Battle of the jugger

JUGGERNAUT: Elliot Fraser and Sam Harris battle in a warm-up game called Graveyard. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
JUGGERNAUT: Elliot Fraser and Sam Harris battle in a warm-up game called Graveyard. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

IT’S a sport that came from the 1989 movie The Salute of the Jugger and now is played across the globe, including Bar Beach. 

The game jugger was devised for the film and then transformed into a real sport in Germany and Australia. Newcastle has had its own jugger club and team since 2014.

Club president and captain of Newcastle Blitzkrieg Matt McCauley said the sport was very social, a lot of fun and involved foam weapons. 

“I absolutely love it.  You get to run around and hit people with foam sticks,” McCauley said. “What’s not to love?” 

The best way to describe jugger is a cross between touch football and fencing. 

“The game is played with eight players on a team and five players on the field at a time,” McCauley said. 

“Four members use a variety of foam weaponry and one person on each team is unarmed (the runner). 

“People with the weapons have to protect their runner and escort them up the field to get the ball and score.”

READY FOR BATTLE: Matt McCauley holding a shield. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

READY FOR BATTLE: Matt McCauley holding a shield. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

However, they do not use a ball. Instead they use a skull. Not a real skull, a foam skull.  

The game is timed with stones. Stones are 1.5 seconds long. A game consists of two 100 stone halves. 

McCauley said the sport tended to attract “nerdy types”. 

“We get a lot of people who aren’t particularly fit, but through playing you do become fit,” he said. 

“There is a fair amount of running and moving around and fighting people.” 

Last month four international teams converged on Newcastle for a training session in the lead up to leg two of the Down Under International, held in Canberra.  

The rules under which jugger is played vary from country to country. The training session was for teams from Germany, Ireland, the US and New Zealand to learn the Australian rules.  

Newcastle Blitzkrieg won four of eight matches in Canberra over the October long weekend. They ranked 10 out of 13 teams. 

The first leg of the International was held in Brisbane. Four Newcastle players signed up as “mercenaries” which saw them compete with other teams.

Newcastle Blitzkrieg practise at Empire Park, Bar Beach, on Sundays from 1pm. Anyone interested in the sport is welcome to drop by.