The South Melbourne Centaurs make their quidditch debut in Easton Shield against the mighty Melbourne Unicorns.
We kick off Easton Shield with the Melbourne Manticores taking on Wrackspurts Q.C.
Article also appeared in the Moorabbin Glen Eira leader and was published online here
The end of the Victoria Cup season saw old rivalries burning strong, glory for a team that fought to their utmost, and everyone leaving with more experience than they had going in. With the Victorian Quidditch Association’s Easton Shield fast approaching, we hear from our teams about what they expect to happen in the next tournament, and in the future.
A. Lahiff, Melbourne Manticores
The conclusion of last season has seen the retirement of several veteran Manticores. Do you think the recent additions you debuted at MudBash are up to the challenge of bringing the Manticores back up to the top rung of quidditch in Victoria?
We are quite selective as a team in those we bring in, and we believe the person must ‘fit’ with us as a team both on the pitch and socially. We also have a voting-in process for all new players – potential new players need to receive at least half of the votes from the current team to be formally added. With that said, I definitely think our new players will augment our team, both in numbers and in skills. We struggled throughout the Victoria Cup 2013 season with numbers; sometimes we would only have one or two subs. I think the new players will allow us to sub more often and therefore bring stronger offence/defense to the pitch. Our new players are very strong competitors and will enhance our on-field presence.
You’ve been playing quidditch for a while now, and accrued a wealth of knowledge. What is the main advice you give your new players as you ready them for Easton Shield?
For male players, it would be to pass to your female team members. I see so many teams, particularly Victorian teams, that don’t use their female players effectively. The strength of your quidditch team can be measured by the strength of your girls.
G. Tredrea, Monash Muggles
Last season we watched as the Muggles dominated Victoria’s first extended league and on top of that, claim glory at Melbourne MudBash. Are you and the team feeling the pressure to retain your top spot, and how (if at all) has this affected you as you prepare for Easton Shield?
We’ve kept our training for Easton Shield relatively the same, as it seems to be a winning strategy. It puts on a little more pressure to maintain the winning streak, but for us it’s created more of a determination to win.
The Muggles are known for their great team dynamic, both on and off the pitch. Has adding new faces to the lineup presented you with any challenges?
When adding new players to a well-established team there’s always going to be a rough transition period, but recently we all went away on a training camp and that really helped the newer and older members bond, both on and off the pitch. We’re really looking forward to Easton as it’ll be a great opportunity to debut our new players, who have done a spectacular job in picking up the rules and being really enthusiastic about the game.
U. Bucalossi, Wrackspurts QC
Your team has changed a lot from the one that went into Victoria Cup last year. What are your hopes for the Wrackspurts going into Easton Shield?
With two of our international players going back to Europe, three leaving to join another team, and another four leaving quidditch altogether, we got our ranks pretty much halved. Luckily enough we’ve managed to get some great new people involved. Some of our most competitive players joined another team and replacing them with inexperienced players obviously sets our expectations back a bit. We are going to take this as a good chance for our newbies to get some practice and for the whole team to learn to play together again. Hopefully this will enable us to fill the gap that now divides us from the top teams and make us really competitive for the next Victoria Cup.
What are some of the things you learned as a team during Victoria Cup, and how do you think that’ll help you going into Easton Shield?
Without getting too specific and giving out too much about our plans, I can say that we have learned what our weaknesses and our strengths are. The idea is to play in a way that makes us less exposed to our weaknesses and exalts our strengths. One thing that I hope the team has learnt is the important of commitment to training. That really made the difference, in positive and negative, for us last season.
T. Rawson, Blackburn Basilisks
The Basilisks proved that they’re a force to be reckoned with last season, defeating long-time rivals, the Manticores, not once but twice, and only losing out in the grand final by a snitch catch. How do you think the Basilisks will fare in Easton Shield with the classic line-up we’ve seen in the past while most other teams have added new players to the fold?
