Vietnam Swans

Australian Rules Football In Vietnam!

Bali Masters – Expression of Interest

Posted by Vietnam Swans on January 30, 2015

Email received this week from club legend Kyle Hackenberg regarding the possible formation of a Swannies team at this year’s Bali Masters tournament June 5-6.

G’Day (Over 35’s) Swannies,
Kyle and his 2013 legends celebrating the spoils of victory

Kyle and his 2013 legends celebrating the spoils of victory

Over the past years; we have briefly spoken about entering a Master’s team in the Bali Masters AFL Tournament.  This year would be a great opportunity to bring together Swannies Brothers / Clubmen from Vietnam, Australia and around the world to play together again wearing the famous Vietnam Swans Jumper.
So dust off the boots and start training again for the AFL Master’s (35 and over’s) tournament that will be held in Bali at the Canggu Club on Friday 5th June and Saturday 6th June in coordination with the Australian June long weekend.
If we have a lot of sincere interest; we could possibly have two or even three teams (like Singapore in 2014).  We will need you to highlight if you are a “high probability” of getting yourself (and possibly your family as well) to Bali to be part of the 1st Vietnam Swans Master’s team of what could be many in the future at this popular annual event.
If possible; please may you also ask around for some club sponsorship for this Master’s tournament from your own networks in Australia, Vietnam and elsewhere.  FYI – The team registration for the tournament is US$1,000.  We would like a squad of 18 maximum per team to reduce the cost of registration per player.
Please may you advise your sincere interest and or firm confirmation as soon as possible so we can present this interest to the Swans National committee for official approval and support.  We will also need to highlight numbers for 2015 playing kits to the committee much sooner than later.
I know I have missed many in this initial email (I do not have a past and present mailing list).  As such; please may you each forward this email onto all the Swannies Brothers around the world.  Apologies; if I have quoted you on this email and you are not 35 yet (you just look old!).
Thanks in advance for your attention and cooperation.
Cheers, Kyle
Kyle Hackenberg
Skype: kyle Hackenberg
Vietnam Swans Member since 201

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Anzac Day Friendship Match 2015, Vung Tau

Posted by Vietnam Swans on January 27, 2015

ANZAC DAY 2015 – Letter from the President

Action from the 2014 Anzac Friendship Match courtesy of Rock Portrait Photography

Action from the 2014 Anzac Friendship Match courtesy of Rock Portrait Photography

Dear Swans family,

It is with great pleasure that I officially announce, on behalf of the Swans Leadership Team, the program for the 2015 Anzac Friendship Match, to be played at Vung Tau on Saturday 25th April.

This is the sixth consecutive year that the Swans have hosted this fixture, which continues to grow in stature each year to now be one of the most highly prized trophies in Asian footy. This year we welcome to Vung Tau, 2014 Asian Championships winners the Singapore Wombats for their first Friendship Match, in what is shaping up to be a tough, gritty and highly entertaining affair.

Of course the Anzac Friendship Match is much more than just a football game. Over the past five years it has become an event for our Veterans, Swannies supporters, ex and current players, families and friends to come together, rekindle old friendships and pay our respects to those that made the ultimate sacrifice.

In addition to hosting the Wombats, this year will be significant as it is the Anzac Centenary year and the fact that Anzac Day will fall on a Saturday, the same day as we traditionally hold the match. This is the first time that we as a club have faced the situation of playing on the same day as the dawn service, held at the Long Tan Cross, which will be a very important part of the weekend for many of our loyal supporters. It is certainly something that as a club we want to support and we did not want to make arrangements that might have the effect of dissuading people to attend the service.

After much deliberation and consultation, the Committee has therefore decided that due to the early start (4am bus to depart Vung Tau to Long Tan) we will be putting the McMillan Dinner and associated Middleton Address on hold for a year. The Dinner and Address has become an important event for the Swans and many supporters that travel a long way to attend each year, so it was not a decision we took lightly. However, the overwhelming feeling was that asking people attend a formal dinner after the early start was just a bit too much.

In consultation with Glenn Nolan from Tommy’s Bar 3 in Vung Tau, who has been instrumental in the establishment and growth of the Anzac Friendship Match, we have also decided in this exceptional year to move both the Legends and Anzac Friendship matches to an earlier start time (7.15am and 9.20am respectively), with dawn service busses to travel directly from the Long Tan service to the Lord Mayor’s Oval (dog track) where the traditional gunfire breakfast, usually held at Tommy’s Bar, will be held this year from 6.45am.

In addition to the greater convenience this will provide the large amount of people expected to attend this year’s Long Tan dawn service, we hope that the earlier start times of 7.15am and 9.20am will also have the additional benefit of being a more comfortable game for players and supporters holding the games away from the hottest part of the day. The provisional program for 25 April therefore is:

4.00am Busses Depart Tommy’s Bar
5.15 ANZAC Day Dawn Service, Long Tan Cross
5.45 Busses Depart Long Tan for Dog Track
6.45 Gunfire Breakfast at Dog Track
7.15 Legends and All-stars Game (4 x 15min Quarters)
9.00 Pre match formalities inc national anthems
9.25 6th Annual ANZAC Friendship Match: Vietnam Swans Vs Singapore Wombats (4 x 20min Quarters)
11.00 Presentation of the Friendship trophy at ground
11.40 Essendon vs Collingwood at Tommy’s Bar
12.00 Buffet lunch served at Tommy’s Bar
1.00 (Half Time) Anzac Friendship Game wrap up – speeches by respective coaches. Auction items.
2.30 (Full Time) Speeches, Auctions, Raffle draws and entertainment (TBC)
GWS vs Suns, Port vs Hawks, Freo vs Swans games to follow

What won’t change this year is our commitment to supporting Swim Vietnam and the Centre for Social Protection of Children (Vung Tau Orphanage). In place of our usual fundraising activities at the McMillian Dinner, we will be encouraging everyone to retreat back to Tommy’s Bar following the Friendship Match. Here a buffet lunch will be held with match reviews, speeches, auctions, raffles and maybe the odd game of 2-up held in between the big Essendon vs Collingwood and other AFL Anzac Day games that will be broadcast live. While it won’t have the formality of previous years, it is shaping up to be one massive day of footy and surely an occasion for all players and supporters to enjoy together.

