The Perth Community Cup

Dennis Gedling with Founder Jason Evans Casey. Failed to hold a possession but got to hold the cup.

“Rehab is needed!”

“Rehab is compulsory!”

“Rehab helps recovery!”

This would be expected to be on the wall of any other number of exhausted underfunded substance abuse treatment facilities across the country but this was the home changerooms of Swan Districts at the much loved Bassendean Oval. It was meant for players to aide in their recovery from games and not for substance addiction but it may have meant both for some people using the rooms last Sunday.

The rooms were being used by the ‘Newshounds’, a rag tag collection of radio presenters from RTR FM, writers from street press and the West Australian along with a smattering of others from different community organisations. They would be taking on the local musicians who were the ‘Bandgropers’ as part of the first Perth version of the Reclink Community Cup.

The cup is much loved and well known charity footy event in Melbourne that celebrated its twentieth year this year after spawning at the famous Espy. The event has extended to Sydney and Adelaide with similar set ups to celebrate that great game of Australian Rules Football, see well known musicians and personalities out on the field fighting for hard ball gets and above all else raise money for Reclink and celebrate community.

Training had been intense. It was first thought myself and RTR FM presenter and local D’n’B DJ ‘Dart’ would be taking Sunday morning training for musicians who would be on limited to no sleep with a fag in their mouth and dressed in black with no discernible footballing skills. We were expecting the newshounds to be clean living journalists looking for that big break with next stop Radio National or an overseas Al Jazeera posting coming to training after a good nights’ rest and ready to use clean sharp skills.

It was quite the opposite.

Training kicked up a notch when it moved to Thursday nights at a park in Bayswater used by local vets team The Central Crocs under the tutelage of local Vets doyen ‘Nardi’. The Bandgropers trained hard, ran hard and had precision kicking in the 9s games that would make Hawthorn blush. The Newshounds were chasing shadows even in training and would have to be inspired on the day by hook or by crook. Late trades occurred during the lead up to boost the Hounds. We stopped short of ring ins. If we would be belted it would be a clean belting.

On a beautiful game day we Newshounds were suited and booted 2 hours before the game and going through our paces in shirts way too tight for most with footy shorts that could only be described as Kylie Minogue’s missing hot pants. There were famous names on the lockers of this famous club with Narkle, Ugle, Holmes, Rance, Walker and Baker among others but for today it would be about Rokwell, Devo, Chief, ‘Bloke’ Collins, Havercroft and ‘The Fox Man’. A couple of warm ups out on the massive oval that seemed to wreck most was followed by more limbering up, tactics and a laconic speech from the founder Jason Evans Casey (already with beer in hand) on the rules and culture of the cup.

Former Eagles coach and Roy Boy Ron Alexander had the Bandgropers revved up. After the match it was discovered that he had told the team we had done shit interviews and written shit reviews of their bands over the years and it was time for revenge. The ‘gropers did a collective Dermie circa 1988 deliberately running through our warm up trying to put the Hounds off but we would not be perturbed. The Hounds came up with a reasoning that if anyone in a band that kicked a goal would be stripped of airplay by RTR FM. Someone who shall remain nameless suggested going for fingers during the game.

“Musicians need their fingers to play instruments” was the reasoning.

The traditional start to the cup. A paper rock scissors to see which end to kick to first.

Personally I had managed to score the #35 guernsey and wanted to channel Chappy a day after the great man’s retirement. I almost had that chance minutes in to the game when receiving a handball from RTR FM’s sports man Chris Mason I snapped for goal in something like that Chappy moment from the 09 GF except for the fact I completely mishit the shot and it went wide for a point. I wouldn’t be breaking Saints’ hearts this day like Chappy did on that day and faded from the game after only a couple of minutes when I would normally fade after 30 seconds. From here against the wind the Gropers were sharper and ran harder putting a couple of early goals before we inched one back. Still they went on to kick a few more and had a handy lead at quarter time.

