The Reclink Community Cup returns to Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Saturday, September 8. While it’s been a long-running annual charity event for the music/media industries in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide, this is just the fourth edition of the Cup here in WA.
Still, it’s come a long way since the inaugural 2015 event
“I came into organising it quite late,” recalls RTRFM Operations Manager and game co-organiser, Chris ‘Chief’ Wheeldon, of the first game. “I remember that and that we didn’t really know what we were doing. Players didn’t really sign up, we just hoped they would show up at the game. We had a couple of training sessions and then played the game.
“Some bands played afterwards, and it was good fun but all a little cobbled together. It was a great starting point, however, as the vibe was fun and entertaining… which has continued into the last few.”
With a few Community Cups under the belt the event is a little easier to stage these days, however there are still variables to deal with. This year the game was initially scheduled for Sunday, September 9, but due to WAFL semi-final commitments at the oval the date had to be brought forward to Saturday, September 8, with all involved flexible enough to accommodate.
“It is a little easier in that players want to be involved but then that comes with the issue of having to tell some players they cannot play,” Chief says. “The hype behind it is growing so it is easier to promote and get out there, but it is still an event that we need to make sure a lot of things are put in place for people to have a good time.
“The switch last year to Fremantle Community Bank Oval was good in that everything was there and was in the middle of town, but we did need to bring in our own bar. This year Bar Pop are helping us out which is awesome, and Gage Roads are donating all the beer, which is amazing.
“We would eventually love to get the Freo event like the Melbourne event in that it is the thing to do in September, which will change the whole set-up.”
In 2018 Fremantle Community Bank Oval plays host for the second year. The feeling is that the ground suits the vibe of the Cup better than Bassendean Oval.
“Totally,” Chief affirms. “It’s right there in the middle of Freo which is just amazing. Also the history of the venue is so entrenched in Freo. Having the City of Fremantle council buildings on the ground is great also and now with Rock Rover taking over the clubrooms is just the final piece of magic.”
Pitting musicians (Bandgropers) versus the media (Newsounds) the Community Cup raises funds for Reclink Australia, who use sport and the arts to enhance the lives of people experiencing disadvantage.
Captained by The Hon. Ben Wyatt MLA and Marnie Richardson (RTRFM) and co-coached by Danae Gibson (RTRFM) and Simon ‘Bloke’ Collins (The West Australian) the Newshounds include media identities from RTRFM, ABC Perth, Channel Ten, Channel 9, 100.9fm Noongar Radio, Oztix, The Music and X-Press Magazine.
Captained by Tenille Elkins (Elk Bell/APRA AMCOS) and Leon Ewing (Beaverloop/Sonnenmasse) and coached by Around The Sound’s Bob Gordon (it’s largely ceremonial, I assure you) the Bandgropers squad features musicians from New Talk, FOAM, The Love Junkies, Axe Girl, Scalphunter, The Layabouts, Shimmergloom, HUSSY, Doctopus, The Shakeys, Drowning Horse, Beaverloop and more.
For the last three years the Bandgropers have dominated their opposition. However, this year the Newshounds have a few new recruits in the side and the teams seem more evenly-weighted. Does Chief feel they can finally get up against the Bandgropers?
“I think we can,” responds the nuggety wingman. “A couple of players recruited themselves to the team, plus a couple of extra players from other media outlets. Having people from Channel 10, 9 and The West has been a great addition to the team. So, yeah, I think we have a chance, but in reality, it doesn’t really matter.”
Chief describes the various skill levels of the players on both sides as, “varying… some are great, some are amazing, some don’t exist, and some try really, really hard.” As for their competitiveness, “Sometimes too much… but for the most part it is all fun and a lot of fun at that.”
As well as the football itself there’ll be much in the way of antics and entertainment during the game, plus bands playing in the new Rock Rover venue in the clubrooms afterwards.
So Chief, what do you hope everyone gets out of Saturday’s game?
“Just to have a good time,” he says, nobly. “Footy and sport can get a little bit too serious at times and it really shouldn’t be. Sport is the best way to bring people together, apart from music of course, so we have combined. That’s what people want.”
The Reclink Community Cup takes place at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Saturday, September 8, gates open at 12pm. No BYO.
Fremantle CBC All Abilities Football Team will play a curtain-raiser match (12.30), with RECLINK’s Allstars also playing an AFL 9s match at half-time. Bouncedown for the main game is 2pm. Post-game festivities are in Rock Rover from 4.30pm with Kills Devils Hills, The Tommyhawks, Jack Davies & The Bush Chooks, The Wilds and Flossy.
Full details – www.facebook.com/events/250181855543350/
Pre-sale tickets $6.15, kids under 8 free.