Unfortunately the Basilisks have lost a few of our classic players, with Matt moving on to the Monash Muggles, and Luke taking a step back from quidditch to focus on his career. We absolutely loved having them with us, and as they were part of the original founding team, it is sad to see them go. That being said, we are also excited for the space and opportunities their absence has provided us with. We’re going to be shifting things around and will have some surprises up our sleeves. And, as they say, original is best! I’m especially looking forward to approaching the Easton Shield as the new captain; I think what’s important for the Basilisks is going to be honing our skills, rather than growing in numbers. I’m happy with where we’re sitting right now, so bring it on!
With you and two other Basilisks facing up to the rigours of international competition at Global Games, will this experience inform your training of the team as you prepare for Easton Shield, and later, for your debut at QUAFL?
Absolutely. Having Alli and James experience the full forces of the USA and UK quidditch with me has provided us with excellent experience. Alli got to experience a whole new beating game, and James and I came up impressive female and male chasers. I think we will definitely be bringing back what we saw and implementing it into trainings. The bottom line, however, is that you can only do your best, and that is all I expect from my team. I can’t ask them to run faster than they can, or throw harder. I can only ask them to put their all into trainings, and if they do I think we’ll hit QUAFL with a bang.
N. Hirst, Melbourne Unicorns
What are some of the main things you learned as a team during Victoria Cup, and how do you think these will help you going into Easton Shield?
When we started out in Victoria Cup we were inexperienced and unprepared for the tough, but fun environment that Victorian quidditch is. What we learned as the Cup progressed was that working together as a team was instrumental to our success. While basic skills are essential, the ability to work cohesively with each member of the team is what sets apart the different teams. Since Melbourne University’s O-Week in March, swelling our player base to over twenty, the Unicorns have been bonding together with many social events and weekly trainings. This will hopefully allow us to start playing competitively against one of the four older teams.
Your team has a very “We’ve got nothing to lose” approach to quidditch. Do you think this helps you as a team, and what are your long-term aspirations for the Unicorns?
With no expectations, there is little pressure on the Unicorns. While this definitely provides for more enjoyable games, our players are not pushed as hard. We believe as a team that quidditch is about having fun first, and winning comes second. In the long term, the Unicorns would like to become more competitive, and we’re looking to enter QUAFL in 2015. More importantly though, we’d like to bring quidditch to the wider community at Melbourne University.
C. Saunders, Northern Direwolves
Now you’ve got Victoria Cup and Melbourne MudBash under your belt, you’re definitely no longer the new kids on the pitch. Has this added any pressure to you as a team as you prepare to go into Easton Shield?
Since we’re no longer the newest team, the pressure is on to get some victories on the board. We still lack numbers and experience compared to the stronger teams, but we’ve shown that we have the ability to hold our own out on the field, and Easton Shield should be our time to shine.
What have you learned as a team so far, and what do you hope to accomplish in the future?
As a team we are reaching the stage where we really gel together and cooperate. The big personalities (mainly myself) have been reigned in, and we are learning how to play to all our individual strengths. We aim to show out on the pitch that our strength as a whole is far more than the sum of our parts, and we are determined not to expand our wooden spoon collection any further!
M. Braham, South Melbourne Centaurs
As the newest team on the Victorian quidditch scene, nobody quite knows what to expect from the Centaurs. What challenges have you faced readying a team to play against six already established and fiercely competitive teams?
There have been countless challenges preparing the Centaurs as a team in time for the upcoming Easton Shield, and I think we still have a long way to go. The biggest obstacle has been uniting a group of players who are not the sportiest people in the world into a cohesive unit. Getting everyone excited to play and train has been quite harrowing at times, but I believe we are starting to find our legs, all four of them.
You could say the Centaurs have nothing to lose, but also everything to prove. What are your hopes for the South Melbourne Centaurs in Easton Shield?
The Easton Shield will be a steep learning experience more than anything else. As very few of our team are established players, this tournament will be the learning curve we need to prepare us for later games in the year. I think we will be happy with a few wins this season, maybe knocking off one of the established teams. But more than anything we’ll be happy to just see some team growth.
We look forward to seeing all teams return to the pitch for Easton Shield, which begins with Round 1 on Saturday August 9 at 10am at Fawkner Park, South Yarra!
