jammer Letta instantly added 10 points for the Roadies. Then when Nikola Daniel (44) powered through her slamming her to the ground, Letta returned the favour on the next pass hip and shouldering Daniel onto the concrete limiting her to 6 points. It was a brutal jam, and an absolute delight to watch a legend of the ADRD do what she does best.

The remainder of the second half saw some excellent blocking from both teams. Meryl Creep (396), Miss Guided (57), Paddywhack (4) and Eze-Kill (2517) for the Hearses and crush’er ramone (533), Letta Loose (76), Basil Brush (47), Elle Catraz (46) and Lady Vengence (13) for the Roadies were standouts limiting many a jammer to zero points. But when the jammers were able to break through the blockade, some big points were scored. True to her name, Crush’er ramone (533) crushed her way to 19 points and Bionic Mayhem (420), despite an elbow to the face from Goldie Blocks (2911), scored 18 points at one stage.

By the time the final jam rolled around the result was principally established, so it was time for some good old derby moves to be shared by the Roadies two retirees much to the delight of the crowd. After a quick costume change, Roadies OG Killa Kaze (11), wearing her first ever bout outfit, scored a mammoth 19 points assisted by Letta Loose (76). They shared three, yes three, extraordinary whips in their farewell jam which saw the Roadies come out on top taking third place, 238-148. It was a fitting send off for two veterans of the sport.

Swing Out Adelaide entertained everyone with their delightful swing dancing in the bout changeover. While not for profit organisation, Girls Rock Adelaide, were the recipients of this year’s charity raffle funds and presented with a generous donation from the ADRD.

With spirits high and a sensational ambience floating through Wayville Pavilion, it was time for the grand final bout, Mile Die Club versus Salty Dolls. From the moment the whistle blew, it was clear both teams had their eye on the prize. Mad Sqweelz Milz (43), Bobby Dazzler (55) and Evil Stig (05) set the lightning bolt pace for the Dies showing the Salties they meant business. Blue Wrenegade (2880), never to take a challenge lying down, returned the favour with a 7 point jam bringing the early score to 15-7. Rose Hip’n’shoulder (360) on the other hand, was metaphorically bitten by Moe Skeeto (33) and struggled to capitalise on a power jam opportunity soon after.

The Dies Mad Sqweelz Milz (43) was in a feisty mood and used it to her advantage managing a 16 point jam. However, both team’s blockers found the fire within which virtually brought the bout to a standstill for an entire jam. While Gnome Chompsky (8) tried to pass the star panty Count deBumps (123) in her famous coattails, QT (312) and Feisty Feline (72) did everything in their power to stop it at the southern end of the rink.

Meanwhile, at the western end of the rink Girl Rex Door (27) was struggling to get passed Crafty (101), Thrashin Pop (247) and Femmebot 3000 (303). No points were scored. At the soonest opportunity, Mad Sqweelz Milz (43) took the star panty back and jammed her way to 4 points undoubtedly unimpressed with Team Zebra for not picking up a penalty against the Salties. Even after she called off the jam, Sqweelz continued to challenge Always Latte to no avail.

Sqweelz passion continued evident by an apex jump into a 4 point jam soon after. The Salties appeared to have taken inspiration from Sqweelz with Rose Hip’n’shoulder (360) scoring a 4 point power jam and Blue Wrenegade firing up for 6 points before landing herself in the box. The hit and quit scenario continued for both teams for almost the entire duration of the first half keeping the score quite low. But with 1:19 left on the clock, Blue Wrenegade (2880) came out jamming like a boss for 19 points to bridge the gap 76-68. In true grand final fashion, Bobby Dazzler (55) took it up a notch for the Dies. After being dropped like a ton of bricks by IV (4), she backed it up with a 16 point power jam while Trinket (119) was sat in the box. At half time the Dies lead 93-72.

The second half saw an even bigger resurgence from the Dies eager to back up last year’s grand final win. The Salties, on the other hand, appeared to have swallowed some saltwater and unfortunately began gradually sinking to their watery graves. Despite some valiant efforts from Rose Hip’n’shoulder (360) who apex jumped her way to 4 points, Victoria Bitter (31), Trinket (119), Ghoulfriend (1701), usually a blocker, but throwing her skates into the rink for a jam and Blue Wrenegade (2880), the Salties were struggling. The jammers were not being supported by the blockers as much as they should have which, in the end, proved detrimental.

The Dies successfully capitalised on the gaps in the Salties defence which saw Mad Sqweelz Milz (43), a contender for the bout’s MVP award if one exists, fly through the pack and apex jump again to a 24 point jam. Evil Stig (05), Girl Rex Door (27) and Bobby Dazzler (55) also made sensational jamming strides to increase the final margin rapidly. The Dies were too strong on the day and again took out the skates trophy from the Salties, 208-121.

Big congratulations go out not only to the 2019 league champions Mile Die Club but to all the teams for their impressive efforts and an overall brilliant season.

Thank you, and good luck is extended to Killa Kaze (11), Letta Loose (76) and Team Zebra’s Hot Toddie, and anyone else retiring from the league. A further thank you is extended to ATG Publicity and the ADRD for allowing Hi Fi Way the opportunity to review season 2019.

Adelaide Roller Derby is an Adelaide institution that structures an empowering and enduring experience for the women of Adelaide. It promotes the values of safety, athleticism and teamwork while providing a family-friendly environment for all to enjoy. Beyond anything else, it is just a damn good time. Here’s looking forward to season 2020.

Live Review By Anita Kertes