Reclink Community Cup
Is there anything more definitively Melbourne than music and footy? How about a Nick Cave-themed footy match pitting Paul Kelly-coached musos against stars of community radio, topped off with a set by the venerable Tim Rogers? At a pre-match press conference at a Northcote coffee shop, Megahertz captain Jess McGuire, Rockdogs vice-captain Jo Syme (of Big Scary), and Community Cup organiser Jason Evans offer their thoughts. “Maybe if an art gallery was involved somehow,” offers Jess on increasing the ‘that’s me!bourne’ factor of the day. “Fixies. Maybe if there were fixies everywhere,” adds Jo. And finally Jason offers, “Maybe get the King Of Moomba involved, or if we can get the Yarra diverted down to Elsternwick for the day.”
“So yeah, it doesn’t get much more Melbourne than this,” Jo states to unanimous agreement. “If we could actually get Nick Cave to play on the day, that might be it,” Jess fantasises, to which Jason provides the momentarily exciting rebuff, “He is playing. Nick Cave will be playing on the day,” before quickly conceding… “Well no, he’s not actually. He’s actually in Europe. But he gave us the blessing, because I asked him could we use the idea of the Do You Love Me? tag for the match, like we used The Clash last year. And he said ‘Get fucked. If you do it we’ll sue you.’ So we did it anyway,” Jason grins. “He’s out of the country, he can’t touch us,” laughs Jo.
After so many years of artist-themed matches, the question is not so much ‘Why Nick Cave?’ but rather ‘Why so long to tackle Nick Cave?’ Jason responds, “I think it’s more of a case of ‘Why so long to do an Australian artist?’ When you start giving it a theme, which we’ve only been doing for the past eight, ten years, you think it is such a great idea to theme it. So we’ve had Devo, Kiss, Ramones, then The Clash,” he recalls.
“I think the problem is that you have so many Australian artists playing, and/or getting drunk on the sidelines,” Jess ponders. “We just never thought of doing it,” Jason reasons. “When we were at the Junction [Oval] we had the idea of doing The Saints. I drew the line in the sand this off-season and said we need to do a tribute to an Australian artist. Everyone just kept on coming up with Cave. He’s so un-footy. People who don’t know the Community Cup would go ‘Why are they doing that, combining Nick Cave with football?’ But if you do know the Community Cup, you go ‘Oh, that makes sense’,” he states. “It’s pretty funny,” offers a smiling Jo.
Mentioning the concept of the Community Cup experiencing an ‘off-season’ might seem like a bit of a joke, considering it’s a 364-day period. But it makes sense when considering how much the day means to those involved, whether it be organisers, players, or those in the 10 000-strong crowd who make it to Elsternwick Park each year. “I’m thinking about next year already,” Jason states, giving us a glimpse of the extensive Rockdogs strategy.
“If the Rockdogs lose come Sunday, I’ll be thinking of replacing [coaching staff] Paul Kelly and JVG probably around the second beer after the match, or the third song into You Am I’s set. And if we do lose, Tim Rogers has the all-clear to sack Paul Kelly live on stage. But we’re not gonna lose, so it’s all ok,” he states with confidence.
“I think Paul and JVG were a calming influence, if our joint training session was anything to go by on Monday night,” Jess states. “I felt like being on the Rockdogs team, I really like Paul’s vibe. But I don’t like JVG for being a traitor,” she says in reference to former-Megahert Jon Von Goes’ defection to the Rockdogs, a move with bigger implications than that of Gary Ablett’s move to Gold Coast. “He’s not a traitor, there’s a long, forgotten history, junior,” Jason rebuts with a grin.
Despite the winter chill and common sense commanding all cup-goers to rug up (preferably with an official Rockdogs or Megahertz scarf), the grand ol’ tradition of streaking has become a staple feature for the ‘Cup, against all odds. “My mum was so excited about the male streaker last year,” reveals Jo.
“My friend took her 11-year-old son to the game, and he got a lesson in anatomy he was not prepared for when a streaker had to lift her leg to hop over a fence,” recalls Jess.
“I guess it’s a tip of the hat to Meredith, because they have the Gift, and while Community Cup doesn’t have a Gift,” Jason offers. “Well it’s a gift,” adds Jess wryly. “We’d never ask anyone to do it. I was at a barbeque at a mate’s place and his kid asked me, ‘So anyone can streak at the Cup, and nobody gets in trouble with the police. But if I’m at the MCG and someone streaks it says up on the board it’s a seven thousand dollar fine and arrest?’ You can’t really explain that,” Jason queries.
“The lesson is: pick your moments to get nakie,” Jess muses. “Personally, I wouldn’t do it. Because it’s too fucking cold,” adds Jason. “Well mum did make a comment on the guy last year,” Jo states bashfully. “She loves it!” quips Jess.
With the Megahertz snagging a one-behind win in 2010 – or, to put it another way, the Rockdogs snatching defeat from the jaws of victory – there is always that competitive streak that lay underneath the teams’ jovial disposition. “Having missed a winning goal in the last few minutes a few years back, I vowed it would never happen again,” Jess recalls. “So I didn’t drink for the two months leading up to last year’s Community Cup. But I did make up for it with a Mad Monday explosion with Stew Farrell at the end of last year’s game.
“We went until we could prank call the Breakfasters on Monday as we ate Paddle Pops on my couch, which I’m sure they enjoyed up until the fifth phone call,” she grins. “Yeah well I’ve got the Monday after this year’s match off work,” Jo states with glee.
“It’s a great, fun day. Nobody takes it seriously,” Jason surmises. “Except Tim Rogers.”
The 2011 RECLINK COMMUNITY CUP – featuring a battle of the titans as The Megahertz and The Rockdogs face off once more, adding yet another chapter to their storied rivalry – is at Elsternwick Park this Sunday June 26. Music on the day will come via the legendary pairing of Tumbleweed and You Am I, along with The Mercy Kills, The Rebelles, and the SYN Free Kick competition winner Red Rockets Of Borneo. The theme of the 2011 Reclink Community Cup is ‘Do you love me?’, so all bands will perform a Nick Cave song in tribute to Melbourne’s much-loved Prince Of Darkness. Gates are at 11am.