The first night of winter heralded bout three of Adelaide Roller Derby’s (ADRD) 2019 season. In the face of low temperatures, a sea of people descended upon Adelaide Showgrounds to see if Wild Hearses could dig themselves out of their graves after a crushing defeat in bout two to take victory from last season’s runners up, Road Train Rollers.
Adelaide indie pop-punk duo, Teenage Joans, who played Laneway Festival earlier this year and are fast making a name for themselves in Adelaide, were the rink side pre-match and half time entertainment. Once the volume was slightly turned down on their already robust sound their music was able to be appreciated a lot more. They were a great lead into the always entertaining skate out, a skate out that was one of the best I have witnessed.
ADRD is a not-for-profit organisation run by the skaters for the skaters who are dedicated to promoting the sport. Although it is ultimately a competition that competition derives from a base of friendship and family. This was highly evident in the skate out. Instead of the teams individually taking to the rink, both the Hearses and Roadies skated out together to New Kids on the Block’s The Right Stuff highlighting the comradery that is rife within the league. Once Team Zebra’s whistles blew though, comradery was thrown out of the window.
The Hearses were clearly underdogs with their team of mostly fresh meat. The burning question was could they cause an upset against the Roadies well-established unit? Nikola Daniel (44) in her first ever bout with the Hearses started off as jammer in an attempt to do so. And for a short while, it looked like they were in with a chance. But then confusion reigned. Commentary team Little Commie B@stards, sans Finger Prince whose whimsical yet informed commentary was missed, were struggling to eloquently and succinctly inform us of what was going on, but after an almost immediate official review points were deducted from Wild Hearses.
From this point, my review takes a virtually identical turn to that of bout two, just replace Salty Dolls for Road Train Rollers…
The first half saw the Road Train Rollers capitalise on the less experienced Wild Hearses to surge ahead to lead 135 to 38 by the break. Despite a solid effort from some Hearses, especially Yellin’ Rage (022) who in addition to being a key scorer set up a spectacular whip via a subtle hand gesture in a blink and you’ll miss it move, the Roadies teamwork was far superior. Their blockers cohesiveness was commendable as they formed what can only be described as a brick wall to stop the Hearses jammers. Letta Loose (76) in her tenth season with the Roadies was a force to be reckoned with not only with her vicious blocking but her jamming too. Her former Muay Thai training was abundantly evident throughout the entire bout. To be honest, she had me quaking in my boots from the sideline.
The second half was almost identical to the first. As hard at the Hearses tried, they just were not able to capitalise on opportunities handed to them on a silver platter. Not many Roadies were sin-binned in the box but almost every time they were the Hearses wasted the power jam opportunity. Too many times they called the jam before scoring at all. The Roadies, on the other hand, monopolised almost every opportunity. Babe N Pow (3) was in stellar form all night. She appeared to get a relatively easy ride breezing past the Hearses blockers. She was able to score a mammoth amount of points including a 15 point jam and a whopping 24 point jam at one stage. Honey Homicide (124) and Co-Captain Invader Scrim (447) were also standouts for the Roadies with well-rounded performances.
In a bout consisting of multiple official reviews and rookie errors from the Hearses, the Roadies served up red hot road rage *insert 100 emoji* despite leading for the entire duration of the bout. They were rancorous and unwilling to take it out of fifth gear for even a second which is a testament to their professionalism and dedication. Crowd favourites Hearses (because who doesn’t love an underdog) had their moments of glory but failed to dig themselves out of their graves going down in an overwhelming 264 to 68 point defeat.
It was another awesome night of entertainment from the ADRD notwithstanding the score and it happens all again in two weeks’ time when last season’s champions Mile Die Club take on Salty Dolls for bout four on 15 June 2019 at the Adelaide Showgrounds. Doors open at 6 pm.
Adelaide Roller Derby Review By Anita Kertes