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August 13, 2015

Taking a punt

Ahead of the first ever Adelaide Community Cup – a charity AFL match played by musicians and the media – organiser Koral Chandler reflects on an event that is important enough to get musicians and journalists out of bed on a Sunday morning.

  • Words: Koral Chandler
  • Picture: André Castellucci

This time last year I took a punt, a figurative one and later a literal one: I decided to play in a charity Aussie rules game in Sydney.


The inaugural Adelaide Reclink Community Cup takes place this Sunday, August 16, at Coopers Stadium, Norwood. Gates open at midday and entry is a gold coin donation.

A ticketed gig on Saturday August 15 at the Grace Emily Hotel featuring Adelaide super group the Supergroupatoos will also raise money for Reclink, while the official after-party at The Wheatsheaf Hotel will include the launch of Wheaty Brewing Corp’s Ink Slinger Stout – a beer brewed especially for the Community Cup with proceeds from Sunday sales of the first keg going to Reclink.

The editor of CityMag, Farrin Foster, is one of the volunteer organisers of the Adelaide Reclink Community Cup.

I remember the feeling on game day – the anxiety of walking into a change room full of people I’d never met, the fear swelling in my stomach that I was the odd one out – the random who walked in off the street and didn’t belong.

I was certain that I was going to ruin the game. I was going to get in the way, fall over the ball, generally make a fool of myself and destroy the entire community event somehow… I’d probably make the charity go bankrupt and end up kicking a puppy, also.

Except I didn’t. Sure, I kicked the ball the wrong way and performed a few questionable tackles but that didn’t seem to matter. In fact, one hilariously ridiculous match of football later and the 40 people in my team felt like family. I was part of something and the anxiety washed away like so much sweat, mud and beer.

I can’t remember who won that day, but I do remember thinking that what that footy match did for me is what Reclink does for the disadvantaged.

Reclink is the charity that the match I played in was supporting. They use sport and art programs to help people feel like they are a part of a community who care about them – to help people in tough spots feel like they are worthy and like they matter.

It’s a hugely effective charity that runs everything from footy leagues in remote Indigenous communities to inner city choirs for people who are or have been homeless. These programs can be the only time someone is called by their name each week, or can simply create structure in a life that is being rebuilt.

Despite being demonstrably valuable and effective, Reclink has suffered funding cuts in the last few years – making the Community Cup, that charity football I played in Sydney, more important than ever.

The Community Cup has been going in Melbourne for 21 years, and in Sydney for four. These events have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Reclink, and now we have one in Adelaide because I decided to start one up.

This Sunday, if you come watch the inaugural Adelaide Reclink Community Cup at Norwood Oval, you’ll see a lot of things. You’ll see a lot of unfit musicians and uncoordinated media personalities fumbling balls on the field and probably tripping over one another. You’ll see some great Adelaide musicians – including The Beards and Max Savage – play some music. You’ll see kids having a kick at half time on the Oval and getting their faces painted.

You won’t see how much the money we raise helps people who need a hand, but the knowledge is sure to help you have an extra good time nonetheless.

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