We understand that these arrangements may not suit everyone but firmly believe as a committee that this will be the best outcome given the circumstances of this exceptional year and we intend to return to the usual format next year. We will be posting further details as arrangements are firmed up over the coming weeks but we thought it prudent to get the word out about the changes as soon as we could to assist with planning.

I hope to see you in Vung Tau in April, if not before at one of our games in the lead-up. If you have any questions with the program please do not hesitate to contact me at

Go you Swannies!

Grant Keys
National President

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Swannies Bootcamps 2015 – Vung Tau and Hanoi – 7 Feb

Posted by Vietnam Swans on January 22, 2015

In what is becoming a great Swannies tradition to hep blow out those Christmas cobwebs, the Swans will be kicking off their 2015 AFL Asia campaign with Bootcamps in Vung Tau and Hanoi and are inviting all men and women, Swans, Gaels, Viet Celts, Oi’s, Shooters, or new comers to Vietnam to join them.

Vung Tau Bootcamp

Sat 7th February

New Fitness Coach Mitch Hyde will be sure to have the southerner's quaddies burning in the traditional beach torture session

New Fitness Coach Mitch Hyde will be sure to have the southerner’s quaddies burning at the traditional beach torture session

•         7am departure from Hogs Breath Cafe (Bitexco Tower) to Long Tan
•         Long Tan Cross-Country run
•         Bus to Tommy’s Bar for lunch and Long Tan Battlefield Documentary
•         Afternoon beach session with Mitch Hyde
•         Dinner and drinks to start at Lucy’s Sports Bar 7:30pm
Sunday 8th February
•         9am @ Vung Tau Football Ground (Lam Son Stadium) for skills session depending on surface
•         Visit Vung Tau orphanage
•         BBQ Lunch at Matilda’s
•         Afternoon bus (or boat if you desire) back to Ho Chi Minh

Subsidised cost of 200,000 per person to cover bus hire

Recommended hotel is Sammy Hotel at 775,000 pp based on twin share including breakfast – But welcome to stay anywhere. Song Hong Hotel is a cheaper alternative near Tommys Bar if required.

Contact for further details and to sign up for the Vung Tau Bootcamp

Hanoi Bootcamp

Sat 7th Feb
•         2pm – meet at Tennis Courts, Mayfair Apartments, 34b Tran Phu (warm up skills session)
•         Jog to HCM Mausoleum
•         Jog to Truc Bach lake for Swan boat challenge
•         Further activities TBC
•         Return to Mayfair for showers
•         Cool down session and dinner at The Republic
Contact to sign up for the Hanoi Bootcamp

The punishing “Truc Bach Lake Swan Boat Challenge” and “Uncle Ho’s Mausoleum circuit” will be just the thing to tone up those Hanoian bia hoi bellies

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Swans Announce 2015 Football Operations Leadership Group

Posted by Vietnam Swans on January 14, 2015

The ever-improving Vietnam Swans had a successful 2014 AFL Asia season, playing more games than any other team in Asia and finishing with a respectable 10 win, 5 loss, 1 draw record, including semi final berths at the 2014 Asian Champs and Manila Cups.

To take them forward to even greater heights in 2015, the Swans Football Operations Group have announced their 2015 leadership team, led by the newly appointed Director of Football Operations Tim Clements as announced at December’s AGM.

“The aim of this new structure is to diversify the club, meet club objectives, increase playing ability of the playing group, increase discipline of the club and provide support to the National Coach” Clements said.

The Swans are once again fortunate to have as National Coach former South Bunbury dual premiership player Andy Glendinning, who this year will have by his side a wealth of talent and experience in Saigon, Hanoi and Central Vietnam.

Legendary Swannies backman Bill Crang’s positive year on the park and good standing amongst the playing group across the nation left Clements and Glendinning no option but to reinstate him as National Captain. In support as Vice Captain will be Tim Pickert, who’s presence and enthusiasm in and around the sheds in 2014 was a major lift for the Swans. Pickett will also be assisting Glendinning with targeted skills sessions throughout the year.

Deputy Vice Captains have also been appointed in Saigon and Hanoi, with 2014 Swannies Best and Fairest Nathan Milner elevated to the leadership group, while high flying Hanoian David Skowronski will once again be leading the way up north in his last year with the Swans.

Fitness has been identified as a key area the playing group will need to improve in 2015, with Physical Education guru Mitch Hyde tasked with the job of getting the team in shape.

The Swans sister club, the Saigon Lady Gaels also had a huge 2014, winning silverware at the Asian Gaelic Games and South Asian Gaelic Games. Siobhan Synnott will once again perform the role of Captain/Coach to help the girls consolidate their outstanding inaugural year on the park, with the girls very much a part of the Swannies system.

Developing Auskick programs and establishing trainings in Central Vietnam have also been identified as two key objectives for the Swans in 2015, with the football department to provide support to Kevin Hornblower in his role of Auskick manager and Swans Hall-of-Famer Michael Johnston and Jason Carter in Central Vietnam.

The announcement of a football leadership group is indication of the Swannies intent to improve their standing in AFL Asia in 2015 and Clements believes the time is ripe for the team to take the next step.

