Vietnam Swans

Australian Rules Football In Vietnam!

Mixed Modified Rules Game Wrap Up

Posted by Vietnam Swans on September 10, 2014

Mr Pawl going his hardest.

Mr Pawl going his hardest against Laura. With some tough work off the ball by Kenji and Kev W

Following the success of some of the mixed AFL games from the 2013-2014 season, we decided that the Vietnam Swans vs Philippines game would be the perfect arena to hold another game and encourage a host of new arrivals to get involved. The call went out to the Saigon Gaels girls and guys, as well as friends, girlfriends, colleagues and neighbours. The ever increasing interest in the mixed AFL format again surprised us all, with 40 people turning up to play on the day, with a lot of new (and slightly apprehensive) faces.

Power couple Kelli and Penny were given captaining rights, and demonstrated that they are some of the best AFL players out of the ACT, while Dan and Kyle were instructed to learn their 20-man squad’s names and run the bench. We warmed up, had a practice with the oval ball (which, for many, looked about as familiar as snow in Saigon), sledged our opponents, and took the field. The first quarter certainly wasn’t the prettiest display of AFL on record, with many shell-shocked faces to be seen. The Reds went in to the quarter break with a slight lead, which was quickly overturned in the second term as players found their confidence and those who had copped their first tackle sought to pay it forward. By half time the Whites had a one point lead, and it was officially game on. The Whites held on to their lead in the third, with impressive displays coming from Charlie, Siobhan, Penny, Alison, Ben and Mr Pawl, and went in to three quarter time two goals up. The Reds felt somewhat defeated already, with many looking longingly at the wine already on offer, but a pep talk from captain Kel got everyone ready for the final term. With some very fancy footwork coming from Trent, as well as solid midfield support from Kelli, Mark and Lara, the Reds got two quick goals, making the final term a much more interesting affair. Each team picked up a few more scores, with the game finishing a DRAW, with an impressive score of 68-68. It was a fitting end to a tight contest, with everyone walking away a winner. A big thank you to our coaches for the day (Dan and Kyle), fantastic umpires (Josh and Nathan), MC-extraordinaire (Fabbo) and everyone who came down to play and watch.

Trent - who smuggled a ball under his shirt.

Trent – who smuggled a ball under his shirt.

Once again, the mixed game has highlighted the growing interest for the modified rules AFL format amongst the expat and Vietnamese community in HCMC, and provided an opportunity for new people to get involved. The Swannies and Saigon Gaels both managed to pick up some new players as a result of the game, making it a successful recruitment drive. In addition to the 40 people on field, there were another 60 or so cheering from the sidelines with some clearly looking interested for next time. Plans are now underway for the next mixed game, which we hope can become a more regular fixture on the Vietnam Swans calendar – stay tuned!!

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Footy was the real winner – 2014 Indochina Cup Report

Posted by Vietnam Swans on August 22, 2014

The Vietnam Swans have been unsuccessful in their bid to win an unparalleled fifth straight Indochina Cup title, with an honorable defeat to hosts Thailand Tigers to finish runners up with a 3-1 record. However, it was the inaugural game for the Embers coached Indochina All-stars team that took the headlines in a historic day for the development of footy in Asia.

An exceptional touring party of around 50 Vietnam Swans players, girlfriends, boyfriends, groupies and supporters descended on Thailand over the weekend of 15-16 October for the 9th ICC, one of the club’s largest ever traveling parties.  Some Swannies proving their commitment to the cause, going way beyond the call at great financial cost to get there, the Vietnamese aviation authorities apparently not showing much sympathy for late arriving Presidential delegations at Ho Chi Minh airport.

Those that made their flights gathered Friday night with players from the Thailand Tigers, Laos Elephants, Cambodia Eagles and AFL Asia’s newest and best named club, the Myanmar Fighting Cocks, for a couple of quiet powerades at a respectable Bangkok establishment and watch Micky Malthouse blow another head gasket after yet another Carlton fade out.

