STEAK’s very first sponsored league: VRDL

Posted on Posted in #skateforsteaks, Roller Derby, STEAKS Blog

“We are thrilled to be number 1 and win the HYDRA this year! Thank you to STEAKS for keeping us padded and ready for anything thrown our way.” - VRDL

We are very excited to announce that we have our very first sponsored league and that this league is none other than the winner of this year’s WFTDA Champs: Victorian Roller Derby League.

You can look forward to seeing the VRDL All Stars fully clothed and protected by STEAKS in the upcoming season. Some of you might have already noticed that the entire team was wearing STEAKS protective bottoms during Champs. In 2018 this will be followed up by protective tops (not in our favourite color black but in the VRDL team jersey design) and protective accessories (shin guards) as well as arm bands.

VRDL’s quest to win the Hydra has not been an easy one. They have fought and lost in the final game two years in a row before finally taking the well deserved win home this year! Here is what Screw Barrymore #66 (Captain VRDL All Stars) has to say about this quest:

“VRDL first qualified for Champs in 2014 where we were knocked out in the quarter finals (by London). We then went on to place third in 2015 with a close game against Gotham where they beat us by 2 points. We also placed third in 2016 with another 2 point loss to Rose in the final Jam. This year it was amazing feeling just to be in that final game.

It was however heartbreaking to lose by 2 points in big games 2 years in a row. We knew we needed to be better than 2 points when heading to Champs in 2017, so we were motivated to train in a way that prepared us for those final games all season. We have different training focuses over the season, or sprints as our coaches call them. We made a big effort to not try and train everything but to focus on the things that would win us champs all season. My motivation took some time to come back after the 2016 loss. It was emotional, and hard. We were an amazing team and when you leave it all on the track it takes a while to get over that. Once we set our goals and started training for 2017 I knew it would be an amazing season.”

(l. to r.) Lorrae Evans, Jana Nuku and Screw Barrymore with the HYRDA after their well deserved win in the final game of the WFTDA Champs, Nov 5, 2017 in Philadelphia.

Two heartbreaks and a year later VRDL are the first team from outside of the US to take home the Hydra. A task that wasn’t an easy one and a task they prepared for all season, making the top of WFTDA rankings this year and overcoming one of their biggest obstacles - the distance to other teams:

We are in a difficult position being in Australia and not having many games during the season. I attribute our rankings success to our coaching team who carefully plan our sprints to tournaments and our seasonal goals. This season team culture was just as important as we invested in positive team vibes a lot.

As a team, we are driven to constantly be better than each other. We play each other a lot, and it's constantly a battle of who will come up with something to trick the other pack. This season we were definitely driven towards that final game at champs, and to win starts.

A lot of people were predicting us to win, which placed a bit of pressure on the team. We were confident in making it to that final game as WFTDA rankings don’t matter in a grand final! We felt like we had to back up the rankings with the big win and it feels good to have achieved both.”Since the big win, VRDL have been super busy showing the HYDRA - on her first trip outside of the US - some Aussie culture and being the best tour guides a champion trophy could wish for. (Check out their instagram to follow the shenanigans.) They have also been busy with interviews for newspapers and national TV shows like this one with The Morning Show:

Click on the image to check out Screw Barrymore's interview with The Morning Show

Overall we think these are exciting times, not only for VRDL but for the international roller derby community that has been growing and hosts more and more top ranked teams from outside of the US ! We hope VRDL can take some time off to enjoy before they head back into their first training sprint for the 2018 season for which we wish them walls of steel, sneaky & nimble jammers, smart team play and the best of time!

We are super excited to be working with this exceptional league and it makes us insanely proud that we are keeping you safe!

Photo credits:
Title image - PreFlash Gordon
Hydra image - Marko Niemelä Photography

Find out more about
STEAKS team uniforms!