Recently, Queensland hosted Quidditch Australia’s State Shield, the premier tournament in Australia at this time. The weekend featured teams from three states — New South Wales (NSW), Victoria, and Queensland — as well as a livestream that went off without a hitch and a downpour that cut the planned schedule short. At the end of Day One, Victoria had only one loss, Queensland had but one win, and NSW was 2-2. NSW then won the play-in round against Queensland on Day Two, and was into the now single-game Grand Final match. Victoria once again proved the superior State, winning 100*-40 in 30 minutes and 20 seconds of game time.
Danny Fox: New South Wales Blue Tongues Coach
Daniel Scharf: Queensland Thunderbirds Coach
Liam McCoppin: Victorian Leadbeaters Coach
QP: What was the key factor, in your opinion, that led to the Victorian win?
Liam McCoppin (LM): Training. Every hour we put in at the beautiful Fawkner Park came good over the weekend, as screens, presses, speed (and occasional lack thereof), and structures all played out as well as any coach could hope.
Daniel Scharf (DS): Controlling the NSW tempo, generally not allowing them to build any pace, and the execution in front of hoops.
Danny Fox (DF): Victoria was able to come into the tournament as the most cohesive unit, both in terms of gameplay and socially.
DS: Oh, it was leaps and bounds ahead socially. It especially showed Sunday… Night
LM: No comment.
QP: What was the biggest surprise?
DS: I’m fairly certain Callum Mayling did not lose two kilos and Liam’s prediction failed. He did me a solid to make sure mine came true though.
LM: I loved the energy and excitement that Queensland brought to this tournament. There was no sign of slowballing to try and get games to SWIM; Queensland attacked every offense and defence with pace and intensity, and it was rewarded with a fantastic win in overtime against us! And I’ve had it confirmed, Mayling lost zero kilos for the tournament, though the same cannot be said for Victoria.
DF: The incredible smoothness of that foot catch. So premeditated. So one-swift motion. I’m a changed man after seeing that. My life will be split into two distinct times: BFC and AFC (before foot catch, after foot catch).
QP: What do you think is the biggest thing for each team to improve on?
DF: Victoria – Keeping their heads in when things start going wrong.
NSW – Team cohesion.
Queensland – Greater depth in beating.
LM: Victoria – Nothing… gold medal bb.
NSW – Squad depth. Although the best line often matched with Vic and even bettered it, the second and third strings fell away dramatically.
Queensland – Defensive beating. They often found themselves defending offenses without any bludgers and really need to decrease these plays as much as possible.
DS: Victoria – Avoiding the penalty box.
NSW – Their beater play is also pretty average, could be better…
Queensland – Catching up to the standard or entirely altering it.
All – But otherwise picks were not hit well by any chasers, many going well wide of the set, causing a few moving screens.
LM: Man, those yellow cards are killers, aren’t they? Think we set a new record this tournament, and considering the amount we racked up last year, that’s pretty impressive.
DS: Statistically speaking, it helps you win the competition though… Red cards, not so much. Unless you’re McRobbin’ a snitch catch from Neil Kemister.
QP: Who are some players you had never seen before but are impressed by, or keen to see more of?
DS: I think I am fortunate in having seen all the players before. I’m also sure Liam and I will be seeing more of those who were impressive, and those players will know who they are come February.
DF: It was good seeing Anthony Hogan fitting into the role with the more established beaters on the Victorian team and doing well. The players on Queensland who had a bit of X factor for me were all ones that I’ve previously been aware of.
LM: Like Danny Fox, there weren’t players who I had never seen before per se, but a number of Queensland players definitely impressed me. Jordan Frazer’s incredible alley–oop finish showed mobility that I definitely didn’t think he had, and it brought the absolute house down! Lee Shu Ying played a fantastic tournament; hopefully she continues this form over the next nine months…
DS: Off such an amateur pass too, kid actually flew. (https://imgur.com/GmqWkyD )
QP: What was your favourite moment(s) on the weekend?
DF: The game against Queensland that had the downpour of rain start halfway through! It was just loads of fun to play in those conditions.
1. Getting into the changeroom and having a hot/cold shower right there and then after the downpour match.
2. At home on Saturday night with some super good film to look back on and pick what we needed to change before Sunday’s matches.
3. Logan Davis’ mint 2016 unofficial World Cup Referee jersey gracing the screens again on Sunday.
LM: The team atmosphere between Team Victoria was incredible, and seeing their collective antics on the Sunday afternoon and evening was definitely a highlight for me. Release of pent–up tension for working our bottoms off for the past couple of months.
QP: Has your opinion changed on the impact this could have on QUAFL?
DS: Not at all
DF: I’d imagine the top NSW teams may feel more pressure to perform now and show the talent that the State has, which may not have been highlighted as much as we’d have liked on the weekend.
LM: I think some of the teams outside Victoria should have been keeping a close eye on how the Victorians played, and may expect something similar come QUAFL. I agree with Foxy here; NSW players and their teams will want to make up for the weekend at QUAFL, so expect a serious showing from their stronger players come December!
QP: How do you think the tournament could be improved, and what would you like to see in a future State Shield?
DS: More teams (though there are only so many states). I also don’t know any other major field sports competition that would have cut the tournament short…
DF: For those who don’t know, Quidditch Australia (QA) altered the finals format, based on the belief that the fields would get more and more unsafe for the players due to the wet weather. I think that the format itself was already broken, as conceivably a team could win one out of five games and proceed into the championship matches, which is just nuts. A more reasonable format would be my first point of call. Worth mentioning that I don’t have much else to say, as the tournament ran very smoothly and any negative emotions I might have had are being soothed by that slick livestream.
LM: Problems with the format have been voiced already, but on the whole the formant was one of the stronger options available. Perhaps QA could use the State Shield to experiment with rules in the future as well, as many other professional sports do, to add an extra element of excitement – i.e., all goals scored with snitch on pitch are worth double!
DS: Double backcourt is something I would have loved to see this weekend.
LM: Now we’re talking.
DF: Ooh, yisss.
QP: Controversy — do you think the infamous foot catch was clean or not?
DS: There’s controversy here?
DF: People reckon the snitch was impeded; it appears on the footage as though the Victorian seeker (Neil Kemister) wrapped the snitch’s wrist a bit after throwing themselves down. I think that there was so little in it that the Victorian seeker would have to be incredibly unlucky for that to be called impeding the snitch, especially given that the snitch didn’t feel as though they were impeded.
LM: I’m with Foxy here, even though I’m more than a little biased. Looked clean, called clean, the snitch (none other than the world famous Viking himself, Dameon Osborn) says clean… I’m happy with clean.
DS: The only thing not clean about it was Kemister climbing over the fence instead of leaping it.