How does the leader of the Greens follow up launching his first election campaign? With a quick run around Elsternwick Park in the Reclink Community Cup, of course. The annual charity football match between Melbourne’s musicians (the Rockdogs) and community broadcasters (the Megahertz) kicked off a few hours after the Greens campaign launch, and Senator Richard Di Natale made it down to the match to show off his skills in front of an appreciative crowd.

Di Natale took to the field for the Megahertz in the final quarter, wearing number 44 and quickly making his mark. The former VFA player (with a dodgy knee) looked comfortable in the red and white, with one of his teammates describing his physique as “ripped”. Playing in the right forward pocket, Di Natale was faster than his younger Rockdog opponent (too many ciggies at halftime, probably), managed to score one behind and deftly avoid the huge patch of mud that caused havoc for players of both sides. Despite a strong win last year, Di Natale’s Megas were overrun by the Rockdogs, losing 10.3.63-4.6.30. Not that you would know it if you read The Age‘s report on the day, which originally named the Megahertz as the winners in its report of The Project host Waleed Aly’s performance of Prince’s Purple Rain with Regurgitator and Dan Sultan, which took place after the match.

Overall it was a successful day for Reclink, which helps disadvantaged young people through sports and music programs. Di Natale wasn’t the only pollie on site, with Labor’s Michael Danby and Creative Industries Minister Martin Foley also in attendance (although they had pledged their allegiances to the Rockdogs). Last week Anthony Albanese helped raise $10,000 for Reclink with a DJ set at the Corner Hotel. There were no Liberal MPs in sight, due mostly to the Liberal Party’s launch taking place in Sydney, but Ms Tips wonders how welcome they’d be after cuts to both Reclink and the community broadcasting sector in the May budget. Port Phillip Council didn’t keep in the spirit of the day, using it as a chance to target motorists for parking fines.

Could Di Natale be back next year? Perhaps he should sign up for some graveyard shifts at one of Melbourne’s many community radio stations to be eligible to play.

Peter Fray

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