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North Sydney Sentinels scored a stunning victory over the Brisbane Bulldogs during the World of Tanks ANZPL finals. In a tie breaker match, the North Sydney team secured the $10,000 AUD cash prize and became back-to-back Champions. The finals took place at Fortress Melbourne over the weekend, marking the return of in-person esports events at Fortress Melbourne, Australia.

World of Tanks ANZPL finals

The Season two finals were everything fans wanted from the ANZPL. Brisbane Bulldogs took the semi-final win over the Melbourne favourites, Melbourne Matildas, to earn their place in the finals. The North Sydney Sentinels came to the arena with the hopes of defending their season one crown. During the finals matches, each team traded wins in spectacular fashion. For the fourth match, it was two wins a piece and the Bulldogs looked like they had the victory in the bag. Unfortunately, the team pushed, giving away the base position and running down the timer for the North Sydney win.

The Bulldogs fought hard in the fifth match to bring it back to three wins a side. In the end, North Sydney dominated the tiebreaker, losing only one tank to win the final and take home the title. North Sydney received $10,000 AUD cash prize for first place. Each team member also won a HyperX Cloud II wireless headset and a ROG Strix Curved 32″ monitor. The runners up won $5,000 AUD cash and the HyperX headset for each team member, missing out on the monitors.

While Melbourne Matildas didn’t make finals, they still nabbed third place over the South Sydney Skorpians. These teams took home $3,000 AUD and $2,000 AUD cash, respectively.

First esports IRL event in a long time

The World of Tanks finals event was one of the first in-person esports tournaments in a very long time. Not only were the crowd excited to be there – evident by the cheers and jeers – players were stoked to play on stage. We were lucky enough to be at the event on the night to experience the hype, and the performances. We had the chance to speak with Matthew “Ravvi”, the captain of the Brisbane Bulldogs, who shared his excitement about being back on stage:

“[It was] nerve racking! I was shaking so much, but it was just the excitement and adrenaline of playing on stage in a grand final. [It’s my] first ever on ground event and I was just stoked to be here. I didn’t really care about the result in the end.”

None of the competitors from either team had ever played at an in-person event. Jake “JayRated” Truman, the ANZ Product Manager for World of Tanks, expressed his joy around the ANZPL finals. He told us:

“I honestly could not be happier with how this went. Season one was very much an experiment… but we managed to build the momentum, build the hype, and when we bought it all together tonight in what is probably one of the first on-ground esports events that this country has seen in a couple of years. You could hear the crowd showing their appreciation for being back in a physical space.”

Fortress Melbourne and IRL challenges

This is also one of the first major events live in the new Fortress Melbourne space. JayRated said he could not be happier with the venue and the commitment of the Fortress team:

“It’s beyond my expectations. When you see Fortress Melbourne online and you see the photos and videos, they are amazing. But, I truly don’t believe they give a venue of this scale proper justice… the Fortress team on top of that have been incredible and amazingly accommodating.”

Getting ready for an event of this scale however, isn’t without its challenges. JayRated explained some of the logistics around the event:

“The biggest challenge for tonight was actually getting all of the players and teams briefed, trained and [physically at Fortress]… there’s also a level of maturity that goes from being an online pro gamer to an in-person professional.”

JayRated explained how all the players hadn’t previously participated in live esports events, and this bought its own challenges. He commended all the players for stepping up to the plate.

JayRated thanking everyone for their involvement and support for the event.

World of Tanks Season 2 journey

What seemed like a few grueling weeks of Tanks action for fans, appeared to be a great learning curve for the Brisbane Bulldogs. Ravvi told us how he and his team got better each week through training and practice. “They [the Bulldogs players] wanted to play. They wanted to make finals. When we had the chance to make finals they said ‘let’s push for it’. We started paying more attention to trainings, started practicing things properly, and the boys committed the time to it.”

It paid off during the finals and the Bulldogs showed they were a team who was meant to be at the finals. “Throughout the season we got better every week. Tonight showed how well we can match to the Sentinels… I’m just super proud of where my boys came. We have just improved so much every week.”

Rowan “Rowendy”, the captain of the North Sydney Sentinels, echoes the words of Ravvi. He spoke about the match being tough, but showed he and the team can handle the pressure. “What was a really hard match, I think were able to get over the top just because we have a never give up attitude. It showed last week in the semi-final, and tonight when we went in at the end on attack – when no one had won attack all night – it was a real team effort to pull together and do what we needed to do.”

As the season two World of Tanks ANZPL finals wrap up, we look forward to its return with season three.