It takes a “special breed of woman” to play the fiercely physical endeavour that is roller derby, says a veteran of the sport.
Boasting players nicknamed ‘Violent Femme’ and ‘Eeny Meany’, Nelson club the Sirens of Smash (SOS) certainly don’t lack aggressive women.
Founded in 2010, the Sirens of Smash are currently ranked 16th in the country and for the first time in its history, the club will field two teams this season.
Club coach and player Meagan Turner, says she wanted to help the league progress and develop, so stepped into coaching.
“We have focused on the growth and recruitment by creating a really supportive environment.”
Her drive has been a success, with the club experiencing a surge in numbers.
They have attracted so many new members, that the SOS will field a second side this season.
“We now have about 30 players.”
The SOS kicked off their 2018 season in Levin on May 19. The A team won one out of two while the B’s fell short in their opening bout.
“We did really well because they are much higher than us in the rankings.”
The side has a highest historical ranking of 7th and Meagan says the goal for the side this year is to once again crack the top ten.
The SOS played their first home game on Saturday as the Northland Nightmares rolled into town. The A side won 132-103 to start the season unbeaten from their first two bouts.
Meagan says roller derby isn’t for the faint-hearted.
“You have to be fairly resilient and passionate about full contact sport.”
‘Violent femme’ says players also need to be physically fit in order to take that hard impact.
“Because it’s high speed, you can take some really weird falls which can result in some pretty nasty breaks.”
Meagan says the game enforces very strict rules to ensure the girls don’t get hit “somewhere unsafe,” such as the back of the head.
Meagan began her roller derby career back in 2011.
“I saw the Sirens play at the Trafalgar Centre and have fallen in love with it ever since.”
She says the roller derby community is a global one.
“Almost anywhere in the world you can find roller derby.”
Her goal is to compete at the next World Cup in the United Kingdom.
The United States are the current world champions, winning the 2018 tournament by beating Australia 187-147 in the final.
Team Aotearoa finished 11th out of the 38 competing nations.
For any women interested in joining the club, visit the teams Facebook page facebook.com/Sirens.of.smash/, or pop along to a Thursday night training.