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Roller derby league seeks new members

Roller derby league seeks new members

Rotorua’s roller derby league, the Sulphur City Steam Rollers (SCSR) are undergoing their second recruitment drive of the year and invite members of the public along to their information evening.

The league has been running since 2011 but has been steadily growing since 2013 and now has over 30 full members.

This is due in part to running regular recruitment drives which offer those interested in playing roller derby to take part in a 14 week course. During the ‘Groupies’ phase of their training, members learn basic skating skills including how to stop and fall safely as well as correct skating technique and partake in endurance training. Toward the end of the course they learn skills specific to roller derby including advancing to full contact training, hitting (using their bodies) and basic scrimmage skills.

SCSR co-founder Layla Robinson whose skater name is Primevil, and experienced skater Nat Calder (AKA Nat Damon) are the Groupies’ coaches and along with other members of the league spend many hours on building strong foundations for their skaters.

Once the Groupies have reached the end of their course, they sit the Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby Association’s Internationally recognised ‘Basic Skills Test’ which enables them to further their training within the league.

For many members, from the first official training to their first game can take a minimum of eight months.

“Roller derby isn’t a sport we grew up playing like netball or rugby, so the rules generally aren’t familiar.” Mrs Robinson explains. “The bouts are not televised and the fictitious stories of roller derby seen in movies are a far cry from the real thing! Modern derby follows an intensive rule set and our skaters are expected to have an excellent knowledge of this before ‘popping their bout cherry’ (playing their first game)”.

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While co-ed leagues are becoming more popular worldwide, SCSR are currently fostering all-women roller derby and invite women and those who identify as such to attend their Info Night & Skate With Us session. But men aren’t excluded entirely! Men and women who have an interest in Refereeing or becoming a Non-skate Official are welcome along too.

A roller derby Referee is a highly respected member of the derby community. During a bout, there are up to seven Referees on the track the entire time. SCSR Referees initially undergo similar physical training as skaters without the contact aspect. Instead, Head Referee Andrea Colledge (AKA Scorpy-Ho) focuses more time on teaching the rules and various calls, whistles and signals Referees are expected to make during a bout.

To attend the Sulphur City Steam Rollers Info Night & Skate With Us session, head to Waiariki Polytechnic’s Recreation Centre on Mokoia Drive at 6:30pm on Monday 14 September. For more information, visit the league’s Facebook page: or email:


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