Wednesday, February 3, 2016

State of the Origin: Captains’ Interviews

Interviewers: Rajtilak Kapoor and Liam McCoppin

State of Origin is the first event of its kind in Australia. In three matchups throughout 2016, states will send hand-picked teams to battle their rivals. The first states to kick off this series are New South Wales and Victoria, who will go head to head at QuidCamp on Feb. 6 and 7. Each state’s representative team has been carefully selected by a panel of great quidditch minds. Three games will be played between the teams over the weekend, and it is looking to be some high-quality quidditch with some of the best players from each state competing.

The New South Wales Blue Tongue Wizards (NSW)
Luke Derrick (Captain)
Nicholas Albornoz
Nicholas Allan
Laura Atkins
Christian Barquin
Holly Cairncross
Oscar Cozens
Elle Crumpton
Andrew Culf
Logan Davis
Minh Diep
Danny Fox
Emma Kendrick
Shu Ying Lee
Hannah Monty
James Mortensen
Dameon Osborn
Desany Phanoraj
Carolyn Themel
Rob Wells
Evan Wright

The Victorian Leadbeaters (Vic)
Callum Mayling (Captain)
James Williams (Vice Captain)
Michael Braham
Rachel Davis
Mark Dorman
Thomas Dortmans
Nicola Gertler
Jarrod Growse
David Blamey
Natasha Keehan
Neil Kemister
Michelle Mannering
Liam McCoppin
Cassia Menkhorst
Nathan Morton
Dean Rodhouse
Ned Smith
Caitlin Thomas
Deni Tasman
Manuel Thomson
Kristeen Wong

So what do the captains have to say about their teams? The Quidditch Post talked to each of them to get their opinions.

Quidditch Post: What made you want to be the captain?
Luke Derrick (NSW): I decided I wanted to take a leadership role in the team because I enjoyed being in that role for the [University of Sydney] Unspeakables. I thought I would be able to handle the pressure and analyse the Melbourne team effectively, allowing us to gain an advantage.
NSW Captain Luke Derrick beating for the Sydney Unspeakables at QUAFL 2015 | Photo Credit: S.L. Dixon 

Callum Mayling (Vic): There comes a time in every trucks life when they look back and say, “I was proud to be a truck in that convoy. The chance to lead such a dedicated group of vehicles such as the Victorian fleet up the dusty M1 was an opportunity too great for me to turn down! They are all amazing vehicles in their own right, and it is an honour and a privilege to lead them out onto the pitch to give everything we have for the state we love.

Victoria Captain Callum Mayling keeping for Melbourne Manticores at QUAFL 2015 | Photo Credit: S.L. Dixon 

Quidditch Post: How well do you think your team can work together?
Derrick: I think the fact that quite a few players are from the same teams will allow us to work well together quite easily. We will also be having trainings together to allow us to further gel as a team.

Mayling:  A place I spend a lot of time – the McDonalds drive through is made of many, many different components. It still blows my mind as to how well they work together, but there is respect amongst the employees. Much like the holy grail of fast food restaurants, the respect amongst our team will allow us to deliver the double beef and bacon right through top hoop of NSW. It is always hard with a new group of players, but I know that each and every player in the Vic 21 puts no “I” in the word Victoria.

Quidditch Post: Who are you excited to be playing with that you don’t normally?
Derrick: Andrew Culf is a player who I have played with at Global Games and is someone who is just pure class. On offense he is an amazingly reliable passer and finisher and on defence he is a powerhouse. Hannah Monty is another class player and I am looking forward to working with her as a beating partner.

Mayling:  A lot has been made of some big players I get to play with. Personally, Ned Smith, aka “Nedrick Lamar,” is the kind of player I’m going to love having on my side of the bench; tough tackling, a leader, and a nugget, Ned brings a lot of heart to the Vic side. Playing alongside such silky beaters, notably Rachel Davis from La Trobe [University Quidditch Club], means I can back those bludgers to be hitting targets, and having tough characters like Michael ‘Dundee’ Braham in chaser is also an exciting prospect, as he especially brings hardiness and grit to the team. Finally, Liam McCoppin, if he makes it onto the pitch, could be an exciting one to watch; the old Wrackspurts [Quidditch Club] war horse is capable of making top-notch plays both carrying the ball and finishing.
Rachel Davis beating for La Trobe at QUAFL 2015 | Photo Credit: S.L. Dixon 

Quidditch Post: Who on your team are you excited to see play together?
Derrick: I think seeing someone like James Mortensen work with a higher quality of chaser than he usually does will be very interesting and will allow him to even further show off his skills. I am also looking forward to the power hitters of Dameon Osborn, Andrew Culf, and Nicholas Albornoz working together and laying some tackles out. It will be interesting to see how the Victorians deal with it.

