The Brisbane Reclink Community Cup 2017 – Brisbane Lines v Rocking Horses: Thrusting your name before the selectors?



Barracking is easy, or at least it should be.


All that I require generally is a clearly defined hero and villain in order for me to establish an emotional connection to the game. The criteria can vary. It could be fundamental geography that steers my allegiance. Perhaps there’s an historical or traditional influence, maybe adherence to an ancient prophecy (we should never have extended our patio over that Pagan burial ground) or, my personal favourite, the underdog.


Outwardly, today’s game promises discernible differences to aid in my decision: Musicians versus The Media. Tattoos, heavy eye make-up and pent-up anger at society versus…I don’t know…whatever it is musicians are motivated by these days. Today is, however, not quite that straight forward. This is, after all, The Community Cup.


The problem is, there’s really only good guys out there today and they are all representing the underdog. But a little more on that shortly.


It’s an intriguing concept, and one that in the relaxed lead up to the teams taking the field, allows me to ponder the possibility of expanding upon the coming together of other potential nemeses in the name of worthy causes:


Police versus Fire Services, Taxi versus Uber drivers, fans of Adam Sandler movies versus anybody with an education. The possibilities would appear limitless.


I have arrived fresh from my own game this morning, where I gathered five scintillating possessions (mostly turnovers but strategic ones I like to think). I am on foot down Cansdale Street, Yeronga and engulfed by another flawless Brisbane day. Nonetheless, it is winter so ankle high socks with shorts are advised.


Yeronga is a suburb of burgeoning affluence that hugs the Brisbane River. Herds of densely lycra-ed locals powerwalk their way past me en route to a cleansing kale smoothie.


Steve Hutchinson, one of the organisers, affects a broad smile as he greets me inside the gate and offers me access to all areas. I decline, adding that I prefer to work the shadows and soak up the atmosphere which, upon reflection, does sound a little creepy and most likely explains why I don’t see Steve again.


Peter Cullen, the founder of Reclink and the man who makes it all possible, spies me in one of my lurking moments and introduces himself. Fresh from addressing both teams he is only too happy to offer some background.


The program started back in 1989 as kick to kick with the simple philosophy of looking to “Include the un-included,” smiles Peter. “Reclink is an organisation that uses The Arts and team sports to implement pathways for people lacking structure in their lives,” he says. “It allows people to experience themselves in a different way. Team sport provides a powerful social and emotional support network. People call you by your name.” he announces glowingly.


Peter is most exuberant in revealing that a recent study conducted at La Trobe University found that for every $1 invested into their structured sports programs, equates to a return of around $8.94 in social value. It’s a figure Peter is extremely proud of.


It’s a concise overview that makes me wish I had been around for his full address to the players. His delivery is measured and passionate and reaches a powerful crescendo when, tearing slightly, he says simply:  “It has saved lives.” I can see why Blundstone throw their support behind it.


For the combatants, good will and a positive message are the inspiration but rest assured, more is at stake. Not least of all personal pride.


This does nothing to help my position regarding to whom I should consider offering my invaluable support. Perhaps whichever team has the better team song should secure my vote. I would expect the musicians tune to carry better harmonies but the media’s is likely to be more grammatically correct. It’s a tough one.


For the musicians it presents the perfect opportunity to once and for all lay to rest the uncomfortable stereotype that they harbour some inherent aversion to physical activity, preferring to be off brooding in darkened corners and dingy bars someplace. For the Media it’s a rare chance to experience sunlight.


The atmosphere billowing from The Rocking Horses change rooms is a raucous one. These guys have come to play. Conversely, The Brisbane Lines offer a more subdued build up.


The game is being broadcast live on 4ZZZ. Pre-game commentary drifts across the ground. It adds a little to the theatre. One of the announcers informs listeners that The Rocking Horses are the defending champions and are, as yet, undefeated. That’s one win in a row. A dynasty beckons.


That clinches it for me. This knowledge, coupled with my own repressed desires to one day find myself working in media (hey, it could happen, toner cartridges don’t change themselves you know), I’m on The Brisbane Lines’ bandwagon. They’ll be chuffed, no doubt.


The Brisbane Lines are out first to the synchronised swinging of arms before dropping into some uncomfortable looking lunges.


Michael Lugden and Andrew Bartlett loan the Lines squad a touch of silver haired maturity.


Cameron Smith catches the eye with a beard that could stuff a queen sized doona cover. It’s impressive but the unseasonal heat could see him calling for the shears early. Adam Shields has favoured an unconventional fluorescent wig…or at least I hope it’s a wig. If that’s his real hair, he should cease importing his shampoo from Chernobyl immediately.


The Rocking Horses lope out next. Mascot, Honey the Dog, surges out on to the ground with the team. A mixed breed, I think there may be some Collie in there somewhere which, given the stragglers falling off the back of the pack already, may come in handy.


Pat Mahoney leans into some short sprints. I employ the term loosely. I’ve seen continents drift faster.


Early thoughts are with the Rocking Horses presenting as a little more organised. They have broken off into some nice little pre-game drills. The Brisbane Lines tend to be milling around aimlessly. Several are on mobile phones, checking messages and adding the final touches to some last minute hash tagging.


The Brisbane Lines win the toss and will kick to the Sausage sizzle end.


