Live Review: Perth Reclink Community Cup 2015

31 August 2015 | 1:04 pm | Mark Beresford

"With little to no training under their belts, the teams took to the oval with a surprising showing of skill in the warm-up."

Having previously been held for many successful years in Melbourne before expanding to Sydney and more recently Adelaide, it's finally Perth's turn to show our music community's sporting prowess with the Reclink Community Cup.

Designed to raise money and awareness for local Reclink projects aimed at expanding sports and arts in the community, the Community Cup pits a local media team, Newshounds, against a selection of local musicians, Bandgropers, in a fight to the death, or more typically, 80 minutes of Aussie Rules Football. After a striking anthem performance from Simone & Girlfunkle in trio form, the stage was set and the Hawaiian shirt-draped umpires were waiting.

With little to no training under their belts, the teams took to the oval with a surprising showing of skill in the warm-up and, following a 'rock off' due to lack of coins to choose who gets to kick to the 'Red Rooster' end, both sides went completely hammer and tongs at the red leather. Near zero stoppages didn't seem to slow 'Gropers captain Odette Mercy as she burst through the pack at midfield for an unchallenged dominance and it didn't take long for all players' lung capacities to be tested in the pace as Ben McDonald of Dream Rimmy slotted the first major, close to the end of the first quarter.

In the second, it was a decidedly one-sided affair; the 'Gropers' half-backs were tall timber and had the attacking 50 on lockdown. Enter Ross Butson of 5hrFlight, opening up the game and forcing the momentum all one way with two goals and some dominant possessions. His prowess on the field panned over into an unexplained second ball that was delivered onto the field, leaving Perth to thus far be the pioneering city in Aussie Rules Multiball. At the main break the Newshounds remained 41 points adrift, the RTR FM team doing their best to lift spirits via some stellar commentary work from Matt Acorn and Tristan Fidler, who managed to encompass love, life, football, coffee vans, Powderfinger facts and JRR Tolkien within some shining observations such as "he kicked the ball, with his hand". If they don't present a Grand Final simulcast live this year, there will be no justice in the world.

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Entering the premiership quarter, the smell of menthol rub entered the air and the decidedly fired up Newshounds bounced back through quick possessions and running the wing. The 15-minute tussle finally displayed on the scoreboard through a quick snap in traffic from the forward pocket off the boot of Newshounds captain Chris Wheeldon from a clanger kick-in. Answered quickly before the siren, the 'Hounds were again off the pace and facing a steep challenge in the final term.

The day's steady flow of people through the gates reached its peak with the approach of the final quarter as the front pavilion viewing area was packed. Both teams poured their hearts into the closing minutes, and despite some cracking runs from 'Hounds captain Caitlin Nienaber, the gap proved too much as the final siren sounded.

The first inaugural Perth Reclink Community Cup entered the deserving hands of the Bandgropers in a convincing style, courtesy a sturdy backline and solid chaining of possession.

With the scores settled, both sides shook hands and the cup was handed over to an elated side of musicians. After a short break, the show continued on to the clubrooms, most still kitted up — showers were optional here — but beers a must. Beverages flowed faster than the game ever could as weary bodies found solace in a glass and fresh battle stories, getting ready for the medal presentations.

Best On Ground for the Newshounds was handed straight over to Michael Biagioni, who was a late draftee from the opposing side — controversy — and Best Dressed headed the way of Kristie Butler.

The Best Dressed 'Groper, unable to be split, went to "the pair with the hair", Adam Livingston of Emperors and Vaughan Davies of Split Seconds. Best On Ground could only go to the pace and tenacity of Ensemble Formidable's Maisie Glen.

Boom! Bap! Pow! and The Ghost Hotel took the clubrooms into the evening and were likely the soundtrack to the brewing storm that is multiple hamstring tears. The only way that Perth's first showing in the Reclink Community Cup could be described is as a blazing success. In the true spirit of the cup, both sides pressed hard from post to post in complete dedication and without any flared tempers. You can guarantee both sides will already be thinking about their next shot at grabbing the silverwear in what is guaranteed to be an even bigger affair next year.

NEWSHOUNDS               1.1    2.2    4.3      6.3     (39)

BANDGROPERS               2.3    8.7    9.10    13.10  (88)