Tournament Recap: The Great Southern Slam
The Great Southern Slam -- the Southern Hemisphere's first modern roller derby tournament and the largest derby event ever -- offered a rare opportunity for the geographically dispersed leagues down under to come together to compete.
As expected, there were some surprises amongst the newer leagues in the tournament, perhaps most notably the Townsville team playing the more experienced Wollongong team to a draw and taking home the win in overtime. Team Pot Luck -- "everyone's second-favourite team" -- also turned a few heads in the relatively evenly-matched Pool E; they played top-seeded Geelong/Ballarat closer than the middle team, Perth, although it was Perth who would progress to the quarterfinal round based on their overall point differential.
While there were substantial blowouts in Saturday's round robin competition, the later stages of the tournament featured exciting games and high-level derby from the most experienced teams in the region.
ROUND ROBIN STAGES - Saturday morning
The home-town Adeladies easily scooped their pool in Saturday morning's round-robin competition, dispatching the younger Canberra and Van Diemen leagues by margins of over 100 points, and progressing through to the evening's quarter-finals.
Adelaide v Canberra: 165-42
Canberra v Van Diemen: 137-63
Adelaide v Van Diemen: 147-35
Point margins of over 100 points saw the Victorian Roller Derby League progress to the quarter-finals as pool winners, with the Northern Brisbane Rollers joining them as the second runner-up team, based on their overall point differential.
Victoria v Northern Brisbane 134-22
Northern Brisbane v Newcastle 155-45
Victoria v Newcastle 185-18
This pool contained one of the closest games of the Slam, with the Townsvillains triumphing over the Wollongong-Illawarra team in overtime. Sun State delivered crushing victories in their two games, moving on to the elimination portion of the tournament. Wollongong may have proven themselves the toughest team of the tournament - the entire crew suffered food poisoning on Friday night and yet arrived on Saturday morning ready to take on one of the hardest-skating teams in the region.
Sun State v Wollongong 178-16
Townsville v Wollongong 91-81
Sun State v Townsville 168-7
Many punters were anticipating that the experienced Pirate City crew would be a team to watch at the Slam and they delivered, beating Sydney and Western Australia by significant margins to progress to the quarter-finals. Sydney were the first runner-up team, based on point differentials, and joined Pirate City in the elimination stages after a strong defeat of Western Australia.
Pirate City v SRDL 145-30
SRDL v WARD 166-31
Pirate City v WARD 197-25
Compared to other groupings, Pool E contained relatively close games with no enormous blow-outs. The combined Geelong/Ballarat team emerged as the pool winner, with Perth taking out the third runner-up slot and progressing with them to the quarter-finals.
Geelong/Ballarat v Perth 148-80
Perth v Pot Luck 136-85
Geelong/Ballarat v Pot Luck 94-60