2020 Deadliest Deadlift & Bench

With 3 previous winners of this event in the Men’s section and two well credentialed interstate guest making their debuts at the Deadliest Deadlift and Bench, this was always going to be a hotly contested competition for both male and female divisions.

Held for the 13th straight year on the wharf, outside Cicerellos Seafood Restaurant in Fremantle the weather gods provided another perfect day which enabled athletes to excel, spectators to relax and everyone to enjoy.

Before diving into the result, a quick summary of fact:

  1. The event had 6 male lifters successfully pulling over 300kg and five that benched 200kg or more.
  2. The women side not to be out gunned saw two girls deadlift over 200kg and two that benched 100kg or better, with a third girl successfully lifting 97.5kg.
  3. Overall, there was 63 new Australian records set, which really highlights the calibre of lifters that participated at this event.

If you honestly believe in “competing where the competition is” this is where you should be sending your lifters.

Women’s Overview

At the start of November, it looked like half the field in the women’s division had a genuine chance of taking the podium however as the month progressed the field started to thin. Defending champion Tania Winwood pulled out after a car crash, Alexis Hayto, third overall at this year’s state powerlifting championships succumbed to a freakish training accident and current Open Women’s State Champion Annie Mallard spent a few days in hospital with an illness that dramatically reduced her readiness for this event.

Even with two out of the three out and one seriously hampered there was still an unbelievable amount of genuine talent. Established powerlifters Lucy Michon, Leah Bennet, Sian Miller, NZ import Alexis Molloy on the come back trail and the fast-improving Ashlee Watkins fresh off her Sons of Odin win all had a genuine chance to podium.

To rock the boat a little, add into the mix Strongman athlete Josie Jordan, Kylie Mcleod and Olympic Weightlifting teen sensation Ruby Cawardine all elected to make their powerlifting debut at this year’s event.

Then came the big addition to the event…. As the WA borders came down Northern Territory’s Sarah Rodwell decided to take up the offer to do a comp down here in Perth. Sarah has had an amazing career to date. In powerlifting she has participated in pro-powerlifting events, Wild Cats and ProRaw. She has also won Australian tittles in Mass Wrestling, Arm Wrestling and participated at the Arnolds in Woman’s division of Strongman. A very formidable resume and one that made her favourite for this event.

Teenage Women

Starting with the teenage Women division we had two candidates eligible for the win, 17year old Jess Napper in her second comp produced PB’s in both lifts. Her deadlift of 105kg being the highlight. Jess is laying some good foundations in her training that will set her up for even greater numbers in the future.

However, it was Australian Olympic Weightlifting phenomenon Ruby Carwardine that took the win. The Olympic hopeful at 18years of age and 72.6kg body weight really made her presence felt. Her failed deadlift of 190kg was testament to her mental toughness or stubbornness – it was a monumental fight that seemed to last minutes as she refused to relent on the bar. Her successful lifts of 72.5kg Bench and 175 Deadlift was enough to give her the win.

Masters Women

Masters division saw three women go head to head.

Kylie Mcleod coming over from the Strongman world impressed with her all-round effort. With Kylie it was more technical problems on the day than strength that disrupted her performance. She ended up with a solid 160kg pull and was awarded “Most Promising” by the jury. A great effort and a ton of potential. Hope we see more of her at future comps.

Erica McKnight set about breaking her numbers from last year and in the process re-writing the CAPO Australian Records in her age and weight division. Her lift of 65kg in the bench looked good but her successful fourth attempt of 150kg in the deadlift was off the charts, capping off a fantastic day of lifting by her.

The winner of the women’s masters division this year was Catherine “Kit” Henderson. Kit has been a strong supporter of CAPO comps over the last 3 years and has chipped way tirelessly to improve her numbers. Her experience really shone through at this event being the only lifter on the day not to miss a lift. Her best lifts of Bench 85kg, Deadlift 170kg and Total of 250kg all constituted CAPO National records. Well done Kit on a very impressive win.

Open Women

As indicated earlier in this article competition for the 3 podium spots was always going to be fiercely contested.