“While our performances in 2014 were good, we know we can do better” Clements said.

“To lose the IndoChina Cup to Thailand was disappointing, we will certainly be looking to reclaim that back in Laos this year. We have also never made an Asian Champs or Manila Cup Grand Final, so we will be keen to take a step forward at those tournaments and really challenge ourselves against the best teams in Asia.”

The Swans annual Anzac Friendship Match continues to grow in stature with this year’s clash against 2014 Asian Champs premiers the Singapore Wombats on 25 April in Vung Tao sure to be a classic.

“Its going to be a massive test for us” Clements said. “The Wombats play a fast, physical brand of football so we are going to have to put in the work in the lead up if we want to compete effectively.”

The Swans will look to kick off their season in the coming weeks with announcements on the Anzac Day program, trainings and a comprehensive program of games expected shortly.

Timmy taste of victory

Tim Clements will be hoping to reacquaint himself with the taste of victory in 2015

Vietnam Swans 2015 Football Department

Head of Football Operations: Tim Clements

Head Coach: Andy Glendinning

National Captai: Bill Crang

Vice-Captain: Tim Pickert

Deputy Vice Captain Saigon: Nathan Milner

Deputy Vice Captain Hanoi: David Skowronski (SOS)

Fitness Coach: Mitch Hyde

Central Vietnam: MJ and Jason Carter

Saigon Ladies Gaels Coach/Captian: Siobhan Synnott

AusKick: The Horn

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Hoi An Grand Final Day wrap

Posted by Vietnam Swans on December 22, 2014

More than 200 people crammed into 3 Dragons Restaurant and Bar in Hoi An on September 27th for the Vietnam Swans first Grand Final Party in Central Viet Nam.

“We sold more beer than on any other trading day since we opened!” said Simon Burns, part owner of 3 Dragons.

But it wasn’t just about the beer. It was about the footy and the families.

Emma Kidson, accompanied by MJ on guitar, got things rolling with an audience participator in “The Holy Grail”.

“Turn up the telly, it’s Tom Jones!” led to the last Grail chorus being sung at amphetamine speed before the real action started.

2014 hoi an gf

Swannie MJ & 3 Dragons Simon present Swim VN Manager, Trung, with 5 million vnd

Working the crowd like a pro, Swans resident Airport Lounge Consultant, Jason MacDonald, sold out all the raffle tickets for First Goal, Norm Smith Medallist and Winning Margin. An awesome effort, Jason, which helped raise 3 million dong for Swim Vietnam.

There were no meat pies or hair dryers on offer at half time, but the winner of the inaugural Under-Drinking-Age Handball Competition took home a great Sunrise Kayak Tour from Hoi An Kayak Centre.
Two out of the twenty kids snagged 4 bull’s-eyes from their 10 handballs. In a thrilling handball-off, Cooper Mason nailed 3 of his last 4 handballs for a repeat total of 4 bull’s-eyes to take out the title (see separate video below and report for more info on Cooper with thanks to his mum Kelle for the photos and video).

Hoi An Kayak Centre’s Jason Napiorkowski achieved the unbelievable by nailing the winning margin of Hawks by 63 points. “I hate the Swans so much since they moved from South Melbourne and then defeated my beloved Roos last week”, Jason said as he received his prize from Vietnam Vespa Adventures of a Foodie Night Tour.

Vietnam Vespas also provided the winner of the Norm Smith Medal raffle with a Countryside & Island Tour.

Following a few false starts due to people not understanding what tickets they were looking at, it took 3 quarters to find the quiet Hawks supporter tucked away in the corner who owned up to having the Josh Kennedy First Goal ticket which earned him a Hoi An Scooter Tour of the Rice Fields & Vegetable Village.

Where would footy be without men trying to fit into the jumpers they wore as kids? Simon raffled off a couple of Swans jumpers to give them something more comfortable to wear back in Oz. This raised a further 2 million dong for Swim Vietnam.

“This 5 million is enough to fund one complete class next summer”, Swim Vietnam’s Manager, Doan Minh Trung said as he accepted the funds raised on the day. Trung and 3 other coaches handed out Swim VN brochures at the start of the Grand Final Party and answered questions.

“Vietnam Swans’ ongoing support is one of the reasons why Swim Vietnam continues to grow”, said Swim Vietnam’s Director, Jo Stewart, as she thanked everyone for their contributions.

All in all, the first Hoi An GF Party was a great advertisement for Aussie Rules, with a few AusKick balls from the handball competition last seen being punted down Phan Boi Chau in the afternoon sun by some local kids, the next wave of Swannies!


Cooper is 10 years old and lives in Perth, Western Australia.

He plays footy for Marist Football club and this season played Centre Half Forward. He is also a keen swimmer, water polo player and basketballer. Basically any sport, and Coop will have a go!

Coop stated that Vietnam was our “best family holiday yet!” and he loved Hoi An.

His prize for winning the handball competition was a kayak tour and our family of 4 had a great morning on the water. Thank you to 3 Dragons, Vietnam Swans and Hoi An Kayak Centre!

Coop has an older brother, Flynn (12) who is also a keen swimmer and polo player. Flynn recently started training to swim the English Channel in 2016.

The boys both think the money raised on Grand Final Day at 3 Dragons in Hoi An is going to a fantastic cause, Swim Vietnam, especially because they were so lucky to have learnt how to swim when they were both very young.

Check out young Cooper’s outstanding form in this youtube clip:

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Swans and Gaels Celebrate 2014

Posted by Vietnam Swans on December 19, 2014

The Vietnam Swans have closed out a massive year with Presentation Dinners in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, announcing a new leadership group to take the club forward in 2015.

