Prepare for the biggest Australian quidditch event of the year!! The 2016 Australian National Quidditch Championships – also known as “QUAFL” – are only a week away, held on December 9th-11th at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra.
The most exciting thing about QUAFL 2016 – cue extreme bias – is that the Macarthur Weasleys Quidditch Club will be participating for their first time ever! 23 teams from across NSW, ACT, VIC, QLD, SA and WA will come together in an epic weekend-long tournament, which has been won by the Melbourne Manticores the last 2 years in a row.
If you asked the Macarthur Weasleys six months ago if they were attending QUAFL this year, they would have deemed it highly unlikely. But thanks to a mid-year influx of several new quality recruits, coupled with a newfound drive inspired by the Australian Dropbears’ World Cup win over the USA in July, the Weasleys find themselves with a 17-player squad headed to the Nationals!
Despite this being their debut on the national stage, the Weasleys are actually the longest-running community-based team in NSW. They’ve been participating in the NSW Triwiz State tournaments in a “friendly” non-ranked capacity since March 2014, and only started playing ranked matches in August this year, when the prospect of a QUAFL berth presented itself for the first time.
The Weasleys enter QUAFL coming off their best form to date. Despite it not being reflected in their final results, spectators and opponents alike would agree they were impressive against UNSW Snapes on a Plane and Newcastle Fireballs last month, making them work hard for their wins. The Weasleys managed to be ahead on the scoreboard in the early stages of these games, and held within snitch range longer than they have in previous tournaments.
Although unable to notch up any wins against the 7 top NSW teams this year, they won all of their four encounters against Wollongong Warriors (including 1 forfeit), and won a match against Sydney Uni Unbreakables in September.
The Weasleys squad is headed by Captain/Coach Ben Hosford, who has been with the club since their 3rd tournament appearance in August 2014. Hosford hopes he can drive the Weasleys to the QUAFL playoffs.
Players to watch include chaser Arlyta Andrew, awarded “Best New Player of 2016” in NSW, in addition to representing the NSW B team in the 2016 State of Origin. However it may be new chaser Michael Moustakas who steals the scene, having made his tournament debut in October. Maya Andrew and David Morrin are also new chaser recruits to watch, whilst Heather Bowie, Jake Toovey, Hayden O’Brien and Dylan Olsen O’Brein add plenty of firepower to the chaser line.
The Weasleys beater contingent will be lead by Nic Radoll and Jason Taylor, both of whom left their previous teams this year to join the Weasleys for the back half of 2016. Arfy Papadam, Clare Thorn, Julia Baston, Madeline Chamberlain and Matthew Worboys will bolster the beater department with plenty of quality and depth.
Vice-captain Jasmine Robinson will lead the charge as head Seeker, in addition to being a nimble and skillful chaser.
However the Weasleys will not be at full strength; notable absentees who will be sorely missed are powerhouse keeper Lincoln Macnamara and skillful beater Brodie Macnamara.
The Weasleys are excited by the prospect of playing interstate teams for the first time – Monash Muggles, QUT Lycans and SA Bunyips. While the ANU Owls, UNSW Snapes on a Plane and Monash Muggles may likely prove to be too much for the Weasleys to handle, they’ll make them work hard for their wins, and a shock upset simply cannot be ruled out.
The Lycans and the Bunyips are seeded below the Weasleys, and while those teams are largely unknown entities, the Weasleys will be looking to these two matches for their best chance of a win. But the Weasleys will not be taking any of their opponents lightly, and are very hungry to come home from Canberra with a win or two.
2016 Australian National Championships schedule for the Weasleys:
9am – 3pm Wheelchair Quidditch Championships
8:30am Weasleys vs QUT Lycans (QLD)
11:30am Weasleys vs SA Bunyips (SA)
2:00pm Weasleys vs Monash Muggles (VIC)
4:15pm Weasleys vs ANU Owls (ACT)
8:30am Weasleys vs UNSW Snapes on a Plane (NSW)
11:00am Playoffs & consolation matches
1:30pm Quarter finals
3:00pm Semi finals
4:00pm Third place playoff
5:00pm GRAND FINAL