2005 Australian Masters event report
Infamous’ Gibb Gillen & Fellow Pros Teach, Compete, and Promote Paintball in Sydney, Australia
report by Bea Youngs
Professional players like Gibb Gillen and Andy Kopcock have both worked hard to promote not just within their following in the States, but in Canada and Australia, as well. At the beginning of the year, both Gillen and Kopcock decided to put together a team (named Fast Trak) of pros to compete in the Open Division of the Ontario Paintball Players League (OPPL), said to be Canada’s premier paintball league. After four out of the five OPPL events, Team Fast Trak is leading the OPPL”s Open Division and when the last OPPL event arrives (scheduled for December 17th), it’s highly likely that they will take the 2005 OPPL Overall Series Title.
|Class is in session|
Infamous’ Gibb Gillen had plans for Fast Trak to make a trip to Sydney, Australia to compete in the 2005 Australian Masters if the team managed to be in the lead in the OPPL. A week after World Cup concluded the team made up of both Infamous (Andy Kopcock, Gibb Gillen, Craig “Fatty” Dougherty, Casey “Gator” Glaze) and Philadelphia Americans (Jason Trosen, Tim Montressor, Ryan Moorhead) were on their way to the “Land Down Under”. They would enter Australian’s annual event as “Infamous”. The 13th Annual Australian Masters started out as a 10-man event, but in 1998, the format was changed to a 7-on-7 and was coined the “Super 7 Series”. Mike Whybrew, co-owner of Action Paintball, where the event would be held, smiled and said, “We had it [Super 7] first before Chuck [Hendsch] started the NPPL Super 7 in 2002.”
|Gibbs tagging a fan's car|
Action Paintball in Rouse Hill, Sydney, had three different paintball events taking place the weekend of November 17th. Starting on the Thursday before the Australian Masters commenced, Infamous hosted two clinics on November 17th that lasted 3 hours each. From beginning to end, the clinic was non-stop as Infamous did their best to teach them as much as they could in the little time frame they had. They managed to go over basic fundamentals with them from snap-shooting to movement from bunker-to-bunker drills. They even had enough time to go over how to walk fields and demonstrated angles, as well as closing moves to finish games. Each instructor at the clinic were very precise and detailed when trying to explain details to them that would help improve each attendees game.
|Value of the car just tripled|
Out of all the Infamous players, Gibb Gillen had been to Australia before. As a matter of fact, he lived in Sydney for a year and not only worked for Whybrew’s Action Paintball, but for his team, Sydney S.W.A.T., too. It had been two years since Gibb would return to Sydney, this time, bringing a team of Canadians and Americans with him. This gesture would give the Australians a chance to meet, learn, and even measure up their paintball skills to that of the North Americans.
|Students and teachers taking a break|
Not only did the pros take the time to conduct very productive clinics, but they also gave back to the community of paintball in Australia by putting on their “referee” hats during the 2nd Annual State of Origin 10-man tournament event. Last year, Western Australia took home the trophy and a year’s worth of bragging rights simply to say that their state hosted the best paintball players in the country/continent/island of Australia. This year, five 10-man teams arrived to compete and in the end, Queensland would be the victor and following in 2nd place, New South Wales. (FYI: There are 6 states and 2 territories* in Australia: Australian Capital Territory* (ACT), New South Wales (NSW), Northern Territory*, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia (WA).
|On three, break...|
An attendance record was broken on the weekend of the Australian Masters when a total of 26 teams entered in two divisions (Professional and Division 1. Infamous would enter into the pro division with 11 other teams coming not just from Australia, but also from New Zealand and the United States. UK Shockwave’s Jono Clark was also in attendance, playing with one of the New Zealand teams. The Masters started out as a 10-man format, but in 1998, the format was to 7-man and they coined it the “Super 7 Series”. According to Michael Whybrew, they had the “Super 7” name first. Twenty-six (26) teams may not be considered a lot to us here in the States (with 200 teams entering any given Super 7 event), but in Australia, the Australian Masters is said to be the biggest and best paintball event in all of Australia. Keep in mind, in the United States alone, it’s populated with over 250 million people to Australia’s 20 million – a big difference.