The Victorian Quidditch Association is excited to present to you the fixture for our upcoming gameplay, The Easton Shield! With the release of this fixture, we asked Blackburn Basilisks Captain T. Rawson to say a few words about our upcoming tournament.
Easton Shield: the tournament on everyone’s lips!
A 14 round play off between Victoria’s finest will officially kick off August 9th. This one-off tournament is in honour of Nic Easton, my incredible cousin who lost his battle with Leukemia on January 1st.
Regardless of how tough things got, Nic would do his best to put on a brave face, to stay positive and to never give up. He fought till his last breath, and his positivity and incredible fight in challenging situations and strength is what we want all VQA players to embody.
His spirit lives on in his family and friends, and thanks to the amazing admin team and all the Victorian players, he now lives on in quidditch.
I am eternally grateful, honoured and touched by everyone’s support, and on behalf of him and his family I just want to say thank you. Thank you for honouring such an amazing man, and may we play every game with a fighting spirit and a smile on our face, just like Nic.
We look forward to seeing all players, old and new, return to the pitch on Saturday 9 August at 10am at Fawkner Park!
It was a frighteningly cold morning as ten Quidditch teams trudged down to Alma Park for the second annual Melbourne MudBash, a tournament brought into fruition by the ever hard-working Emma. Rain fell sporadically over the weekend, but that didn’t stop us. After all, it isn’t called MudBash for nothing.
For many, it was their first time playing Quidditch on Victorian soil. For many others, it was their first time facing the unknown forces of New South Wales and A.C.T. But for all, it was a weekend that brought as much fun as it did aches, and one we hope will bring everyone back to play Quidditch with us next year. Here are some of their stories.
N. Gertler, Monash Muggles
Taking out the title of MudBash Champions for 2014 after entering the tournament not expecting to even grab sight of a medal was an incredibly proud moment to be a Muggle. The support of the Victorian teams cheering us on highlighted that firstly, everyone was desperate to keep the crown of MELBOURNE MudBash in Melbourne, and secondly, the friendships among the teams that hold the VQA together. The ‘undefeated until the grand final’ team of Stephen and Friends complete with 3 Global Games players, 1 member of the QUAFL 2013 champion team the Perth Phoenixes, 2 members of the QUAFL 2013 runners up Macquarie Marauders, and powerhouse players from UNSW and UWS looked to be a terrifying opponent whom had dominated Pool B and defeated the Basilisks 90*-0. However, the teamwork and discipline of the Muggles saw them win the grand final with the snitch catch to Muggles newbie N. Kemister to put the final score at Muggles 70* – 60 Stephen and Friends.
B. Smart, Welsh Greens
MudBash was my favourite tournament last year, so I decided to make it the only tournament to attend this year. It was just as amazing as last year, if not more, because of how many teams attended. I loved playing as a mercenary because it gave me to chance to play with, rather than against some of my quid-friends, and also gave me the opportunity to play with some people I’d never met before. My favourite moment was probably when us and the Direwolves were battling for the wooden spoon and both teams got carded for two-arm tackling because we had a group hug. It was up to the two Keepers to then fight for a minute or two until goal score. It was absolutely hilarious. I also enjoyed watching the Nargles stuff around in their game against the Wrackspurts with Armstrong jumping through the hoop into his teammates’ arms. And when they pulled Manoeuvre B, which is a thing my mercenary team, Poison Ivy, did at Quidcamp in 2013 where we yell it out and the team falls to the ground clutching their legs and crying out in pain.
L. Derrick, University of Sydney Unspeakables
Melbourne MudBash was an awesome blast for me and my team. Travelling down to Melbourne, we were coming to have some fun and that’s exactly what we had as we were welcomed with open arms by all the Victorian teams. Our games against the Wrackspurts, Unicorns, Direwolves, and Basilisks were competitive and enjoyable. It was awesome finally playing against these teams I had only heard about, and I was not let down with their great competitive play, fun banter on pitch, and interesting conversations off pitch.