Grace Pashley hands to Megan Stewart for the first clearance, belying initial impressions. The Lines are up and about. Their apparent pre-game apathy was all a cunning ruse and they have caught the Rocking Horses napping.


The Horses are under siege early. It’s only when Pete Black gives away a 50 metre penalty for dissent that they are able to find a way out of their backline.


Both sides are carrying long benches which quickly becomes a blessing. The warm-ups have taken their toll and both teams are ringing the changes regularly. The interchange gates have been removed in favour of a revolving door.


Any suggestions that this is purely kick and giggle are quickly dispensed with some very willing attack on the ball. The Lines make a forced change when Jeremy Shields is assisted from the ground. Whether it’s an ankle injury or the onset of chronic laziness is not immediately apparent to his teammates. He is carried all the way to the bench and appears likely to approach the bar the same way later on.


Quarter time arrives to the relief of many and sees The Brisbane Lines with the early advantage. Spirits are high, nearly as high as Traci Presland’s socks. There is talk she will need to be airlifted out of them.


Bodies glisten under a probing sun. Cameron Smith mops his brow but might soon call for a squeegee to replace the towel.


The second quarter commences and The Rocking Horses are a little rattled. A second 50 metre penalty within two minutes points to the sort of discipline issues we’ve come to expect from the music industry.


Rebellion is the hallmark of music. Brooding, denim clad figures, regaling their adoring hordes with ponderous verse about sticking it to “The Man.” Not today my melodious martyrs. Today “The Man” is a couple of fresh faced lads, cloaked in fluorescent green and prancing majestically on the fringes of the contest. Wielding supreme executive authority with a whistle, like it were Excalibur. This is not Woodstock, Rocking Horses! Structure is needed.


James Brooks converts from the resulting penalty and quickly sneaks another one out of congestion to give The Lines a troubling early ascendancy.


It’s The Rocking Horses that appear to have the Lion’s share of support around the ground though. Groupies applaud politely, not entirely sure what they’re witnessing. If the Rocking Horses are to have any chance in this game they need their supporters to find their voices.  This seems unlikely. Many are a few Chardonnays deep already. Forget finding their voices, they’ll be doing well just finding the exits.


A powerful contested grab to Shane Collins and subsequent goal to the Horses offers hope approaching half time. Will it lift them?


A Brendan Colch bomb from outside 50, after the siren is a highlight for The Mighty Lines. Brendan is no novice. He’s clearly chased the ball in anger before and has repelled many a Rocking Horse advance from Half Back thus far.


I find myself enjoying the harmonious stylings of Adele Pickvance at half time, who keeps things light and festive. Today’s musical interludes have been modern and earthy. I used to play triangle in a regressive rock band in the early ’90s so I know a thing or two about the industry. That said, my earlier requests to hear some Leo Sayer covers appear destined to go unfulfilled.


The Brisbane Lines emerge first after half time, well ahead of the opposition. They present as re-focused and there is great energy among the group.


The game re-starts and it’s impossible to fault the desire of Rocking Horse skipper Xavier Poropat in his efforts to lift his charges. He’s in everything after the break but it’s the incessant pressure of The Brissie Lines that allows them to pull away once more heading into the last quarter.


An Atlas Harwood goal at the three minute mark gives The Horses a faint glimmer of hope until some razzle dazzle from James Brooks results in his third goal and puts it beyond doubt.


Atlas Harwood snaps a ripper from the boundary line in the shadows of full time but it’s in vain. The siren serenades a wobbly Dylan Walker torpedo through for six more points and victory for The Brisbane Lines.


The briefest of foe embrace. Individual awards are dispensed, captains exchange pleasantries and weary combatants embrace once more at the request of the iPhone paparazzi.


It all unfolds with regimented precision. There are, after all, festivities to enjoy.


All in all it’s been a genuine thrill to have been part of this wonderful occasion for an equally wonderful cause.


A game played in a great competitive spirit that honours all the values that Peter Cullen had espoused in his earlier addresses.


The ledger is squared now at one apiece in what I feel will make for a welcome new addition to the Brisbane sporting calendar. I’m just hoping I’ve done enough in this article to catch the eye of the Brisbane Line selection committee. If they’re looking for a solid half dozen hurried possessions next year from off a Half Back Flank, then look no further comrades.


Well done to all involved. A cracking day out.


Read more on the Brisbane Community Cup Facebook page.

Read more Community Cup 2017 reports HERE.


About Jamie Simmons

Born in Melbourne, a third generation Fitzroy supporter, in 1972 before emigrating to Tasmania during The Great Broccoli Famine of 86. Leaving my island lodgings, largely at the request of locals, to settle once more on the mainland in 1997. These days living out a peaceful existance on the outskirts of Brisbane, where I spend most of my time serving as a fashion warning to others.


  1. Dave Brown says

    Very good, Jamie, tons of giggles. Might also be the first media win for the Community Cup season too. Anyone kicking goals from outside 50 should be immediately dismissed as overqualified

  2. Lee Oliver says

    Great write-up. Dave, if players who kick goals from outside 50 should be barred from playing that means the Community Cup founder Jason Evans should be spectating in Brisbane next year.

    Evo kicked a great goal for Rocking Horses from outside 50* last year (legend will soon pass that it was a 60m kick).

    * wind assisted.

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