On Saturday 6 December a fantastic turnout of around 60 players, supporters and families of the Vietnam Swans and Ladies Saigon Gaels gathered at Al Fresco’s restaurant at Thao Dien, HCMC, enjoying the fantastic spit roast and first class hospitality provided by the club’s long-term supporter.

The 2014 Ladies Saigon Gaels

Significantly, this was the first ever Presentation Dinner held jointly with the Gaels, ending a successful first years partnership between the two clubs and further reinforcing the Swannies claim to the most inclusive footy club in Asia. The Gaels were simply outstanding in their first year on the park, bringing home silverware at the Asian Gaelic Games in Malaysia and the South Asian Gaelic Games in Hanoi. Most Valuable Gael (with several impressive performances with the Swans also to her name) was Penny Wilmott, winning the Gaels vote count just ahead of Runner-up Siobhan Synnott. Kelli Trinidad was awarded the Gaels Clubman of the Year and Juliet Schneeman the Most Improved.

Tim Clements from Swannies Signature Sponsor Dragon Industries Asia and Coach Glendinning presenting Nath Milner with his BnF

For the Swans, hard working club stalwart and Saigon cheesecake baron Nathan Milner (check out his amazing work at finished the night with the most bling, winning the the Luke Creamer Best and Fairest vote count and then confirming his highly respected standing amongst the playing group by backing it up with the Rick Trewavas medal (as voted by the players).

James Bairstow also impressed throughout the year with his attack on the ball, particularly in the big ANZAC Day and Asian Champs games and was a worthy recipient of the Runners Up BnF.

Most Improved Swannie Tuan Nhan with Coach Glendinning and Captain Crang

No one has been working harder on their game in 2014 than every Swan’s favorite Vietnamese American Tuan Nhan, with Coach Glendinning and Captain Billy Crang having no trouble in rewarding his efforts on and off the track by naming him their Most Improved Player. Tuan will no doubt be an important player going forward for the Swans and the new IndoChina Bulldogs team, with an impressive showing in their first ever game at the IndoChina Cup.

The last award of the night was an emotional one; the new Nick Shiells award being presented by outgoing President Josh Lee. Following Nicko’s death earlier in the year, it was agreed amongst Swans committee and Nicko’s family that a new medal be struck in his name. The criteria being:

“To be awarded to the clubman who, throughout the year, was seen to further the entire club more than any other while promoting its values and ethos. This could have been done either on or off the field or by a combination of both with no weighting provided to either area. The award will be selected by the national president and received only once a year.”

Buddy Duong presenting Andy Marr with the inagural Nick Shiells Award

Selected by Josh and presented by Nick’s partner Buddy, a very chuffed Andy Marr was awarded the inaugural Nick Shiells Award in recognition of the efforts he has put in for the Swans on and off the park throughout the year. Andy was a driving force behind the ANZAC Day and Grand Final Parties, the establishment of the IndoChina Bulldogs team and rarely missed a training session let alone a tour all year. His positive can-do attitude and love for the Swans making him a very worthy recipient, and his on-tour dancing is second to none.

Hanoi Presentation Dinner

The following Tuesday in Hanoi, a modest but talented group of Hanoian Swans, with a smattering of Viet Celts, also got together at The Republic to relive a few moments from the year. Small forward goal sneak and high mark specialist David Skowronski was named the Best and Fairest Hanoian, finishing the highest in the National Vote Count.

The other Hanoi award was the Hanoi President Dan Hopkin’s Clubman of the Year, with Joe Vile receiving the honors. Joe was another consistent contributor up forward throughout the year for the Swans, with his infectious enthusiasm at Xuan La training sessions and ability to bring a few heads along to make up numbers being a great asset to the boys up north.

Hanoi Swans Presentation night

The night finished with a symbolic ‘hand over’ presentation of the original Hanoi vs Saigon Anzac Friendship trophy, currently held by Hanoi, by Dan to incoming National President Grant Keys. While stepping down from the President’s chair, ‘Crazy’ Dan will be “focusing on his footy” in 2015, with all of Vietnam looking forward to seeing the hard hitting backman back on the field. Dan has been the driving force of Hanoi footy over recent years, with the huge annual Grand Final party at the Hanoi Intercontinental a great legacy of his. We thank him greatly for his contributions as Hanoi President.


Preceding the National Awards Dinner in Ho Chi Minh City was the Swans Annual General Meeting, where positions on the new Swans Leadership Group were confirmed. Thank you and congratulations to the following people who will be taking up the following roles:

National President – Grant Keys

Football Operations – Tim Clements

Finance and Governance – Rowan Luke

Sponsorships and Tours – Andy Marr

Events and Marketing (& Gaels representative) – Mairead (Maz) Scanlon

It is intended that each of the positions will be supported by more flexible “Key Position Players” or committees appointed throughout the year or as required. An overview of the agreed new structure for the club can be found here. The new leadership group very much welcomes approaches from anyone that would like to get involved in any particular area club activities.

Outgoing National President Josh Lee handing over to Grant Keys. Thank you Josh and good luck with your new adventures!

2014 had been a great year for the Swans and the Gaels, with the Swans really cementing themselves as a powerhouse in Asian footy, while the Gaels have developed in to a serious and accomplished club in only 12 months. We are very excited about what is to come in 2015, and are looking forward to seeing you all back on the field!

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Boxing Day Test and Golf Day

Posted by Vietnam Swans on December 19, 2014

In Melbourne this Christmas?

Inviting all all current and former Swannies players and supporters to join us for the 8th annual Test Cricket Day and 10th annual Ryan Jeffery Golf Classic!


