Action from the 2007 Community Cup
|Genre||Celebrity sports match, Charity event|
|Date(s)||AFL split round, June|
|Location(s)||Henson Park, Marrickville, New South Wales (2012-),|
Victoria Park, Abbotsford, Victoria (2017-),
Elsternwick Park, Elsternwick, Victoria (2009-2016)
Junction Oval, St Kilda (1998-2008)
Ross Gregory Oval, St Kilda (1997)
|Years active||23 (includes recess in 2008)|
|Participants||3RRR/PBS FM Megahertz, Rockdogs|
|Attendance||23,000 (record 2007)|
The Community Cup is an annual charity event held in Melbourne (and since 2012 - Sydney), Australia which features a celebrity Australian rules football match. It is noted for its cult following, celebrity appearances and media profile.
It has been played since 1994 between social teams composed of radio station employees (Megahertz) and musicians (Rockdogs) dating back to the early 1990s. It is currently held during the Australian Football League (AFL) split round. In contrast to today's strict AFL codes of conduct the Community Cup is promoted as embracing grassroots community amateur football and as a result it is promoted as "kid and dog friendly" with quarter and half time pitch invasions for traditional kick-to-kick. Social alcohol, smoking and even streaking are tolerated. Despite crowds of up to 23,000 people, it has been a trouble free and casual event.
The teams involved in the cup date back to the 1990s. Espy Rockdogs were founded in 1990 as a social footy team to play against Chasers. The team played in a charity match known as the "Footy Mouth Cup" against the Tote Hotel in 1993, raising $500.
The first "Community Cup" was held in 1997 when 3RRR Program Manager James Young proposed the creation of the 3RRR and PBS FM Megahertz to play against the Rockdogs and raise money for St Kilda's Sacred Heart Mission.
The 2005 event packed the Junction Oval to capacity, attracting 23,000 people. In 2006, despite the installation of temporary fencing to accommodate more spectators, the stadium was once more packed to capacity.
The 2007 event introduced an entry charge $5 for the first time, previous events were by gold coin donation. Despite the entry fee, a similarly large crowd attended.
In May 2008 Sacred Heart Mission withdrew due to increased costs of running it. RRR tried to keep the event alive but there was not enough time to secure a charity partner to host the event on the planned date and much to the disappointment of the St Kilda community, the event was shelved.
The cup secured a new charity in 2009, Reclink, and it was moved to Elsternwick Park, held on 21 June. A positive online feedback poll result saw news radio stations ABC Local Radio and Radio National cover the match for the first time. With the new venue, the event took a hit in its attendance, drawing just 8,000, however in 2010 attendances rebounded to over 10,000.
The 2011 match drew 12,000 people and raised over $120,000.
In 2012, the match was held outside of Melbourne for the first time, playing a match at Henson Park in Marrickville, Sydney.
In 2015, the Community Cup launched in Adelaide (featuring the mighty Rockatoos versus the Anchors) and in Perth, while 2016 sees the game also launch in Hobart and Brisbane.
In 2017, the Reclink Community Cup was held at Victoria Park in Abbotsford with Spiderbait and The Peep Tempel headlining the event. Courtney Barnett and Remi supported.
The 2019 cup was held at Victoria Park, with Magic Dirt headlining, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the cup.
The football match features two teams of non-footballing local communities: the 3RRR/3PBS Megahertz, which consists of personnel from Melbourne's two main community radio stations, and the Espy Rock Dogs, a mix of former and present musicians and bar staff from the Esplanade Hotel. The Rockdog's team president is local satirist Fred Negro, who each year includes the community cup weekend in his weekly pub strip for the Inpress magazine. The Megahertz wear red and white, and the Rockdogs wear black, red white and yellow guernseys. The match is usually umpired by a mix of comedians and notable music industry people, costumed according to a chosen theme, such as 'Do You Love Me?' in 2011 as a tribute to Nick Cave.
The match is followed by the presentation of a number of medals named after recently deceased musicians, including Dave McComb, Paul Hester, Grant McLennan, Tim Hemensley, Norm Fagg, Andrew Entsch and Stuart Speed. The Dave Taranto Medal, named for a former PBS-RRR comic presenter, is awarded to the "most silly Megahertz". The only living medal is the Stephen Hurley Medal, named for a member of the first Rockdogs side in 1993 who broke his spine in November that year and now uses a wheelchair. The Steve Connolly Medal is awarded for the best on ground, and is presented by The Age sports writer Rohan Connolly in memory of his brother.
The match itself is accompanied by a two-to-three-hour-long concert, along with entertainment at half time, and usually sees notable acts volunteering their time to entertain the Community Cup audience. Notable performances include Paul Kelly, TISM and Magic Dirt (2004), one-off reunion concerts by Rebecca's Empire and Weddings Parties Anything (2005) and Dave Graney (2006) and Mach Pelican (2007). Paul Kelly returned again to accompany Renée Geyer on harmonica while she sang "Waltzing Matilda" at the 2006 Cup, with state sports minister and former VFL footballer Justin Madden tossing the coin to decide which team was kicking for which goal.
In 2009, live acts included Cosmic Psychos, Kram, Doll Squad, Jordie Lane, and The Scared Weird Little Guys. The 2010 line-up included The Blackeyed Susans, Money For Rope, Little Freddie and The Pops, Living End, and Nick Barker and the Reptiles. Streakers, both male and female, also made appearances.
- Community Cup Music Line-up Announced, 3RRR News. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
- Cahill, Michael (23 June 2010). "Rock City pulls up its football socks". Herald Sun. News Limited. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- Donovan, Patrick (28 June 2010). "Musicians hit the right note for community". Age. Fairfax. p. 1. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- Donovan, Patrick (28 June 2010). "Cup drama ends in one-point win". Age. Fairfax. p. 22. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- Press release for the 2010 Cup on the Reclink website
- Press release for the 2009 Cup on the Reclink website
- Official Site
- Musicians with a mission raise spirits and money
- Radio stars join a new play list
- Rockdogs v Radioheads in sacred humdinger
- Old-fashioned day at the footy to gladden the heart
- Rockers roll disc jocks in a game called, charitably, football
- Charity Match the ticket from realfooty.com.au
- 2007 cup photos
- 2006 cup photos
- 2005 cup photos
- 2004 cup photos
- 2003 cup review
- 2002 cup review