The excitement was starting to build throughout the night and into the morning, particularly so for some of the younger Swannies contingent, several players making their ICC debuts. The two hour early morning bus to Pattaya allowing a quiet moment of reflection before the intensity and heat of the day ahead.

Swannies firing up for the first game of the day

Swannies firing up for the first game of the day

Vietnam 2.3.14 def Cambodia 1.1.7
The first game of the day for the Swannies but the second for the Eagles, having defeated Laos in the tournament opener. However, it was the Swans that came out the more aggressive team, opening their account through yet another Joe Vile special from deep in the right pocket that he has made his own. An almost uncanny replica of his game opening goal just a few weeks prior in KL.

The Swans feathers had plucked up and they should have doubled their score soon after with a delightful gather and run along the boundary from David ‘SOS’ Skowronski that ended with a his Hanoi comrade Grant Keys and a few others flat on their backs. The big man making a meal of SOS’ unselfish chip to him in the goalsquare, fluffing a great opportunity to put some space between the teams.

Hanoi high 5

Hanoians Joe and SOS happy with their efforts up forward against the Cambodians

Only one goal separated the teams at the half but the Cambodians came out of the halftime huddle the more aggressive team, breaking the goal drought early in the second and just missing another to tie the scores, the pressure right on the four-time reigning champions as their first ever loss to their border rivals became a real possibility.

Enter Mitch Hyde, the midfielder sensing an opportunity to enter Swans folklore gathering the footy right in front of the Swans bench as the clock ticked down, breaking through the pack at full speed, promptly sitting an Eagles player on his arse and proceeding to slot in the game winner from 40 out on the boundary to see the Swans home by a goal. Stuff of dreams really.

Thailand 5.3.33 def Vietnam 2.2.14
The Swannies barely had time to recover from the Eagles scare when they were back on the field against a well stocked and organised Thailand Tigers squad, in what transpired to be the deciding game of the tournament.

The first half was evenly poised with both clubs going in one goal each at half time, Timmy Burdeu with a fine snap that rewarded the Swans for their intensity at the ball. The second half was all the Tigers, opening the second with three straight goals. Another SOS goal bouncing through from a booming center square punt giving the tourists some hope of a comeback before a late Thailand sealer saw them home by a well deserved three goal margin.

The irrepressible James Bairstow giving his all against the Tigers

The irrepressible James Bairstow giving his all against the Tigers

Myanmar 3.3.21 def Cambodia 2.6.18
Not an official Swannies game but significant and worth recording for the fact it was the Fighting Cocks first ever ICC win with a number of Swannies players in true AFL Asia spirit answering the call to help out the Cocks by pulling on a jumper.

Significant also for Swannie Penny Wilmot, defying the boys club edict that she could not play to not only pull on the boots, but making a significant step forward for equality in Asian footy by contributing well across the ground and kicking an important goal for the Cocks, controversially ending any chance Cambodia may have had of an ICC title.

The Swannies Fighting Cocks

The Swannies Fighting Cocks

Vietnam 5.1.31 def Myanmar 3.3.21
Another close affair, with the majority of the Swans engine room choosing to line up once again for the Cocks in a show of good will following the Cambodia defeat. However, this provided a great opportunity for many all of the Swans interchange to gain valuable game time, with the Viet contingent of Aaron Mai, Tuan Nhan, Khoi Nguyen Le and Vuong Kim particularly impressive in their first Swans appearance, inspiring all with some aggressive tackling and intent at the ball.

Also impressive was a fired up Timmy Clements, slotted into his familiar full forward position after the coaching staff moved big Keysy up the ground to try and get him his first kick of the day.   Full of voice, the Swans were unable to deny him the ball after some strong leads to see him slot home two goals for the game.

Swans and CocksVietnam 5.4.34 def Laos 2.1.13
With Thailand securing their ICC title by defeating Cambodia in the previous game, pride was on the line against a Laos Elephants team who had been impressive all day, beating the Cocks and only loosing to Thailand and Cambodia by a goal.

