Live Review: Perth Reclink Community Cup

30 August 2016 | 4:05 pm | Karen Lowe

"The Bandgropers Vs The Newshounds blind spectators with their lily-white legs..."

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While it was a cold, blustery winter's day (even though spring is supposedly right around the corner), people were already starting to pile into Steel Blue Oval to help support what is fast becoming a tradition in WA - watching some of Perth's premier musicians (aka The Bandgropers) take on the ever-watchful media (aka The Newshounds) in a game of AFL. The question that everyone was asking, of course, was, 'Will The Newshounds be able to take the title from The Bandgropers this time around?' If you asked The Newshounds, that answer would have been a firm 'yes'.

To open the proceedings, Dennis Cometti started off with a killer set after a quick introduction from Peter Cullen (Reclink Founder) that included his best Dennis Cometti impersonation before Simone & Girlfunkle led the crowd in a hauntingly beautiful rendition of the Australian Anthem (including the verse that no one really knows the words to!).

The Newshounds won the coin toss and the game was underway for less than five minutes before another tradition made its way onto the field - the streaker. He kept up with the players and almost got hold of the ball. Strangely, though, no one seemed to want to tackle him to the ground and drag him off. The kids definitely got more than they were expecting to see, however.

Due to the rain the previous days, the grounds were muddy and caused many a spectacular slide as players on both sides dived for the ball, tackled each other to the ground, attempted to kick the ball to members of their own team, made some fantastic marks (and some fantastic failures) and just tried to score goals.

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While the first point went to The Newshounds, by half time The Bandgropers had a clear lead having scored five goals to The Newshounds' one point. Beautiful Losers kept us entertained with a short but loud, grungy, bluesy set with vibes of Nick Cave running through while both sides took the time to catch their breath and quietly die on the sidelines before the second half.

The Newshounds came back on the field looking refreshed and ready to tackle the world. They kicked three goals and more points. Was this to be the comeback that would lead them to victory? Sadly, no. The Bandgropers were just too good for The Newshounds and they retained the lead the whole way through. Once again, The Bandgropers kept the title (52 - 27) and retained the trophy.

As presentations were handed out, players congratulated each other on another great game with only one injury (The Newshounds' Kristie Butler had to be helped off the field) before Peter Bibby closed the main event with a brilliant set.

Reclink Australia was started by Peter Cullen to help provide some of the most isolated and disadvantaged people in our community with an outlet where they could meet others, be part of a sporting team and use recreation as a vehicle to help them reconnect with the community in the hopes that it will break the downward spiral of self-destructive behaviour.

As the last two years have shown, Reclink Community Cup really does bring the community together: we all stand and watch The Bandgropers Vs The Newshounds blind spectators with their lily-white legs (some that haven't seen the light of day since this time last year) as they run around the field and entertain us with the only game of footy that some people watch annually. It doesn't matter who wins or loses, it's a great day out for people of all ages and is all for a wonderful cause.