With the wind the Gropers kicked on and broke out to a 5 goal lead that was inched back thanks to two balls being put on to the field by umpires dressed like the shit ring-in non-original Kokomo era Beach Boys and some questionable 50 metre penalties dished out in the favour of the hounds’ Sam Scherr (the biggest Dockers fan to ever had been born in Washington DC). At half time we switched things around and would have to go for it with the breeze with more sunscreen applied on lilywhite skin in the rooms for players more used to spending hours on end inside dank radio studios rather than WA’s abundant sunshine. People checked phones for AFL updates, some did selfies, maybe it was the Newshounds club culture we needed to fix. It was all a bit Gold Coast.

The commentary by some of RTR FM’s finest on the PA had been a highlight.

“If this game was a netflix series I would have binge watched it already.”

“This line up is like the Usual Suspects and just like Kevin Spacey they are all winners.”

“It’s the fumble in the jungle!”

In the third quarter the Hounds tried to find space, play on at all costs and get some momentum back which was achieved initially (thanks for a wonderful Ablett 89 GF like snap from a thrown in by Chris Havercroft) but after getting within four goals the Gropers steadied after a few bum notes. The Gropers captain Pat (from the band Sugar Army) was inspired by his resurgent Eagles’ season and launched attack after attack off the half back line with a host of supporting players including a female member of the team who played in the local women’s competition carving up every centre bounce and a member of local scuzzy guitar band Doctorpus never stopping his run on the wing with a hair cut that made him a spitting image of a pre-alcoholic George Best. At three quarter time it was out to 6 goals but the Newshounds would not admit defeat even if they had copped a pelting akin to interviewing a surly Lou Reed ten times over.

“It’s anybody’s game…if you don’t look at the scoreboard” was the commentary on the sidelines.

In the final quarter RTR Manager and organiser of the event in the West Jason Cleary kicked an inspirational goal from way out to keep the Hounds hanging in it but it turned in to a precession. The Hounds were done but we limped on regardless with all players on the field in the end. The final siren sounded to herald the end of a game played in more than the right spirit in front of a enthusiastic crowd decked out in the merch, sampling fine beers and enjoying the fact the Cup was now West. The Gropers had done it easy in the end by over 7 goals. Handshakes all around, applause for the crowd that had come to watch this ‘spectacle’ and the presentation of the cup to victorious captains.

 

Thecup

 

We were vanquished but not bowed considering the opposition we were up against. Inside the rooms broken bodies laid around or limped to the showers past the un-emptied melted ice baths from the last Swans game from the previous weekend that were now greasy water and looked like something that should be in a bank vault in Snowtown.

Upstairs in the wonderful old Swans club room players, families and fans gradually made their way up for beers and respite. Victorious Bandgropers still wore their shirts over street clothes mimicking premiers while some were perplexed by a huge mural of John Todd that made the Swans legend look like a mumps ridden Paul McCartney complete with bowl haircut. While the presentations were on (complete with JEC again inspiring with beer in hand) kids slid around on the dance floor without their shoes like they were bored at a big family wedding waiting for the speeches to end and the band to start. War stories were traded, thanks were given and Facebook friend requests were sent. The bands were a mix of funk, soul and alt-country as everyone slowly had their joints seize up and let the alcohol ease the pain.

The first Community Cup in Perth was a great success and wonderful afternoon spent with creative minds, hearty souls and some truly great members of the local media and music communities. This is just the beginning of a wonderful concept in Perth.

About Dennis Gedling

RTR FM Presenter. Glory Guerrillas Producer and Co-Host. Contributer to Football Nation Radio and Football West. Worships at the feet of the mighty Cats, Socceroos, Matildas, West Perth, Glory and Glasgow's Green and White most of the time.

Comments

  1. jason evans says:

    Well done Dennis,

    It is compulsory when addressing anyone at the Community Cup, one must have a beer in their hand. And at $9 a beer, one had to hold on to it. See ya next year.

  2. Patrick O'Brien says:

    Nothing worse for a muso than having his joint seize up post-gig.

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