Jemma Kirke and Stacey Rosam both put in solid performances and in the process took away a lot of experience. Attempt selection is always key to building good numbers and sometimes starting a little too high can lead to lifts you were confident getting on the day being missed. I am sure both their totals of 160kg and 210kg respectively will be destroyed on their next outing.

Alexis Molloy back on centre stage after a long absence had a little bit of platform rust to contend with as she fought her way to a 217.5kg total. I am sure with a little more time on the platform we will see her back to her best.

Newcomer Ashlee Watkinson, weighing in at 55kg, fresh off her “Sons of Odin” victory opened confidently nailing a bench PB of 57.5kg before going on to pull a solid 130kg’s. Her Total of 187.5kg was a great indicator she will be putting pressure on the national records at this event next year.

Under coach Corey Millar, the 61.2kg Sian Miller has formed a great partnership and regained her enthusiasm that has her numbers heading in the right direction. At this meet Sian finally hit the 70kg mark on her bench (missing 72.5kg on a technical violation) and finished with an easy 145kg. Her total of 215kg slotted her into 6th place.

Taking part in this meet was nothing short of a miracle for 2020 State’s Overall Powerlifting Champ Annie Mallard who as mentioned earlier spent the best part of a week in hospital running tests for an unknown ailment. With a disrupted prep, she gritted it out for a well-deserved 5th placing, managing a PB bench in the process of 72.5kg.

Now down to the top four.

Leah Bennett, who made her debut at this comp 12 months ago, delivered on the promise she showed that day. Leah came into this comp not only looking strong, but her body composition looked outstanding. The only lifts she missed all day were her 4th attempts. Her Bench of 100kg was the second highest on the day and her deadlift of 185kg moved nicely. Leah’s total of 285kg was the third biggest on the day. It was just on body weight she got pipped into fourth position. Cannot wait to see what she brings next year with a further 12months of training under her belt.

Strongman champ Josie Jordan really was always going to be the wild card in this event. It is great to see athletes making the cross over to powerlifting and hopefully we will see this reciprocated by a few powerlifters next year. Under the guide of her coach Jack Opferkuch, Josie came in primed for a good showing with lifts of 72.5kg bench and a 182.5kg deadlift her total of 255kg with a body weight of 66.5kg was good enough to take third place overall. An amazing achievement in only her first competition and a performance to suggest that she has a big future in this sport if she chooses.

Taking out second for the 3rd year in a row was Lucy Michon, with a performance that would have won the previous two. It was great to see the accumulation of work she has put in over the last 2 years finally payoff. Her bench of 97.5kg was solid and suggest the 100kg barrier will be broken early in 2021. As for her deadlift, her final pull of 200kg was fast and looked more like an opener. The 200kg barrier is part of the “Holy Grail” in women’s powerlifting and I am sure it would have been celebrated long into the night.

Now the winner…. Sarah Rodwell really set the pace at this event right from the start. Her openers of 95kg bench and 205kg deadlift threw down the challenge to the other lifters and showed she was not here just for a holiday!! Her total of 315kg (100kg Bench & 215kg Deadlift) at 73.8kgs was all class. Sarah in winning became the first interstate person to be crowned Deadliest Deadlift & Bench winner which now really opens-up this event nationally.

Men’s Overview

Like the women’s division this was also hotly contested. As mentioned earlier this group of lifters produced 6 x 300kg squats and 5 x200kg Benchers. Even after losing Joel Macaughan to a training mishap there was still three previous winners taking part. One other notable late with drawl was Ivan Kezic, much to the disappointment of his “Train Easy Win Easy” methodology followers.

That said the anticipation and ingredients were still there for a great day of lifting. Here is how it unfolded….

Teenage Men

The future of lifting in this state looks bright as two extraordinarily strong teenagers took centre stage. I’ll call it now both these boys will make a huge dent in the open class record books in time.

