‘Community, diversity and the value of a good rousing speech’: Reclink Community Cup turns 30
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01.06.2023

‘Community, diversity and the value of a good rousing speech’: Reclink Community Cup turns 30

Reclink Community Cup
Credit: Carbie Warbie
Words by Matt Parnell

Megahertz staple Chris Gill and Rockdogs freshman Carlson weigh in ahead of the Reclink Community Cup’s 30th anniversary.

What started as a philanthropic showdown between the esteemed Espy Rockdogs and the spirited Tote FC in 1993, the Reclink Community Cup has since evolved into an indispensable fixture of Melbourne’s music scene.

Ahead of the fast-approaching match that raises over $200k annually for Reclink Australia, I spoke to representatives of each team. Chris Gill is the owner of Northside Records and a 15-year veteran of the Megahertz, a team made up of community radio hosts. Carlson, from Our Carlson, is a Reclink debutante representing the Rockdogs, Reclink’s team of musos. 

Carlson even mentions he wants to be matched up on Gill, laying early seeds for a potential “battle of the hair”.

Despite coming from opposite sides of the field, they both hit on similar notes about what the community cup means to them and what they rate about the day out, specifically community, diversity and the value of a good rousing speech.

“It’s been really fun getting to know everyone – people you’ve watched their band play and been like ‘they’re fucking sick’ and you get to hang out and meet ’em and see what they’re like, how they tick, how they kick the footy,” says Carlson.

“Music’s really about community, the music we’re all into is a real community vibe. It’s really nice to come together without booze and get to know each other better out of the pubs and the venues.”

From a radio presenter’s standpoint, Chris Gill agrees that “it forms a beautiful bridge that joins all community radio stations together and keeps them co-committed to one another always. Because we interact with all the different radio announcers we’re there to support them on the field and off the field at all times, too.”

Becoming increasingly more diverse each year, inclusivity is a staple of the Reclink ethos. “To play [football] with all genders is incredible and it’s incredible that we make it happen,” Gill continues. 

Although it’s Carlson’s Rockdogs debut, he’s played under coach Cash Savage before for the Old Bar Unicorns. “Cash and I have never lost a game of footy with her coaching and me playing,” he states. “The scoreboard might read one thing, but in our hearts, we’ve never lost a game.

“Heart beats scoreboards every day of the week and we’ll be winning hearts. We’ll be taking home the heart points and maybe the other ones.”

Chris Gill has a few more stories from his years with the Megahertz, but none more compelling than this tale of coaching brilliance. “It was the first year that the Megahertz had won and Crispi Windsor [from Radio City] came in and gave us one of the most incredible speeches. That was the year we actually won by a point. 

“It was this beautiful anti-hero speech that left everyone mystified, stupified, groupified … we went out there floating on air.”

Despite the casual nature of the game, don’t be fooled into thinking that these two don’t want a win. Carlson’s talk about heart points belies a steely demeanour, while Gill’s beloved Megahertz are pushing for a fifth consecutive Community Cup win. As such, they were both keen to give this match a bit of extra buzz in the form of inciting the rumour mill.

Chris Gill mentioned that he believes the Rockdogs are stacking their team, and that Izy’s Ryo Montgomery was once scouted by the Brisbane Lions. In response, Carlson accused Chris Gill of wearing a wig, going all out with double-sided tape for the game to keep up the facade.

In addition to this hotly contested match, the 2023 iteration of this family and dog-friendly Community Cup will see live performances from Close Encounters, Gut Health, Teeny Tiny Stevies, Our Carlson, The Merindas (“Our Beyonce, per Carlson”), Mzrizk and Cosmic Psychos. 

It all goes down at Victoria Park on June 18. Grab your tickets by heading here

Stay up to date with what’s happening in and around Melbourne here.