The Surly Griffins (green) and the BrindaBelters (purple) go head to head. Photo: Jay Cronan
THE Black 'N Blue Belles are your new Canberra roller derby champions.
The minor premiers beat out reigning champs, the Red Bellied Black Hearts, 142-135, in a tight contest in front of a packed crowd at the Australian Institute of Sport on Saturday night.
Their victory closes out the fourth ''bout'' season in the mish-mash of brutal contact sport and theatrical flair that is the Canberra Roller Derby League.
BrindaBelters warm up. Photo: Jay Cronan
The league, with its growing cohort of avid fans and 100-odd active skaters, has gone from strength to strength since its emergence in 2008.
There's now a representative side, the Vice City Rollers, and regular bouts against interstate foes.
Rep games and the finals are held under the bright lights of the AIS arena, rather than their spiritual home at the Southern Cross Stadium in Tuggeranong.
2012 Canberra Roller Derby League Grand Final
Mae Q-Sqwheel of the Black 'n' Blue Belles. Photo: Jay Cronan
Gun locals Bambi von Smash'er, Shortstop, Ova Bearing, Shaggle Frock and Aunty Aggro have been called up this week to test their mettle against some of the world's best players at Sydney's Roller Derby Xtreme showcase.
And later this month the AIS will host banked-track roller derby - with a 12-tonne reinforced steel track at a 35-degree angle.
Mae Q Sqwheel and Alex Lim caught the undercard bout between the Brindabelters and the Surly Griffins from the ''suicide line'' - the buffer zone separating the skaters from the crowd.
Ms Sqwheel, of the Black 'N Blue Belles, is in her first year of bouting, having graduated from the league's tough ''fresh meat'' training school of hard knocks in 2011.
She was enthusiastic about the league's prospects of further expansion, and there's talk of division two rep teams.
''The more opportunities people have, the more they might stick around and contribute to the sport,'' Ms Sqwheel said.
''And giving the crowd a better experience, more fun, and getting them coming back.''
The Brindabelters defeated the Surly Griffins 156-131 in the showdown for third place.