Kaevar Agir who picked up the “most promising lifter’ award is built for this sport. At 14 years of age and 127.5kg in body weight he is an impressive sight. Traveling from Newman, this was Kaever first comp. His lifts of 140kg Bench, 230kg deadlift and total of 220kg were all National records. I for one am keen to see what he can produce in 2021 with a little more experience under his belt.

Taking the teenage men’s division was 19year old Matteo Giubilato. Matteo has been a bit of revelation since Covid. His numbers are steadily increasing and like Kaevar looks destined for a big future. His lifts of 142.5kg (145kg on a fourth) and 280kg deadlift secured him first place in the teen division. His total of 422.5kg along with bench and deadlift were all National Age group records.

Masters Men

Thanks to the good promotional work of CAPO’s National Record Keeper Gary Jones the master’s division is going through a resurgence of interest with increasing numbers turning out to comps around the country.

At this event 6 battled it out for supremacy.

First timer Rossario Murace got off to a good start in his powerlifting career setting all the National records in his age group going 6 lifts for 6 success in the process. His energy and enthusiasm were evident from the first lift of the day and I am sure we will see more from him in the coming years.

Was good to see Keith Henderson sharing the platform with his wife Kit at this year’s comp. Always nice to see that family dynamic in the sport. Keith ended up with a 370kg total (150kg bench & 250kg deadlift) for 5th place.

George Napper lifting in the 125kg division pushed out a solid 185kg bench on a fourth lift. His deadlift of 260kg moved well however just came up short with 272.5kg pull that would have moved him up the ladder. Instead his total of 442.5kg saw him just off the podium in 4th place.

Veteran lifters Bill Harnett and Miles Guy picked up third (422.5kg) and second (442.5kg) respectively. Both athletes lifting out of the Lambda Academy in Mundaing were pretty much neck and neck with Miles holding the age advantage and Bill the weight advantage. It was great to see Miles back in action after a serious peck injury in 2019. Impressively Miles hit a PB in his bench of 185kg which would be a confident booster heading into 2021. Bill who was also returning to action after suffering a quad injury in 2019 will be one to watch out for at next year’s 2021 Nationals.

Powerlifting Legend Jim Ambrose is still doing the damage at the tender age of 69. His consistency has seen him rank in the top 3 masters lifters in the country year on year – much of those years at number one. As it played out Jimmy on formula was too far too strong on the day his Total 325kg at a body weight of 74.5kg gave him the win by 36 gloss points.

Open Men’s

The open started with special needs athlete David James taking the platform first up. David has been to a few of our comps now and is a crowd favourite. Under the watch full eye of Jatz Rasmussen David was in good form with best lifts of 72.5kg Bench and 85kg Deadlift. Its great to see David lifting and a tribute to the powerlifting community and the sports follows the way they embrace him.

It has been a while since we have seen Josh Alteri lift, however he still managed to put together a solid 315kg total – the 210kg deadlift being the highlight of it.

Brendan Quilty is another that has made his way back steadily after injury. With sensible lift selection Brendan went 6 from 6 on his way to a 332.5kg total. He definitely has more in the tank. One thing I will acknowledge with Brendan is that when he is not competing, he is helping at these comps, a lesson a few could pick up on.

Tyronne O’Neil weighing in at touch over 100kg by .3 of a kg, was another lifter that lifted well with himself going 6 from 6 on the day his total of 365kg was built via a 127.5kg Bench and 237.5kg deadlift.

Ryan Chaudhry training probably indicated a better day was due than what transpired. His lifts of 160kg bench and 260kg deadlift were a little short of what was Ryan expected but still solid. I’m pretty sure he’ll redeem those extra kilos at his next meet.

Following up from his successful appearance at this year’s CAPO State Championships Russell Tay at 73.8 kilos put in another solid showing with a 130kg Bench and 230kg Deadlift. Finishing a credible 9th on the day amongst a strong field.

Newman’s other powerhouse of a lifter to take the platform on the day was Benjamin Adams. With a Bench of 190kg and deadlift of 260kg at only his second comp I can see bigger things on the horizon for this lad.