Ryan Evans is organising tickets for the 3rd day of the Boxing Day test this year. Thanks to Revo, for the first time, Swannies will be given the opportunity to watch the test through the glass from the bar in the AFL Members bar (or selected seating if preferred) where we can enjoy a quiet tipple while cheering on the Aussies against the Indians. Revo needs to book tickets now to take advantage of a special price of $36 for the first 12 people, $50 after that, max of 24. If you would like to go please contact


Swannies Golf Day – ‘Ryan Jeffery Jacket’ up for grabs
Date: Monday 29 December
Time: Tee-time TBC (most likely 10am)
Venue: Ivanhoe Golf Club
Who: Anyone connected to Swannies
Numbers: 4 flights will be booked (16 players)
Confirmed: Flyer, Ryan Jeffery, Chris Canty, Barfly (4 players)
Format: Best Ball (Very social format)
Contact: David ‘Flyer’ Kainey

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The Hanoi International Rules Canister Report

Posted by Vietnam Swans on November 21, 2014

Sunday 16th November, 2014 – Hoa Phat FC Training Fields, My DInh, Hanoi.

On a balmy Sunday afternoon in My Dinh, Hanoi, an historic event took place as representatives of the Vietnam Swans, Viet Celts and Hanoi Dragons met for the inaugural “Hanoi International Rules Canister’. The game saw players from three different codes – Australian Rules, Gaelic Football and Rugby – playing a fourth one – International Rules. For the purposes of this game the planet was divided in two with the Viet Celts taking control of the Northern Hemisphere and the Vietnam Swans taking control of the Southern Hemisphere. The solid contingent of Hanoi Dragons rugby players greatly added to the occasion. Their Southern Hemisphere players lined out with the Vietnam Swans and their Northern Hemisphere counterparts did likewise with the Viet Celts. It was a game that ebbed and flowed from end to end with some lightning attacks from the Viet Celts (Northern Hemisphere) players being matched by hefty tackles and big marks by the players from the Vietnam Swans (Southern Hemisphere).

Three codes, one canister

VC Ladies Exhibition Game

The day began with a Gaelic demonstration match involving the Viet Celts ladies, with some players making their competitive debuts and others showing how much they have improved their mastery of the finer arts of soloing, tackling and shooting. Siobhan Kiernan proved one of the stand-out players, setting the game ablaze in the first half with a hat-trick of well taken goals, ably assisted by the runs and support of Bui Thi Yen. Down the other end, the blue defenders held their own with Lorena Darcy beguiling spectators into thinking that she was an old hand at this game which she was only playing for the first time. In midfield, Niamh Marshall, Rose McConnell and Sarah Downey played out some fierce contests and set in motion a variety of different attacks and sequences of play.

Alison Keys working the solo to perfection

The second half of the game saw the introduction of some of the young Swannies, taking to the game like the feathered kindred of their club’s moniker. The Sheaghdha Lucardie and Charlie Fennell added attacking verve and pace to the Blue line up, while Will Francis and Max Keys came in to provide some support for Marion Klaver and Alison Keys in the Red team. Despite signs of a Red resurgence after a well taken goal by Will, the Blue’s eventually proved the stronger outfit, with Sheaghdha’s magnificent lob over the unfortunately mal-positioned red goalkeeper rounding off an excellent display of Gaelic football by both sides.

The Canister

Viet Celts         (Northern Hemisphere)       6.6.6   (60pts)

Vietnam Swans (Southern Hemisphere)     2.5.12 (39pts)

As kick-off time in the main event crept up on the players, team captains Daniel Hopkins and Neil Hiney made a few last minute tweaks to their starting line-ups to accommodate the rugby players, who as stated had been split along hemispheric lines in keeping with the allegiances of the day. Confusion was rife with regards how to run with the ball, pass it, the scoring system, what constituted a legal tackle and how ‘marks’ worked but everybody was up for making it work. Before the throw-in the two teams came together and were given a quick debriefing on how to tackle from the local expert in the game – Grant Keys. The tackles he enacted on his team-mate Nick Darcy may have been meant as explanatory but a few nervous faces soon appeared on the pale complexions of some Northern players as it became clear that there’d be some heavy tackling over the course of the afternoon.

And then it was time for the throw-in/ball up, Keys and Mark Horkan selected as the behemoths to contest the initial encounter in this historic event. The Northern Hemisphere started well with their speed and directness. Wild Bill Langslet calmed Northern nerves with a well taken 3-pointer but it was the Southerners who drew first goal blood with a Rob Lee toe-poke, the first 6-pointer for the day. However, their lead was short-lived with Neil Hiney’s first major for the afternoon, quickly followed with another one from Moroccan Amin Shiranai, with his unmistakable coiffure delighting all those present. The Southern players troubles with the round ball soon become evident, with their hard runs, huge leaps and constant determination being let down by some wayward goal kicking, the Aussie Rules behind post at least ensuring the scoreboard was ticking over. The first quarter came to an end with the score at 17 -12 to the Gaelic players and their colleagues for the day.

Volunteer Joe Vile showing his opponent Luke the Swannie Jig

In the second quarter the Southern Hemisphere players started to dominate proceedings, with the height along the spine of their team serving as the basis for their attacks from the back and ‘up the guts’. Vietnam Swans legend Mick Francis was solid as a rock in goals, with his accurate long punts out from them giving his tall timber ever chance to attack. The odd shaped ball continued to plague the antipodean forwards, as they collected only one over and five points from six clear scoring chances, Swans Keys and ‘Crazy’ Dan Hopkins the main perpetrators. This was partly due to the influence of John Shoulders in the Celts backline as he marshalled his defence and his own inner demons to ensure that his defensive hounds of hell were always clipping at the heels of the Swans forward line. On the basis of play, the Swans won this quarter well and the VC forwards had very few chances being well shut down by the Swans defence and their service cut off by Joe Vile and his brethren in the Swans midfield. Amazingly however the scoring for this quarter was only 8pts to 7pts in favour of the Swans to give the Celts an overall lead of 24-20 at half time.

