Taranaki's Rumble Bees are cruising for a bruising when they confront the Sulphur City Steam Rollers A team, Motley Crew.

This is the third year the Slam Rock roller derby has been held in Rotorua, and the fast-paced sport has resulted in sell-out crowds.

Roller derby is often likened to "rugby on roller skates", with players being able to block their opposition to either gain ground on them or not let them past, according to event co-ordinator and player Layla Robinson.

"This gets the crowd very excited and you often hear lots of 'oooohs' and 'aahhhhs' during the bout, especially when someone takes a tumble," she said.

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"Rotorua absolutely love roller derby. We get an amazing response with lots of energetic supporters in the crowd there for the fun atmosphere and the intensity of the bout.

"There's always a Mexican wave, which is appropriate because one of our jammers, Frida Skull-O and her husband, referee Machete Accent, will both be participating in the event," she said.

Slam Rock embraces the theatrics of roller derby with blazing costumes, disco balls and halftime entertainment. The crowd is encouraged to join the party and come dressed up, as well as enter the halftime air guitar competition for children and adults.

Ms Robinson believes the enthusiastic crowd prepares the team well for battle.

"One thing about Slam Rock as opposed to other bouts we play, is that we're on home turf, surrounded by friends, family, people we went to school with, and fellow Rotorua locals.

It makes us feel relaxed and excited, and the pre-bout nerves don't present themselves quite as much.

"It's just such a buzz for our league to see the event we work so hard on, and the team we've worked so hard to train with, culminate in such an outstanding night," she said.

Roller derby is believed to be the fastest growing women's sport in the world.

New Zealand has about 30 leagues.

It is played in a series of "jams" which can last up to two minutes.

Slam Rock is the Steam Rollers' biggest fundraiser and it helps cover the cost of local teams travelling to play other leagues throughout the country.

Fact file:

* What: Slam Rock

* Where: The Sportsdrome

* When: Tomorrow, 6pm-9pm

* Tickets: Adults $15, Children $7, Family $40. Tickets (07) 928 4500