The competitive nature mixed with friendly of all players on pitch was great to see. Snitching in the game with the Blackburn Basilisks vs Melbourne Manticores was one of the highlights of the tournament for me. I talked lots as I competed against the Seekers, making it as difficult for them to catch me as possible while chatting to them as friends. Another great moment for me was talking to the Basilisks captain halfway through the second day and him telling me his favourite game that weekend had been the one against us. That really made my day and showed that we had represented ourselves well. I will definitely be back next year for one of the best tournament experiences I have ever had.
M. Mannering, Melbourne UniCorns
After playing only two games in the Victoria Cup and having such a long wait since the grand final, I was Quidditch deprived and keen-as-mud for MudBash. I was looking forward to seeing how the Unicorns had progressed, if the Direwolves managed to grab any new players, catching a glimpse of the new rookies in action, and seeing what kind of moves the interstate teams could pull out. As a newbie to the world of Quidditch, I was yet to see some of the Victorian teams play, let alone the fact that interstate teams existed. Well, they do exist, and with some weird quirks, like their brooms, which don’t really look like brooms at all but more like lethal weapons with sponges on the end to cover up their deadly intent.
Being knocked out early on Saturday morning meant that I don’t really remember anything from that first day, so all momentous occasions come from Sunday. The first was Tim catching the snitch in our game against the Welsh Greens and winning us our first match of the tournament. At first this was called a no-catch due to both Seekers grabbing the snitch at the same time. Tim persevered and eventually claimed the gold ball for himself. Some snitches were up to no good, and two snitches changed jumpers, confusing both players and spectators alike. Snitches always seem to have the best fun. It was one of the best weekends ever. Massive shout-out to the people who ran the Twitter feed; it was fantastic for picking out awesome plays and was perfect for those following it during the grand final.
I ended the weekend on a massive high, lots of bruises, and severe Quidditch Withdrawal Symptoms. I had a fantastic tournament and I can’t wait to take on the Victorian teams in the Easton Shield and the Australian teams at QUAFL.
Thank you to everyone for coming, and we hope to see even more teams join us for Melbourne MudBash 2015!
Our campaign to help the Vic Six get to Canada closed just over a week ago, and we’re very pleased that we surpassed our $3,500 target, raising a total of $3,600. The players will be heading to Burnaby very soon as part of Team Australia for this year’s Global Games, with the one-day tournament on July 19th. The Victorian Quidditch Association would like to thank everyone who donated, and say that we could not be more proud of the Team Australia squad. You have all our support as you rep the green and gold in Canada.
Please check out our interviews with the Vic Six below, and join us in wishing them well.
The original article can be found here.
Just over 11 months ago, 6 teams and 74 players gathered on the field at Monash University for the first annual Melbourne MudBash quidditch tournament. The Melbourne Manticores took home gold medals while the Basilisks slithered away with silver. Both teams are returning with a bang to defend the MudBash title and fight for glory. However this weekend we see our team list grow to include the two youngest Victorian teams and three teams of travelling interstate players, while the tournament will lose the local Orions. MudBash 2014 has double the players and double the play time of MudBash 2013 and we are set to hit the pitch at Alma Park East on both June 28 and 29.
With so many teams and so little time, Melbourne MudBash 2014 will be the first Victorian tournament to have two pitches and two pools of play.
In Pool A (otherwise known as the Pool of Ultimate Destruction) we will see the reigning champions (Melbourne Manticores…not that you need a reminder, they are always reminding you) face off against the newly crowned victors of the Victoria Cup, the Monash Muggles. The two powerhouses will meet with the Northern Direwolves and the Australian National Nargles all of whom will be fighting it out against a surprisingly impressive mercenary squad.
The Melbourne Manticores are coming at you with a larger squad than ever before. Some of our oldest players will be retiring after MudBash 2014 and many of our rookies are using MudBash as the diving board for their jump into the quidditch world. They are ready to shake things up against the Victoria Cup champions, the Monash Muggles, and relish in the defeat of the Welsh Green mercenaries, many of whom come from the Manticores’ longstanding frenemy team the Newcastle Fireballs.
The Manticores were flying high on a winning streak after Winter League and only barely missed out on a medal during the Victoria Cup, they will be fighting their hardest to get back on top, instilling fear into their enemies with the mightiest of roars.
