The Victorian Roller Derby League Victoria All-Stars of Melbourne, VIC, AU (seed #1) secured their spot at the 2016 International WFTDA Championships with a win over the Philly Roller Derby Liberty Belles of Philadelphia, PA, USA (seed #4) in a game that looked tight on the track even as Victoria kept a substantial lead throughout the game.
The last time Victoria and Philly met in sanctioned play was at the 2014 WFTDA D1 Playoffs in Charleston when Victoria won 185-119. Since then Victoria has steadily climbed the WFTDA rankings to their current #2 spot, while Philly—currently ranked #13 in WFTDA—has been working hard this season to climb back into the top 10.
That hard work showed on the track today. Philly’s blockers were merciless on the lines, allowing them to draw back the Victoria jammers during long scoring runs to slow their momentum. Philly was quite often able to keep up with the frenetic energy and agility of Victoria’s jammers, but they struggled to lock down their defense as VRDL jammers swiftly maneuvered through the pack.
Philly’s jammers had a much tougher time of it. Victoria’s machine-like defensive formation was in full force today, and they held Philly to just 17 points in the second period and to only 5 lead jams in each period—undeterred even by PRD power jams. Standout blocking from Biceptual and Dani Darko helped control the Philly jammers, but the success of the Australians’ defense seemed to come from their ability to move seamlessly together, even as they sent offense to help break up the Philly walls that were giving trouble to VRDL jammers.
In the end, Victoria’s agility, power, and disciplined defense dominated, and Philly wasn’t able to control the gameplay. Victoria came away with a 258-61 victory and on Sunday at 6 p.m. PT will take on the winner of Game 11—either the Rat City Roller Girls (seed #3) or Angel City Derby Girls (seed #2)—to see who will clinch a first round bye at WFTDA Champs Nov 4-6 in Portland, OR, USA.
Philly isn’t out of a championship running just yet. They play in the third place game tomorrow at 4 p.m. PT and will take on either Rat City or Angel City for another chance to make it to WFTDA Champs.
Victorian Roller Derby League (#1) 258
Philly Roller Derby (#4) 61