LFL360.com, Christian Ganaban
Since the inception of the Victoria Maidens LFL franchise, the original members of the training squad have coined the phrase “Pirate Pride” taken from the team logo, describing the commitment they have had to their team.
In pirate tradition, walking the plank was a form of physical and psychological torture used by pirates and seafarers to execute punishment. You could say that last Saturday our fair Maidens were made to walk the plank by league founder and commissioner Mitch Mortaza, not for punishment, but to physically and psychologically test each potential candidate. Which of these hopeful Maidens has the sterner stuff to share in the treasure bounty that awaits them in the LFL?
Fresh from finalizing the 30,000 capacity stadium AAMI Park as the Maidens home ground, Mortaza set the tone by elaborating on the fact that these ladies needed to show everything they had during this tryout in order to make the team. He made it clear that the state of Victoria will not be subjected to a poorly performing team. This message resonated among the women and fired them up as they began drills that were designed to establish which position on the gridiron suited them most.
From receiving drills, to tackling, to throwing and 1-on-1 face-offs, the intensity picked up throughout the session. Astroturf burns were the order of the day, and for two unlucky hopefuls, serious injuries prevented them from continuing. It was clear that the goal of this tryout was to find the best athletes to place into this squad. Even Victoria’s current training squad members were put through their paces with the agenda being that if they had not shown any major improvements since making the cut last time, they were off the squad.
After a hard fought session in sweltering Melbourne heat all participants were made to wait as Mitch and the coaching staff deliberated over who would make the cut. With tension so thick in the air, each participant was made to walk that agonizing wooden plank as they entered the room where Mortaza, Adrian Brown (Owner & MD of the Ladies Gridiron League) and the staff of coaches would make their final say on who was staying on the boat and who was falling into the abyss.
One by one the hopefuls came out with either extreme glee or major disappointment. All in all, a total of 31 had made the final training squad vying for Victoria contracts to play in the inaugural LFL Australia season. The new inductees, together with the original squad, were then called into a closed meeting where Mitch drilled home the fact that this is an incredible opportunity for these women. It is a chance to be a part of the biggest thing to ever hit our shores for women’s sport. Performing and having success on the gridiron is paramount for Victorians being that Melbourne is the sports capital of Australia.
With that said, excitement started to fill the room as the new squad sighed a big breath of relief. The women began to realize they had made it on the training squad and were that much closer to become a fully fledged Maiden.
The following day, a cast of pirates made their way by air and land (ironically not by sea) to Sydney where they took part in the LFL Australia launch party. After a day spent relaxing and seeing the sights of Sydney, the ladies changed into their evening wear and made their way down to the Trademark hotel to partake in the festivities.
All looking ravishing, this group of pirates stole the limelight and hearts of every fan in attendance; a feat that will surely be replicated in every town they visit come December.