One of the few remaining original Swans and long-term supporter, Mick Francis back in action in the goals for the Swans

In the third quarter, the captain of the Northern Hemisphere, Neil Hiney started to run the show from midfield, making intelligent angled runs all over the pitch, covering acres with his barrelling strides and roaring constant instructions to his players throughout. Luke Kenny and Mark Horkan got similarly involved, both registering good scores to keep the scoreboard ticking over in favour of the independently republic inclined. Young Swan/Dragon multisport talent Scotty Mills made his mark a few times with great salmon-like leaps from the ground to earn valuable scoring opportunities, although he did not always profit as well as he might have. In defence, and later in midfield, Alex Maskiell was a huge presence throughout, although the searing pace of Amin Shiranai caused problems for the Australian defenders whenever he found himself involved in the action. Thanks to a clever ball by Wild Bill Langslet and an unselfish pass from Justin ‘Rude Boi’ Stevenson, Celt legend Jim Kiernan with grit and determination, fearlessly barged his way through heavy traffic to see the ball in the back of the net in the last minutes of the quarter. It was a great team goal. Without over-elaborating the passing, the fact that the Celts forwards were always prepared to pass the ball on quickly to a teammate in a better position meant that by the end of the third quarter the Northern Hemisphere team had amassed a healthy lead of 41 – 25. Wild Bill Langslet was having his best game in a VC shirt.

Young Swan Scotty Mills reaching for the sky

The Swans were still in with a shout of winning the game in the final quarter but needed a few 6-pointers early on. They had to chase the game which left them exposed at the back and this was ably exploited by the intelligent running of Mike McMillen. As the game entered the final stages of what had been an enthralling contest for those gathered hordes who had congregated for this unique event, the pace showed no sign of abating, with fitness levels on both sides proving testament to their constant commitment to their multiple sports. Despite eventually registering more scoring opportunities, the egg-chasers from the South couldn’t get the ball looping high and proud through the posts, with the superior accuracy of the assembled Northern Hemisphere representatives proving to be the difference. Neil Hiney was top scorer for the latter, with a goal, three overs and a smattering of points, while Rob Lee was the most accurate of a good spread of Australian and Kiwi scorers, with a goal, an over and a couple of points. The evergreen Swan Dan Lucardie also impressive up forward with two overs scored in open play.

It was a day that will be fondly remembered by those who participated, and especially by those who dreamed it up over multiple bia hois and via countless irrelevant and irreverent emails. Special mention to Jim Kiernan for his vision and procurement of the traditional Bia Hoi canister, a prize that will surely be much sought after by footballers of all persuasions across Hanoi for many years to come. Thanks also to Dave Cunningham for stepping in at short notice to do a fine job at officiating and Grant Keys for orgainising all the logistics from the Tay Ho end of the International Rules Curtain.

Plaudits must go to all the players who made the time and effort to turn up and make what was essentially a made-up sport into a successful hybrid encounter for the representatives of the different codes and clubs. While goalkeeper, Paddy ’The Wall’ Armagh might rate himself as the main reason for his team’s success, there are those who’ll claim a deal was made with the devil himself by one of the Irish divils, as what else could explain a score-line of 6-6-6?!

Thank you to our literary colleagues at the Viet Celts for allowing us to publish this thoroughly entertaining account of the day’s play. Also seen on

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The Hanoi International Rules Canister

Posted by Vietnam Swans on November 10, 2014

Canister poster

This Sunday 16th November, join Hanoi’s Irish and Australian communities and their mates for this historic first ever game of International Rules football in Hanoi between the Swannies and the Viet Celts Gaelic Football Club.

The Viet Celts Ladies will also join in the festivities with an inter-club Gaelic game.

All will then gather at The Republic at 4.45pm on Saturday 22nd November to watch the big Australia vs Ireland international live from Perth, with Republic f&b vouchers to be won.

The game will be played at the Hoa Phat FC Youth Training Grounds in My Dinh. There will be a bus heading to and from My Dinh via Tay Ho. Details will be posted on the Facebook Event Invitation closer to the date.

All welcome!

1pm – Bus departs Tay Ho for My Dinh
2pm – Ladies VC Blue vs Red
2.50 – Kids kick (all kids bring a ball!)
3.10 – Viet Celts v Vietnam Swans Canister

The Canister and the Field

The Hanoi IR Canister”, a beverage containment device once commonly found in Hanoi’s Bia Hoi, sits forlorn on a balcony in My Dinh overlooking the fields where it will be awarded this coming Sunday.

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Posted by Vietnam Swans on November 7, 2014

Swanies Guys & Girls & GUS,
Mr Pawl - fired up for the 9's!
Get back into it this week with a light run and touching the footies.
We will be making the 3 sides for the HOT 9’s MIXED COMP commencing on the 15th November. NOT TO BE MISSED!!
                  Tuan  ( Dragon Industries Team)
                  Dan    (Commonwealth Bank Team)
                  Siobhan ( Cow Bar Team)
so start thinking who’s team you want to be in.
See ya all there on Saturday!

Mr Pawl – fired up for the 9’s!


