Hosted by Adelaide Roller Derby and held at the Adelaide Showground in the heart of South Australia, The Great Southern Slam is a biennial roller derby tournament that has attracted over 5000 athletes and spectators over the June long weekend. Roller derby is played worldwide, with The Great Southern Slam the centrepiece of competition in Australia!
Women’s flat track roller derby has exploded in Australia since the early 2010s, reaching into every corner of Australia and New Zealand. It soon became obvious that the best way to get everyone involved was to host a tournament that would provide strong competition and create connection for the derby community down under (though we’ve also welcomed guests from all over the world!)
In 2010 Adelaide Roller Derby (ADRD) made history by hosting the inaugural ‘The Great Southern Slam’ (TGSS), which united the roller derby family of Australia and New Zealand. The tournament consisted of 25 leagues competing over three days – 500 skaters, 120 refs, 12 commentators participating in 37 tournament bouts and challenge bouts.
It was a SUCCESS. We couldn’t even begin to have imagined the beast we had created with derby leagues begging us to host the event again. So, with much enthusiasm, ADRD hosted it again in 2012, increasing the number of bouts to 58, which of course increased the number of skaters too. 850 skaters ascended on little old Adelaide, with more refs, commentators and a huge 30 leagues involved.
Then again in 2014 we made it bigger… We added another division to help even out the competition – 74 bouts with 900 skaters, 190 refs and 45 leagues. We actually thought it could not get any bigger…
But then in 2016 and 2018 it did. We maxed out our venue to welcome 48 leagues, with 960 skaters playing a total of 80 bouts! 4 out of the 5 derby tracks were live-streamed (with commentary!), and it was a roaring success. While the pandemic was cause for pause in 2020, we made the comeback to end all comebacks in 2022 to host Australia’s first national post-pandemic roller derby tournament. And now? 2024, here we come.