The Canberra Roller Derby League grand final at the AIS Arena between the Black & Bluebelles and the Brindabelters. Click for more photos

Canberra Roller Derby League grand final

The Canberra Roller Derby League grand final at the AIS Arena between the Black & Bluebelles and the Brindabelters. Photo: Graham Tidy

''It's like playing speed chess while having bricks thrown at you, on roller skates,'' Strawberry Punch said.

A mixed crowd of about 2000 turned out to watch groups of women push, shoulder and slam their way around a tight track in the Canberra Roller Derby League grand final at the AIS Arena on Saturday night.

It's a sport in which women assume names such as Essin Em, Freudian Slit, and Dalai Slam'er, but that doesn't mean they don't take it seriously.

There's no ball, but there are a lot of rules. The aim of the sport is for a nominated skater - the jammer - to make it through a veritable scrum of shoving, ramming, defending skaters, and then lap past again to rack up points in two-minute bursts of action.

''It is seriously competitive,'' Strawberry Punch said.

There's a lot of strategy, and a lot of physicality, with regular sprained joints and occasional broken bones. Players are expected to commit to eight hours of training and bouts a week.

On Saturday the grand final was taken out by the Black and Blue Belles, who beat the Brindabelters 201 to 137. Strawberry Punch's team, the Surly Griffins, was awarded the wooden spoon.

There are about 100 regular skaters in the Canberra league.