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End of Season Update & Welcoming Grant Keys as President

Posted by Vietnam Swans on November 1, 2014

G’day Swannies Supporters,

I hope this email finds you all well. The year is abruptly coming to an end and it’s been another great season for the Swans – here is a not so quick update of things happening around the club and AFL Asia.
  • Swans make final 4 in Asian Championships (3rd time in history)
  • ANZAC Day 2015 – Vietnam Swans Vs Singapore Wombats
  • Formation of the IndoChina Bulldogs Local Development Side (100% nationals from Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar & Cambodia)
  • 500 people attend Swans Grand Final Parties across Vietnam
  • Swans partner clubs the Saigon Lady Gales + Hanoi’s Viet Celts taste success at the Asian Gaelic Games
  • Swans defeated by the Australian Touring Side – Naracoorte
  • Farewell from outgoing president Josh Lee & welcome to Grant Keys

2014 Asian Championship Wrap Up – Clark, Philippines
In arguably one of the most hotly contested Asian Championships ever seen the Vietnam Swans were able to make it through to the semi-finals for only the 3rd time in the clubs 11-year history.

Travelling with a squad of 26 including a number of first time players the boys had been working hard with some intense training led by resident gym junkie Mitch Hyde @ Saigon’s Australian International School (great sponsor of the Swans) with the Hanoi boys also putting in many extra sessions. They were also boosted by the inclusion of recently departed players Josh Leary & Josh ‘Hollwood’ Daly who travelled all the way from Australia, along with Luke Philpot who conveniently diverted his globetrotting to again pull on the boots.

The first game was against hosts and last year’s finalist the Philippine Eagles. Hoping to make an impact early the team were unfortunately found wanting after not being able to match the Eagles attack on the ball. Regrouping and bouncing back against a combined Laos/Myanmar/Bali side, win #1 was on the board by a comfortable 22-point margin. The 3rd game of the day was up against the Jakarta Bintangs – who had been un-defeated in 2014.

Needing a win to have a chance of a finals berth the Swans had their backs against the wall, but from the opening bounce it was clear that they were not going to lie down easy. In a fantastic display of team football the team recorded win #2 by 27-points. The final pool game Vs the China Reds proved to be the biggest win of the day for the Swans by 43 points.

With injuries to Co-Captain David ‘SOS’ Skowronski and playing coach Andy ‘Flapper’ Glendinning the Swans knew it wasn’t going to be easy against the Singapore Wombats in the Semi-Final, none the less there was a feeling around the team that their best footy would be good enough to make their Asian Champs Final debut. Unfortunately, the fairytale wasn’t to be with Singapore comfortable winners. Congrats to the Wombats who went on to win the final against defending champions the Hong Kong Dragons.

A big thank-you to all the supporters who travelled to the interesting Angeles City to support us. A football club doesn’t stop with the guys on the ground & we love having you in the Swans family. Also top work to the Kevin’s. Kevin Wilkinson who volunteered to play for the undermanned China Reds (it’s what Asian Footy is about!) and to club legend Mr Kevin Hornblower who announced his retirement. Congrats on a wonderful career Kev, you’ll be missed.

Also a big well done to Josh Leary, Nathan Milner & Grant Keys for making the All Asian Side. For full results check out –

ANZAC Day 25th April, 2015 – Vietnam Swans Vs Singapore Wombats
I’m proud to announce that the 2015 ANZAC Friendship match in Vung Tau will be played against the Singapore Wombats. As the 100th anniversary of the landings in Gallipoli the game will take on an extra special meaning.

As the highlight of the football year in Vietnam and representing our major fundraising effort for our partner charities – The Vung Tau Orphanage & Swim Vietnam. This is one event not to be missed so start making your travel arrangements now.

Given ANZAC Day will also fall on the Saturday there are a few logistical hurdles and changes to the day’s format. We are currently working through these with more details to be announced soon.

IndoChina Bulldogs – HELP WANTED
As reported earlier in the year the AFL Asia clubs of Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos & Myanmar are joining forces to foster local development of this great game of ours.

The aim it to build a team made up 100% of national players from these countries to compete in the 2017 AFL International Cup, which this year was won by PNG (5 Asian teams were represented – China, Indonesia, India, Pakistan & Japan). After a meeting of the club representatives it was decided that the team will be known as the IndoChina Bulldogs. The reason for selecting this name was based on the colours shared by all Indochina flags (Red, White & Blue) along with the fact the Western Bulldogs are seen to have close ties (and many supporters) from within the Indochina-Australian based community.

To make this dream happen we desperately need support from right across the region and within Australia. We are currently looking for a jumper sponsor & if anyone has close ties with the Western Bulldogs AFL side we would love to hear from you.

We are also currently running a competition to select the jumper and logo design. Be sure to get involved at –

500 people attend Swans Grand Final Parties across Vietnam
For the first time the Vietnam Swans held 3 Mega grand final parties – Hanoi, Saigon & Hoi An. With a total number of people attending these in excess of 500 it’s a great example of the popularity of the game outside Australia. 

A huge thank-you to the sponsors of these events who provided the prizes for the raffles, auctions and door prizes. The only reason we can hold these events are because of your generous support.

While many in the Swans community were sad to see the result…..I wasn’t (GO YOU HAWKS).

Saigon Lady Gales + Hanoi Celts (Mens) take out GAA Asian Champ’s Plate
In their first year as a team our sisters at the Saigon Lady Gales were able to bring home some silverware from their Asian Champions tournament in Kula Lumpur. With their outfits sporting the Vietnam Swans Logo and the logos of a number of our sponsors – how could they go wrong! Their commitment and success has given the Saigon boy’s that little bit more motivation for next year.

The Hanoi based Viet Celts men’s team also savoured some long awaited success, bringing home their first piece of silverware in their 7 year history. With Swan John Shoulders leading the way.  Special mention to the Viet Celts ladies and a combined Gaels-Celts ladies team who also put up a great effort. Well done to you all and we look forward to continuing our strong partnership.