Who better to temper the sheer size of the Manticores than the ever-enigmatic and persistent Northern Direwolves. If there was ever a team that truly exemplified the idea of underdogs, it’s the Northern Direwolves. Coming dead last in the Victoria Cup, with a grand total of zero victories, they appear utterly underwhelming on paper. But out on the pitch, it’s a whole different story. Out there, their passion and heart shine through, refusing to give up even when they have no subs, or when facing teams three times their size. A team known for casually strolling to the halfway line before either charging head first through the defenders or hurling a half-pitch Hail Mary, Direwolf strategies are either genius or non-existent. Few sides manage to match the spectacle these red riders produce, resulting in a uproarious cheering from the crowds with every successful play, although whether this is in support of newbies or out of fear of their ginger giant known only as “Baberaham” is still up for debate…Ready yourselves, because this MudBash, Winter is most definitely coming.
At the other end of the table we have the Victoria Cup winners, the Monash Muggles. Coming out of Vic Cup as the inaugural champions, the season saw the Muggles in top form, dropping only one game by a snitch catch. The Victoria Cup has seen the Muggles, led by Captain Georgia Tredrea and Coach Nicola Gertler, transform from a team of hopefuls to a team of victors.
MudBash, however, will be a test to the Muggles’ ability to hold their own and endure over a series of games, rather than just give it their all in a single match. The Muggles usual squad of 12 will be extended to 18, including debuts of new players and the return of some more experienced players who were unable to attend season matches. An extended sub-line will benefit the team in the scheme of the whole tournament and allow for injuries unlike the 10 man squad of 2013. The addition of new Muggles Grace Levens, Erin Pratt, Tom Dortmans and Neil Kemister shall add to the Muggles depth of squad and physicality.
The Muggles strength as a contender for the title of MudBash Champions of 2014 shall lie in their ability to retain their strong defensive line-up that emerged as a key feature of the team’s strategy during the Vic Cup. Overall the Muggles look set to take MudBash as a time to test out new strategy against both Victorian and interstate teams as well as breaching the gap between new and experienced players.
Australian National Nargles
Don’t let their story fool you, the Muggles will definitely be fighting hard for victory while they try out their new tactics against local teams and travellers. One such team that many of you in NSW have seen around the block a few times that hasn’t really had a presence in Victoria is, of course, the Australian National Nargles. The Nargles have been nestled in the mistletoe of Canberra, hidden away for a while, only emerging to the open world of Sydney for Triwizards. Now they will emerge for the first time in the great city of Melbourne to meet and compete against the many teams of the VQA.
The team will be led by the ever tough Captain Laura Smith and new Vice Captain Danny Fox. They will be supported by the founding players and strong veteran beaters of Morgyn Benstead and Andy Cruwys, and all-rounder Matthew Armstrong, will be followed by chasers including Merryn Christian, Nathan Askey-Doran and Beater/Chaser Nic Radoll; as well as debut year chaser of Merryn Roe, beater Oscar Cozens and finally all-rounder Gary Hague. Plus special introduction of Perth Phoenixes’ Adam Jasko This all new line-up will test the limits of all the Victorian and NSW teams with the experience of years and international skills. They pride themselves on not only smashing teams, but enjoying quidditch with their emblem referencing “Be a Man” from Mulan, and travelling down in the “Narglebus”.
Rounding out the Pool of Ultimate Destruction we have the effervescent mercenaries, many of whom are coming the to visit the shiny shores of the VQA for the first time. Last year they were team Amazeballs, this year we meet the Welsh Greens. The true exciting exotic flavour on offer at MudBash 2014 comes courtesy of the Welsh Greens, mighty mercenaries who have come together from near and far to put up a genuine challenge for glory.
This team has risen from the ashes of 2013’s gallant Team Amazeballs, whose legacy is carried on into the Welsh Greens by their un-substituted hero Brodie Smart, and captain James Hosford. There is a rumour that we will also be seeing the return of dominant keeper and playmaker Daniel Ormshaw.