The game evenly poised at half time, it wasn’t until after a half time spray from Coaches Andy, Bill, Gus and several others reminding the boys of the pride that comes with pulling on a Swans jumper that the boys clicked into gear to put away several second half goals to see them home, a nice over the shoulder snap from young Hanoian Scotty Mills a stand out.

ICC14 v Laos

Indigenous All-stars 3-4-22 def Kangaroos 3.1.19
A great end to a fantastic days play at Pattaya with several Swannies making history by playing for and against the first ever all-Indochinese team, coached by former West Coast Eagles champion and Norm Smith Medalist Andrew Embley. The game went down to the wire but much to the delight of the crowd, the local boys holding on for a well deserved victory.

Andrew Embley with the Indochina All-stars Viet contingent

Andrew Embley with the Indochina All-stars Viet contingent

All that was left was the boat race, with Vietnam getting off to a great start, only to be hampered by some terrible beer sipping further down the line. Kelli Trinidad unlikely to get another call up to the boat race squad, who showed some good signs of improvement after their demolition in KL. The squad will be sure to continue to refine its line up and get in plenty of practice before the Asian Champs.

While not able to reclaim the Cup, it was only happy smiling faces over several plates of Pad Thai and Green Curry at a magnificent after game street feed, many staying on an few extra nights to enjoy the magic that is Bangkok.

Big thanks to tour leader Tuan Nhan and to all the support staff that made the trip over for a what proved to be a magnificent weekend for all involved. The 2015 ICC will likely be in Saigon so plenty of incentive there for the Swans to reclaim the Cup, with the 5th victory banners and Cup plaque already printed up thanks to the foresight of Billy Crang and Gussy Mcewin!

ICC 2014 team

All photos copyright of of Kelli Trinidad – Thanks Kel!

More pics on the Swans facebook page here

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Remembering Ed for his children

Posted by Vietnam Swans on August 14, 2014

Remembering Ed for his children.

Remembering Ed for his children.

Ed Smith’s brother, Justin, is now collating all contributions from family and friends for an entire memory book for his children. Please read below.

Dear Family and Friends of Ed,

You would likely be aware that on Saturday the 9th August we lost a friend, husband, son, dad, brother and most of all beautiful person. Ed was free diving and doing what he loved, being in the water, when the tragedy occurred.

Sadly, some of his youngest children will only be able to really know how great he was through your memories, so this email address has been set up as a digital repository.  It is dedicated to Eddie’s family for you all to send in your fondest memories of Ed, whatever they may be.  We will later convert memories and stories of Ed into a book which will be for Ed’s kids and broader family.

Kate has noted there may be need to be both a PG and an over 18 version of the book!! Please don’t hesitate to send whatever you feel.  I can say this confidently as I have never been able to find the guy doing anything but good things!!  It doesn’t have to be digital either (can provide a postage address). Just send whatever you feel is appropriate for you as we will sort the right stories for the right book.

Please share your stories/photos/videos of Ed or whatever you feel like and send them to If you want to make something more creative like a card or kids drawings – send us an email ( and I will give you a post address to send it to.  All will be included in the book we create.

Ed’s Solomon Island memorial will be held on Thursday the 14th August at 6am (5am east Australian time).  Please light a candle or think of Ed and the family during this time (or both).

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Ed Smith’s memorial service in Solomon Islands announced

Posted by Vietnam Swans on August 13, 2014

Ed Smith Memorial Service, 14 August, Solomon Islands.

Ed Smith Memorial Service, 14 August, Solomon Islands.

To view the notice regarding the memorial service in pdf format, click onto 140812 Ed Smith Memorial Invitation.

If anyone there in the Swans football community wants to share anything for Kate and the kids then they can email to: “Kate particularly wants stories that will help the kids know Ed, as they grow up. You can send to “

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The sun sets over the Solomon Islands for Swannie, Ed Smith. R.I.P.