Another solid performer on the day was 20-year-old Jamie Westhead and I’m going to call it now… if this guy gets serious about the sport he is potentially has the ability to make it to ProRaw in the next few years. Suffering with a niggly leg injury he switched his deadlift to conventional on thye day and still managed a credible 290kg at a smidge over 90kg body weight. His benches all looked comfortable finishing on 150kg. A lot more to come…

Alec Harris is maturing into a solid performer his total of 490kg was made up of a 190kg bench and a 300kg deadlift. Alec, if he chooses still has another 10kilo’s to fill out his weight class and finishing sixth in this field is a massive indicator you are moving in the right direction.

Fifth spot was claimed by another Strongman crossover. Ayrton Barrett at a full and solid 110kg Body weight and only 28yrears of age looked like he had powerlifted all his life. His 480kg total came via a 180kg bench and 300kg deadlift.

The Big Four

Of the last four lifters, three are previous winners of this event. How goods that??!!

Phil Wilde in his second comp back after an 18month recuperation period is back better than ever. 10kg less in Body weight but up on platform numbers, Phil ended the day with the biggest total, managing 555kg. He also had a bench PB of 235kg on a 4th attempt that flew up suggesting there is more in the tank and I am pretty sure his deadlift of 325kg was a PB as well or very close to it. One thing I am sure about thou, is that “The Wild Man” is back!!…. and the question everyone is asking “How far over 400kg do you think Phil will squat at next year’s CAPO States?”

Kyle Love had a perfect day with attempt selections finishing with a 220kg Bench and a 300kg Deadlift. His Total of 520kg at 106.8kg pushed him into 3rd place by less than 2 glossbrenner points ahead of Phil. One thing I noted on the day was Kyle looked comfortable with no signs of nerves as he normally is a pacer.  I’ve a feeling 2021 could be Kyles breakout year.

Defending Champion Sam Murphy, who has only been powerlifting for just over 12 months has had a meteoric rise in this sport and is destined for the ProRaw stage. His prep in the gym seemed to be on target and those that witnessed his sessions would swear he was ready to annihilate the record books. However, it wasn’t to be, whether it be outside pressures, weight selection on the day or the de-load not being long enough the cards didn’t quite fall his way. That said let’s put this into perspective, the day he had would be most lifters dream best day. His openers of 200kg Bench and 350kg deadlift looked strong however where it came unstuck was his 25kg jump to 375kg which he failed twice. Even then he only lost by the barest of margins -1 glossbrenner point due to being 1.1kilos heavier than the eventual winner. Sam will take a lot out of this meet and apply it in the years to come.

Now to the winner of the 2020 Deadliest Deadlift and Bench, former South Australian David Toomer. David who now resides in West Australia went 6 from 6 and racked up the biggest bench (222.5kg) on the way to the tittle. Having the body weight advantage on Sam he played it cleverly on his last Deadlift to ensure he equalled Sam’s total of 550kg and claim the win. Looks like there will be an epic showdown between these two at next year’s CAPO States in May.


As usual we must give a massive thanks to Emcee Adam Coe who is indisputably Australia’s best action caller in powerlifting.

Our team of Refs on the day who shared the duties: Zo Kruger, Corey Millar, Kenyon Donaldson and Matt Bylsma all did a fantastic job maintaining the consistency you expect from a CAPO run competition.

The one person I feel never gets enough praise is Russ Cook our camera man who is always there snapping up the action and then uploading the shots on to Muscle Pits Facebook for you all to pillage… for free – something you generally pay for at other comps. Big Thanks Russ.

Thanks also to our spotters/Loaders and the scorer’s desk on the day that give their time and energy to ensure the athletes on the day have a safe and enjoyable day!!

Last of all a massive thanks to the fans and supporters who turned up to watch and create an awesome atmosphere, every clap and every cheer is appreciated by all involved.

Our next comp is a novice comp to be held in West Australia’s latest powerlifting facility The Power Pit in Rockingham on the 24th of January. If you wish to know more about this phone Henry on mobile 0401579419.

Have a safe and Merry Xmas…