Swans defeated by the Australian Touring Side – Naracoorte Demons
Travelling to Vietnam on an end of season trip the Naracoorte Demons lined up against a Swans side still feeling the effects of the prior-weekends Asian Champs. The Sunday match ensured that sore heads were aplenty but that didn’t stop anyone from giving it their best. The Swans were led by some of their newest & international members – encouraging signs for 2015.

After the game the team were travelling to Vung Tau to spend some time at the Vung Tau orphanage and put to use the equipment purchased by the Swans with the proceeds from this years ANZAC Friendship match.

Thanks to Glenn Nolan (Tommys Bar – Vung Tau) for arranging the game and if anyone is connected with a team in Australia that would like to visit for a pre/post season tour please get in touch.

Farewell from outgoing president Josh Lee & welcome Grant Keys as new National President

Earlier this year I received an email from one of the Swans founders, Scott Stacey, who wrote to congratulate me on taking over from the irreplaceable Phil ‘Fabbo’ Johns. He also mentioned just how much the Swans meant to not only himself but to the many others who had been involved with the club over the years – at that point all I could think of was S-!T…..don’t screw this up!

However, I quickly learnt that being apart of the Mighty Vietnam Swans means being apart of a culture of unbelievable support (both in Vietnam and via it’s supporters in Australia and abroad). It is with this support that I managed to survive the year. I’ve been proud to see the club continue to grow and thank all of the many people who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with – it truly has been an honour and I hope I keep in touch from my new home in Singapore. (

While there are too many people to name individually a special mention to club treasure Mr Rowan Luke for his guidance. The senior playing group led by Andy, Billy & SOS plus the Swans sponsors and many other people who make our existence possible.


With that I would like to Welcome Mr Grant Keys to the role of National President. Big Grant (Just to make it clear who he is in the photo) and his family are in their first of a three year posting to Vietnam, his wife Alison working with DFAT at the Australian Embassy in Hanoi.

Grant comes to the Swans with some great experience developing footy in Beijing. During this time Grant helped establish the first all-Chinese team to compete in the 2007 AFL International Cup.

While he grew up in suburban Melbourne as a mad Bombers fan playing junior footy with Parkmore, Grant chose a basketball path, rising to play two seasons with the West Sydney Razorbacks NBL team and over 300 games in the South East Australian Basketball League, winning championships with the Ballarat Miners and Canberra Gunners.

Outside of footy Grant keeps himself busy in Hanoi learning Vietnamese, looking after his 3 kids, Max 7, Harry 4 and baby Emily and researching Bia Hoi culture. Prior to moving to Hanoi, Grant left the Australian public service after 13 years developing policy and managing programs for the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and hasn’t looked back in his new role of diplomatic spouse!

Best wishes to Grant.

Note: the remainder of the 2015 committee will be appointed in the coming weeks.  


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Princess Project Update from Swannies Patrons – Ron & Ailsa Vernon

Posted by Vietnam Swans on October 7, 2014

Swans Patrons Ron & Ailsa give an update after their recent trip to Vietnam. Great to see Swans sponsors Lagler Australia (Mr Cameron Luke) also supporting this very worthwhile cause.

How good is to to be a Swannie helping the community!  

Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 9.10.34 amRecently we have returned from an unscheduled visit to Vung Tau. It was as productive and rewarding as it was unplanned. The weather was really pleasant most of the time with a few big storms to remind us of the onset of the wet season.

All children were still in their school holiday period so we did manage to see all of the children at the P Centre and happy to say all is going really well. We met a number of people who we were able to introduce to the Centre and who were happy to make a donation of either money or resources. At first people find it all a bit confronting but are usually won over very quickly by the children who just love to have visitors especially if they are children too.

We had two special requests to carry out this time and it was such a privilege and joy to be able to carry out the wishes of the two gentlemen concerned. Shoes and school books for all children at Long Hai School for the new school year were received by the children very enthusiastically. One little seven year old boy in the Special Needs class was so happy and when asked about it, replied “I am so happy. I have new shoes. Tomorrow I will get married!” My Huong’s cousin and personal assistant, My did a fantastic job in getting all the sizes and buying the shoes as well as the school books and supplies. Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 9.11.18 am

The other gift was of three wheelchairs which, first of all, we had to find needy recipients and to then source the wheelchairs. Through information from Sr Trish Franklin of Loretto in Saigon, we were able to do both. We now have a contact in Vung Tau and a shop to purchase from. The recipients were all polio victims, two whom sell lucky tickets on the street and one who repairs electrical appliances at home. They were all so very grateful that somebody cares for them.

Kim Thu, the lady for whom we contributed to her mobility scooter, is so touched by the kindness she has received she is taking instruction to become a Catholic. She will be baptised in the Church at Vung Tau just before Christmas. She now has faith that she is being cared for.

It was school vacation when we visited Long Hai to deliver shoes but there were children doing activities, the Special Needs children don’t do holidays and the trade classes continue through holidays. In the sewing room there were bundles and bundles of school uniforms which were being made, two for each child from fabric donated by Lagler Australia.

The overhead cover is completed and sporting equipment donated by Vietnam Swans is now being used at Long Hai and teachers are so happy to have somewhere outside to be able to escape the heat of classrooms. A qualified Australian man has been at the school setting up the sports program as well as running swimming lessons in Vung Tau for P Centre children.

Ngo Quyen Centre is nearing completion and it would seem there will be accommodation for a lot more children than what we have at present. Only time will tell there. The children should be in this Centre by the time the students from BCHS visit next April. It is a very impressive looking campus with lots of area for children to play outside safely.

We cannot express how humble we feel to be trusted and able to do what we are doing on behalf of all who support the project financially, materially and with their prayers.

Again, thank you for your interest and support of this project.

Ron and Ailsa

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