The Reclink Community Cup remains the most thrilling date on the social calendar

The Reclink Community Cup remains the most thrilling date on the social calendar

2019 Reclink Community Cup
Photo by Anna Madden
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Words by Kate Streader
Photos by BandAnna Photography

The 25th anniversary edition was arguably its most exciting as the Megahertz took home the chocolates by one solitary point.

“Victoria Park are you warm enough yet? Me neither! But things are about to heat up,” rang a voice over the loudspeakers, marking the moment we’d all been waiting for: the 25th Reclink Community Cup match.

Having just witnessed the funk-fuelled electronic sounds of Harvey Sutherland, punters hurried from the field to nab a vantage point among the crowded stands for the most important game of the year.

After a Welcome to Country and speeches touching on the Indigenous tradition of Marn Grook which paved the way for the game of AFL we know and love today, as well as a number of touching sentiments about the community spirit the game celebrates, all friendly feelings were put on hold in exchange for a quarter-century-strong rivalry between the Espy Rockdogs and the Megahertz.

The siren commencing the game had barely sounded before the Megahertz kicked their first goal. Their strong start was short-lived, however, as the Rockdogs swooped in to kick the next slate of goals, kicking to a 26 – 6 lead by quarter time.

Come half-time, Baker Boy offered a welcome reprieve – especially for the Megahertz who were now 19 points behind. Still, it was anyone’s game. Showing “more athleticism on stage than the whole of the Rockdogs and Megahertz combined”, as described by an MC, Baker Boy and his troupe of dancers delivered a well-choreographed performance so spritely it coaxed the sun from behind the clouds.

The shenanigans continued on into the second-half; from a sword fight between players, a mid-match on-field slip and slide to the traditional streakers bearing all despite the brisk eight-degree temperature, it was hard to know where to look.

It was clear that if the Megahertz wanted to take out the title, they’d have to play a little dirty and when an umpire peeled off his shirt to reveal a Megahertz jersey before snatching the ball and making a run for it, there was no doubt the community radio team weren’t going down without a fight.

Players shoved, dove, leaped and scrounged with desperation as the clock ticked and despite their slow start in the first half, the Megahertz were now creeping up on the Rockdogs. A goal from the Megahertz’s Levi Heeringa in the final moments of the game snatched the lead by just one point and, with the siren sounding soon after, that was all she wrote.

After a nail-biting final quarter, the only way to cap off the day was with ripper sets from some of the country’s finest music acts. First up was Dan Sultan, who delivered a sprinkling of originals before inviting Paul Kelly out for duets of ‘Every Day My Mother’s Voice’ and ‘From Little Things Big Things Grow’, the latter sparking an all-in singalong from the crowd.

By the time Magic Dirt hit the stage, the sun had disappeared and much of the crowd had peeled off to seek some warmth. Those who stuck around were rewarded with a smattering of hits including ‘Plastic Loveless Letter’, ‘All My Crushes’ and ‘Super Tear’, each drenched in droning reverb.

“Thanks for hanging out at the end here, I know you just want to go home and get in front of the heater,” remarked Adalita, before adding, “Nah, you’re pissed, you don’t care”.

With frosty clouds of breath hanging on the winter air and a carpet of crushed beer cans littering the Victoria Park oval, marking some would-be sore heads come Monday morning, the 25th Reclink Community Cup proved, once again, a staple of any Melburnian’s social calendar. Up the Mighty Megahertz!

Highlight: The nail-biting finish to a bloody good game.

Lowlight: The freezing cold temperature once the sun set.

Crowd favourite: Paul Kelly and Dan Sultan’s duet of ‘From Little Things Big Things Grow’.