Victorian QUAFL Preview & Easton Shield Review

QUAFL 2014 Vic Preview Pic 1

The Easton Shield saw Victoria’s 7 teams face off in a 14 round battle royale for the title of Easton Shield Premiers 2014. The Victorian Quidditch Association partnered with the Leukaemia Foundation for this charity season of quidditch. The aim of the Easton Shield was to raise funds and awareness for the foundation.

It was a one-off tournament in honour of Nic Easton, an amazing man and cousin to Blackburn Basilisk Caption, Taya Rawson. Nic was passionate, positive and unbelievably strong individual who lost his battle with Leukaemia on January 1st this year. All of the players tried their hardest to embody these qualities every time they stepped on the pitch.

QUAFL 2014 Vic Preview Pic 2
Photo Credit: Scott Dixon

All 7 teams played each other at least once, with some teams facing off twice. In the end, it only came down to a few important snitch catches, with the Blackburn Basilisks rather poetically taking home the title of Easton Shield champions for 2014. It’s only fitting that Taya Rawson had the honour of captaining her team to victory in the tournament made to remember her cousin and his brave fight.

The Blackburn Basilisks came out on top of the ladder at the Easton shield with 6 wins and 24 points, without even needing to win their final game due to the lead they had already accumulated over the course of the tournament. Because of this, there were no finals for the Easton Shield. The Monash Muggles came in a close second after beating the Basilisks in the final round to finish on 6 wins and 23 points, one point short of the Basilisks. In third were the Melbourne Manticores, also with 6 wins, just one point behind the Muggles on 22. The Wrackspurts were next in fourth, winning 4 of their games on 17 points, closely followed by the Melbourne Unicorns, only one snitch catch behind on 16. The South Melbourne Centaurs and the Northern Direwolves won one game apiece, the Centaurs ending slightly on top with one more snitch catch with their final points total being 6 and 5, respectively.

All the Victorian teams showed vast improvements in their game play throughout the season, with the Direwolves achieving their first ever win. The games were fast and furious, even between the newer teams and many people looked forward to seeing the Direwolves take on the Centaurs on the pitch, as they knew it was going to be an exciting, close fought game. Another highlight for Victorian quidditch was the well-earned Melbourne Mudbash triumph of the Monash Muggles. They managed to hold firm and take the victory out of the hands of the then undefeated and highly favoured ‘Stephen & Friends’ Sydney All-Star team. This victory showed that the Muggles had grown from their maiden QUAFL performance and were very capable of taking on some of the best players their northern neighbours have to offer.

QUAFL 2014 Vic Preview Pic 3
Photo Credit: Scott Dixon

Speaking of QUAFL, four of the seven Victorian teams will make the journey up to Sydney to compete against the rest of Australia for the 4th QUAFL Cup on the 29th and 30th of November 2014. For two of our teams, this will be their first QUAFL Tournament.

The Blackburn Basilisks have shown to be nothing if not consistent since their first matches last year in the VQA’s Winter League. With 3 silver medals under their belts they slithered into the Easton Shield, looks set to kill. Here they secured their first season win. They’re pumped to play QUAFL this year, with many of their players filling the Muggles’ ranks in 2013. The Basilisks are facing some stiff competition, but take comfort in the fact they have 3 of the players from “The Drop Bears”, the Australian National quidditch team, in their line-up. They are a fast and physical team, who are able to work as a seamless unit on the pitch. They are missing a few key players for QUAFL, but have filled some places with some wildcards from the Melbourne Unicorns Quidditch Team.

The Wrackspurts will also be making their QUAFL debut in 2014. They will come up against some stronger and older teams with years of QUAFL experience. With their line up being younger and fresher than their opponents, they could be at a huge disadvantage. They also have a relatively small line-up, lacking the brute force of teams like the Manticores and will be missing a number of their key players, bringing a rather thin squad of 13. That being said, the Wrackspurts still stand a fighting chance with their quick chasers, including Easton Shield MVP Mick Dundee, and a solid defensive team that work well together on the pitch.

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Photo Credit: Scott Dixon

Despite their inability to do magic, the Muggles will return to QUAFL after their debut last year. The Monash Muggles have had a very successful year winning the inaugural Victoria Cup in June, in a close battle against the Blackburn Basilisks. The Muggles have played consistently well with their current side, and don’t plan to make too many changes in the lead up to QUAFL. They’re going in feeling rather underprepared as, being uni students, they have been much more focused on their studies than on Quidditch. In the last few months the Muggles have had some spectacular wins against the other Victorian teams and this has given them confidence and momentum going in to QUAFL. The Muggles are pumped for their return and are ready to ’bring it’ to each and every opponent at QUAFL.

The Melbourne Manticores will also return to QUAFL for their third year. The Manticores were the first Victorian team ever formed and have been formidable opponents ever since. They have had a few key changes to their side heading into QUAFL with a number of strong new players, particularly in their chaser line up. They are a very vocal team; you can often hear their substitute box from the other side of Fawkner Park, shouting advice and support to their players on the field. This vocality is probably one of their biggest strengths, allowing them to coordinate players successfully during plays. The Manticores have impressed at the last two QUAFL’s and, if they can escape their inconsistency issues, should be a hard team to beat.

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Photo Credit: Scott Dixon

Here we are at the end of a solid year of growth, with new teams forming, old teams improving and more teams trekking to New South Wales for the biggest tournament on the AQA calendar. All four of the teams attending are excited to challenge the other states and will bring their very best to Macquarie University. They are representing the Victorian Quidditch Association and are ready to show everyone just what Victoria has to offer. Bring on QUAFL 2014.



Written by Gen Gibson.

All Pictures Courtesy of Scott Dixon