Mayling: The Tasman-Wong beater duo looks like a combo to be reckoned with while Caitlin, Liam, Mark, and Dundee looks like a chaser line that will also provide a lot of hustle on the pitch! Dean Rodhouse has also been running into some serious form. There are a lot of quality combinations that I am excited about, and all of you should keep your eyes peeled for the dynamic Victoria plays.

Quidditch Post: Who on your team do you think will surprise us the most?
Derrick: I think the female chasers will be surprises for some people. A few of them are quite underrated, and I think they will do well along with our male chasers to really compete with every point, especially a player like Elle Crumpton, who did not go to selection camps, could make a big splash with her athleticism and solid ball-handling skills. Pairing her with Mortensen could work amazing results.

Mayling:  Mark Dorman gets the nod from me a fierce competitor who will only get better as time goes on. Out for a year after a fantastic performance at QUAFL 2014 as the Blackburn Basilisks [Quidditch Club’s] starting keeper, Dorman has proved to be a quick learner who gels well with the other chasers on the team.

Elle Crumpton playing at QUAFL 2015 | Photo Credit: S.L. Dixon

Quidditch Post: Who are you worried about on the other team?
Derrick: Callum Mayling is a huge threat on the ball as a passer and a driver. He is able to layoff amazing passes, which result in goals incredibly consistently. On defence, he is able to gather so many shots and passes, stopping an offense dead in its tracks. Neil Kemister is also a player who has enough tenacity to make amazing plays and is able to pump up his team in crazy ways.

Mayling: There is quality laced all through the NSW side, but it is hard to look past Luke Derrick, an absolute eight cylinder beast! Albornoz will also give Luke a run for his money, and it is a worrying concept tackling such an athlete. 

Quidditch Post: What have you been doing for preparation/training in the leadup to SoO?
Derrick: I have been trying eat a lot better and work a lot harder on my own fitness. I am also analysing exactly how our team matches up against the other team because I think that will be key to securing a win.

Mayling: Training. Maccas. Hotwheels.

Quidditch Post: One thing that is key to victory?
Derrick: The beater game. With chasers of this quality, you will need a bludger to stop a lot of drives coming through from the offense. Having bludger control will allow us to control the game and utilize one and a half bludgers on offense, enabling free passing options.

Mayling: Communication. There is no lack of skill on either side; it will come down to how well the teams gel as sides. The quality of passing, beater and chaser communication, and the marshalling of the defence will all be points on which these games are won and lost. 

Quidditch Post: If you could give the other team some advice what would it be?
Derrick: Do not underestimate any of our players. Everyone on the team has shown that they can compete at this level and, even though some of them are not well known names, doesn't mean they can not play like they are.

Mayling: They would love to hear it, wouldn’t they? But honestly, NSW, be ready for a contest. Do not come in expecting anything less, because every Vic player will be giving 110 percent.

Quidditch Post: Who’s going to win and why?
Derrick: I think NSW is going to take it out 2-1. I think our beater game will be able to dominate long enough and our chasers will be able to compete enough to enable us to get out of snitch range at least once. And when it comes to in-range, I would give a catch to one team each.

Mayling: I like both teams a lot, and think the score will be close in all three games with one side taking a 2-1 victory. I am giving the vic-tory to Vic-toria due to our strong female chasers, compact male chaser unit, and clever beaters. I think we may marginally have the edge, but only in a bitterly fought contest. There is diesel in the engines of the trucks that have been revving in Victoria. Be ready, NSW, and do not bother bringing a stop sign. 

Thanks for talking to us, guys! Looking forward to some exciting matches over the weekend.

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