The core of the team around our returning mercs has been formed from great NSW rivals Newcastle and Wollongong, who each bring a key set of their crucial superstars to the party. The Warrior road trip comprises their former and current captains, with the vast experience of Morgan Legg and the calm leadership of Jacob Fleming aptly anchoring the team. Josh Nielsen provides key depth in both chasing and in particular beating, in support of Wollongong’s bludging master Aman Nalli. For the Fireball contingent, veterans Matt Ingram and Tom Russell are joined by fellow established beater star Joel Murphy and the strong bustling defensive force of Ryan Hanwright.
The already impressive line-up is completed by the addition of Alex Langdon, Vanya Geelings and Madeline Coleman-Bock, who provide crucial squad depth and even more vital inside knowledge of local teams, players and conditions. It is the experience and depth of their formidable beater line-up which will surely be the key to Welsh Green success.
While the Pool of Ultimate Destruction battles it out for glory on one pitch, our spectators will be required under penalty of unfettered poking to wander over to the other pitch and watch an equally impressive battle to the death in Pool B (or as we here at MudBash HQ like to call them, thePool of Frenzied Extermination).
The Pool of Frenzied Extermination is headed by the reigning silver medallists the Blackburn Basilisks. These fine warriors slithered into existence in early 2013, and quickly climbed the Victorian ranks. With an incredibly strong chaser side and an ever increasing squad size, the Basilisks earned the title of the most offensive team in the most recent Victorian competition.
Yet to have secured anything but silver around their scaly necks, (2nd place MudBash 2013, 2nd place Winter League 2013, 2nd place Victoria Cup 2013-14) they are keen to continue fighting their way up to the top, tooth and fang. With a complete change of Coaches and Captains, will this be the tournament that they finally claim the elusive gold? You’ll have to wait and see who comes out of the mud victorious!
Another team who always seems to score the same result, always just outside the top three we have the Wrackspurts Quidditch Club trying to claw their way to a medal. The Wrackspurts are constructed from a bunch of misfits and deviants and some say Monsters that get in your head. Coming 4th in the Victorian cup after losing to Manticores, Wrackspurts have been training harder and are determined to make a stronger appearance at MudBash.
In the hopes of showing up the rest of NSW, and on the back of their recent trip to the IQA World Cup in South Carolina, USA we have another team who is putting in the time and effort to travel to southern land of Victoria. The University of Sydney Unspeakables are a relatively new team in relation to the others existent in NSW. With a 3rd place finish at QUAFL 2013, they have proven themselves to be tough competition for anybody, a team that nobody can just ignore. With a solid beater and chaser game there is opportunity they have a solid line up which lets certain players shine. Their main strength lies in their player quality, with strong players a plenty in their usual squad.
Their main disadvantage going into Melbourne MudBash will be their minimized roster, though their 2 national players will both be present. How crippling this will be to their chances is unconfirmed but it will definitely make it difficult for them to remain competitive over the two days. Realistically it will be tough for the Unspeakables to win MudBash, though we all believe it is uncertain to all how long it will take them to be knocked out.
The final Victorian team in our MudBash line up comes in the form of a team new to the MudBash scene, some of their players joined us last year, but many are MudBashing for the first time ever. The Melbourne Unicorns have been preparing for the MudBash tournament since they were founded in the wake of the last tournament. After a strong Vic Cup season of growth and development, the Unicorns are ready to take the field with force. Despite the challenge of being a young team, their enthusiasm, commitment and team spirit will complement their extensive training. The Unicorns are looking forward to taking on the established teams and the interstate visitors and coming out with a win.
Friends of Stephen…
And of course the Pool of Frenzied Extermination is rounded out by a team clothed in mystery, Stephen And Friends, who have only this to say “We are Stephen…with some friends…you need know no more!”
So who will take home the MudBash title? Will there be enough Mantiscores for the returning champions to keep their title? Will the Basilisks finally snag themselves a gold medal? Are the Muggles ready for some more shiny metal? Or will our previous medallists all be upset by two of the seven other talented teams hitting the pitches at Alma Park East? You’ll need to come down on June 28 and 29 to find out! We’ll see you there, bring on the mud!