It was the weekend of the Eastern Region Roller Derby (ERRD) finals and there were two bouts to look forward to. First up was the bout to determine third and fourth spot which was between the Newcastle Dockyard Dames and Wollongong's Steel City Derby Dolls. I knew what to expect from the Dames. I'd never seen WIRD bout before but I've heard they're a tough, physical team to come up against. One player I was interested in seeing was WIRD's White Hawk. I've heard a lot about her in terms of her blocking skills, even Cherry said she was the toughest skater she's ever come up against. I was curious to see her come up against someone like Godjilla who loves a good hitting contest and see who would come out on top.
The bout came to life right from the first whistle when Steel City's Chakram got lead jammer over Hippy Hardarse. Thanks to some great defence from her blockers, Chakram was able to call off the jam and grab an early 8-0 lead. The Steel City blockers even got the measure of Godjilla as they double teamed her whenever possible so that she couldn't lay a hit on their jammers. It was all Steel City in the first few jams and it wasn't until the fourth jam that the Dames finally got lead jammer thanks to Booga but she called it off early to make it a nil all point jam.
The Dames started getting into the contest when DangeRass jumped over the apex to get lead jammer over Janis Job-em and score a 4-0 jam to bring the score to 15-8 for Steel City. Hippy Hardarse then added another four points in her next jam to make the score 15-12. Despite the comeback the Dames needed to find a way to stop White Hawk from dominating at the front of the pack, even without the pivot stripe on her helmet she was controlling the pack and as for her blocking, I was starting to see why she has such a big reputation, honestly it's almost near impossible getting past her.
The Dames did however manage to capitalise when White Hawk wasn't on the track when once again DangeRass got lead jammer, this time over Chakram as she scored an 8-0 jam to give the Dames the lead for the first time 28-23. Steel City appeared to bounce back when Underbelly Morelli got lead jammer over Brigand Strong then White Hawk to the detriment of her team went to land a hit and took most of her team out instead which allowed Brigand Strong to score a 4-1 jam and take the score out to 32-24 for the Dames.
Steel City formed a wall at the front of the pack but great team work from Godjilla and DangeRass created space for DangeRass to get past two blockers. Chakram got lead jammer and called it off for a 4-4 jam to make the score 36-32 for the Dames. Speaking of DangeRass and Jilla, I've noticed a pattern lately whenever they've played for the Fort Smashleys and the Dames. These two work as their own little unit. If DangeRass is jamming while Jilla is blocker, they'll be close to each other. Jilla will create the space for DangeRass to get through the pack, or give her a whip. They seem to operate on the same wave length when they're on the track.
This bout was a very physical encounter. The pack was skating at a quick pace and it wasn't until an official time out was called with ten minutes left in the first half with the score at 36-all that both the skaters and the crowd could start catching their breath back. Once the next jam started it didn't take long for the intensity to pick up when White Hawk knocked down Godjilla while Jilla was skating backwards. Almost instantly Dino La Rouge had the last laugh when she knocked down White Hawk.
Steel City went for a no pack start but it didn't take long for Godjilla to show everyone the human wrecking ball that she is at the front of the pack which helped Hippy score a 3-0 jam and help even the score 40-40. Steel City's Penny Nartsy managed to get lead jammer by skating along the outside line but then got sent to the penalty box so DangeRass capitalised with help from her blockers by slowing down the pack to allow her to catch up as she scored a 9-2 point jam. The Dames' Babycakes also joined in with points as she scored a grand slam to take the score out to 54-42. Special mention has to go to Lady Quirkinator as her massive hit on Steel City's iKandy stopped her from scoring any points.
The first half ended with Steel City's Demander got a whip from Unleashed but she got whipped face to face with Godjilla. I've noticed her do this more often in the last few bouts I've watched. If she does it for the intimidation factor, I'm sure it works real well just like in these pics taken by the legendary Kim Lee
Steel City came out with all guns blazing in the second half, almost all the jams they started with a no pack start to try and get their jammer scoring some much needed points. They eventually had a power jam as the Dames had a blocker and jammer in the penalty box and they closed down the deficit to 67-58. Babycakes tried to stop Steel City's momentum by getting lead jammer but when Godjilla lined up a hit to take out Steel City's jammer she ended up taking out her own team mate and a ref which allowed Chakram to score a 3-0 jam and cut the Dames lead to 69-61.
White Hawk and Janis Job-em (who really impressed me too, she'll hit anything that moves on the track in opposition colours) took turns stopping Babycakes from getting through the pack. I know jammers usually get all the glory but there was great blocking like this going on in this bout which made the crowd really get into it. Courtney Lovebite whipped Chakram to help her score a 2-0 jam and make it a 3 point bout 69-66.
Despite the comeback Steel City were mounting it was snuffed out again as the Dames starting picking up lead jammer consecutively. A 4-0 jam here a 9-0 jam there and the score is 87-70 for the Dames. Amongst all that while iKandy was jammer for Steel City, Dino La Rouge lined a hit on her that sent her flying into the crowd at the suicide seating.
I applauded Penny Nartsy when she appeared to face plant the floor but she got up and got lead jammer over Babycakes but then got smashed by Godjilla but got a 4-1 jam to make the score 101-75. Hippy fired out of the blocks to get lead jammer by the second bend but then the bout got really painful as there was a multi player stack which left the Dames' Fannie-tastic and Vicioushire Cat both injured. Vicioushire Cat came off the worst and ended up making a trip to the hospital after the bout.
DangeRass is a really good jammer but she can more than hold her own when it comes to blocking too which serves her well when she's jammer because she can take hits really well from opposition players. In one particular jam she actually outmuscled White Hawk on her way to getting lead jammer. It then left White Hawk and Godjilla to go at each other in a rare moment and my gosh was it great to watch as someone who wants to become a really good blocker.
Penny Nartsy gets lead jammer over Babycakes by hugging the outside line. Demander went for a hit on Babycakes but only succeeded in landing on her backside. Babycakes ended up outscoring Penny 7-6 to take the score to 113-82. The last jam summed up the bout. Lady Quirkinator tried stopping Chakram but she still got lead jammer over DangeRass. DangeRass managed to take down White Hawk and then Booga got taken out by a late hit. The bout ended 117-86 for the Dames in what was a great bout to watch and I imagine even better to have been involved in.
Special thanks to Roller Derby Au's Indy Carcass and WIRD's Courtney Lovebite for helping me identify some of the WIRD skaters for this post :) and to Mon who I watched the bout with, I learnt more rules and enjoyed your company.