|The best in the world came to teach and have fun|
Before games commenced at around 9:30 AM, the promoters had announced that each of the 26 teams would play all of their 12 preliminary games that day. According to Gillen of Infamous, he said, “The guys on the team thought that they wouldn’t get through all the games before dark. They were convinced it would be impossible.” The last game ended at 4:30 PM with plenty of day light left and Infamous finished the day as the leader into quarter-finals and undefeated.
|Even Gator Glaze swam across to make it|
Unlike the quarter-finals in the Super 7, eight teams in each division were carried over instead of the 12 in the pro or 16 in Division 1. Infamous went throughout the tournament undefeated even in the quarter-finals.
2nd Mongrel Mob
3rd Black Reign
4th Indecent Assault
7th The Jetts
1st Blade 2
2nd Team Ice
|State Origin on the break|
Over $38,000 AUD was offered in cash and prizes combined and the entry fee for pro was $1100 (for Division 1, $880). Field paint was $70 AUD for a 2000 round case. The exchange rate at the time was $1.00 USD to $1.30 AUD. For Infamous, they were vying for a $7000 cash prize. Action Paintball offered two fields to compete on during the Masters, one of which was adorned with the same ink on the field as the Super 7’s Center Court. Whenever Infamous played, spectators lined up to watch them from inside the netting where the staging area was located.
When it was all said and done, Infamous did take home the 2005 Australian Masters Championship Title. Infamous also took home the award for “The Most Flag Grabs” because of Jason Trosen (Philadelphia Americans). Another award that Infamous’ almost took home was the “Fastest Game” award, but missed it by a second to Team Ice, who finished a game in 39 seconds.
It’s one thing for each one of these pro players to be top-notch players, but it’s another for them to be both talented and willing to give back to the sport that has given them so much. Infamous went away from the event winners not just because of their performance as athletes, but true ambassadors of the sport.
1st Blade 2 - (7 Smart Parts Ions, 7 Halo B Hoppers, Centerflag 45/68 Air Systems, Large Empire Gear Bags, Proto Jerseys)
2nd Bitchin' - (7 Proto Switch FS Thermal Goggles, 7 Proto Jerseys, 7 Proto Pants, Proto Gloves)
3rd Syndicate - (7 Proto Jerseys)
1st Infamous - $7,000 CASH (35 Cases of ACU Paint, 7 Flex 7 Goggles, 7 JT PRO Jerseys, 7 JT PRO Gloves)
2nd Menace - $3,000 CASH (14 Cases of ACU Paint, 7 JT PRO Jerseys, 7 JT PRO Gloves)
3rd The Jetts - $1,500 CASH (5 Cases of ACU Paint, 7 JT PRO Jerseys, 7 JT PRO Gloves)
4th Black Reign
Special awards were given to the following teams:
Chemical Brothers - Team Sportsmanship Award - 7 2006 Redz Dimension Jerseys
Bowen from Syndicate won "The Best and Fairest Player" - Box of ACU Paint
Team Ice - "Fastest Game" - with a 39 second game - Prize: 100 x 32 Degrees 140 Shot Pods
Infamous/Jason Trosen of the Philadelphia Americans - "The Most Flag Grabs" - 1 Proto Photograph
For more on Action Paintball Games, visit their websites: www.ActionPaintball.com and www.paintballshop.com.au. If you have plans to visit Australia, the Sydney airport is just 45 minutes away from Rouse Hill, where Action Paintball Games is located.
|Team Bitchin with Bea Youngs|
first time ever for an all
girls team to place
at a national Australian event
Editor’s Note: Bea Youngs (of Division 2, LTZ Destiny & UAPL Pro, Milwaukee Rapture) also guest-played with all-female Australian team, Bitchin’, who came in 2nd place in Division 1, a first for an all-female team in the history of the Australian Masters. Australian Team Shock Professional Player, Dave Chin, said, “She was great to watch on the field - building confidence in the other players on the team and telling them what to do, where to look and shoot.”