A Melbourne roller derby team has won the sport’s world championship, becoming the first team from outside the USA to claim the prize.
Victorian Roller Derby League (VRDL) All Stars comfortably won the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) championship final in Philadelphia Monday morning Melbourne time.
The win saw the VRDL All Stars finish the year undefeated, having entered the championships as the world’s No.1 team according to WFTDA rankings.
Known as the Hydra, the WFTDA trophy is the premier contest in the world of flat track roller derby, with this year’s championship also featuring teams from Sweden, the UK, Canada and the USA.
Most valuable player
VRDL All Stars jammer Samara Pepperell, known on the track as Lady Trample, was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player (MVP).
Lady Trample said she was overwhelmed and excited, but mostly proud.
“My team has been working hard for years and I’ve been with them for the last two seasons working towards taking this out,” she said.
“We won without a doubt and I couldn’t be more stoked with the outcome.”
All Stars dominate championships
The All Stars began the championships convincingly on Friday with a 154-point win over Montreal.
That took them to Saturday’s semi-final against Denver, who they proceeded to trounce 287 points to 65.
The semi-final win set up a highly-anticipated match between the top-ranked Australians and defending champions the Rose City Rollers, from Portland, Oregon.
— quiggy@wftda🌹champs (@quiggy) November 6, 2017
The All Stars established their dominance early, leading Rose City 99-32 at half-time.
They maintained their hold to finish the final with 180 points to Rose City’s 101.
Loophole exploit fails
Flat track roller derby is a full-contact sport which sees players bump and bounce off each other as they roller skate anti-clockwise around a flat, oval track.
Roller derby matches, known as bouts, are broken into 30-minute halves, split into two-minute jams with 30-second breaks between each jam.
During a jam each team fields five of its 14 skaters – one jammer and a pack of four blockers.
Jammers start behind the pack and score a point for every opponent they manage to lap — a difficult task as the opposing team works to hamper them.
Lady Trample said the championship final began with the Rose City Rollers exploiting a rule allowing teams to have more than five skaters on the track until the start of a jam.
Ahead of the first jam, Rose City fielded two packs in an attempt to confuse the Australians, with one pack leaving the track as the opening whistle blew.
“We played our game. We weren’t worried about what they were doing,” Lady Trample said.
She was able to quickly lap Rose City with the help of All Stars blocker Shaina Serelson.
“We had control of the game from the very start, which was just an incredible feeling,” she said.