Posted by Vietnam Swans on August 11, 2014

The sun sets over the Solomon Islands for an amazing man, Ed Smith. R.I.P.

The sun sets over the Solomon Islands for an amazing man, Ed Smith. R.I.P.

The Vietnam Swans have just received news that Ed Smith has died in a tragic diving accident in the Solomon Islands. Marty Sharples writes,

“Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but former Swannie and all round great human, Ed Smith, died on the weekend while diving in the Solomon Islands. Everyone is absolutely devastated. You could not meet a better bloke. He is survived by Kate and three beautiful kids.”

Ed was an amazing bloke: helping out new recruits on the footy field, giving his time with wife Kate, to the kids at the Warmhouse Orphanage in Hanoi to doing great things in his volunteer’s position over here.

In May 2008, he and Kate, who he was inseparable from, had returned to Tassie and had their first baby, Meg. At the time, Ed wrote, “We still love getting all of the mighty Swans emails. Sounds like the Swans are having a pretty busy year – makes me nostalgic. We had such a great time with you guys.”

Just 10 days ago, upon hearing of AFL Asia’s event in Melbourne on 17 August, Ed wrote to say that getting “Gary Buckenara (to attend) – that’s awesome”.

He then added, “We have our big meat pie comp (Expat v Best of the Solomon Island’s lads) coming up”.

The Vietnam Swans community extends its deepest thoughts and condolences to Kate, the three children, his family and friends.

As per custom, the Vietnam Swans will wear black armbands at our next match which will be the Indochina Cup next Saturday. Ed would have been very pleased that the weekend will also see the first ever Indochina All Stars team play.

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Expat Property Planners – Sagion Information Evening

Posted by Vietnam Swans on August 11, 2014

Come down and join Swannies sponsor Greg Shand from Expat Property Planners as he, along with Paul Milbourne from Ipermium Capital, give us the run down on investing and protecting property in Australia while living abroad.

Come down and join Swannies sponsor Greg Shand from Expat Property Planners as he, along with Paul Milbourne from Imperium Capital, give us the run down on investing and protecting property in Australia while living abroad.

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Warriors Beat Swans Before Paying Their Respects

Posted by Vietnam Swans on July 26, 2014

Warriors President Shaun 'Digger' Di Gregorio presents Swans President Josh 'Big Dog' Lee & Gus 'Luck' Mcewin with the #10 Jumper as a dedication to the late Nick Shiells.

Warriors President Shaun ‘Digger’ Di Gregorio presents Swans President Josh ‘Big Dog’ Lee & Gus ‘Luck’ Mcewin with the #10 Jumper as a dedication to the late Nick Shiells.

With only 14 Swans in total making the tour, including a few blokes with injuries the Swans were always going to go into the game the underdogs with the Warriors keen to restore some pride after their ANZAC Friendship Match thumping at Vung Tau.

However, it was the Swans that got away to the better start seeing them up 3.4.22 to 1.8.14 at quarter time. The Warriors had all the run in the following three quarters, as injuries, inexperience and age all began to take their toll, with the Warriors recording an well deserved 70 point win 16.24.120 to the Swans 8.8.50.

In what is a showcase of the great comradely between the two clubs the Warriors presented the Swans a signed #10 jumper as a tribute to the late Nick Shiells. Despite being in opposition colours the club will display the Malaysian jumper as a lasting memory to Nick, serving to highlight the contribution he made to AFL footy right across Asia. Earlier in the day Kim Wood, a close friend of Nick, debuted for the Swans wearing the #10 (the club felt it was fitting not to retire the #10 Swans jumper). Kim more than proved worthy of the honour lining up on ex-AFL star Daniel Chick and keeping him to 1 goal!

Great work all round.

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Update from Swim Vietnam

Posted by Vietnam Swans on July 23, 2014

V for the Vietnam Swans. How good is it that we can help a smiling face like this.

V for the Vietnam Swans. How good is it that we can help a smiling face like this.

This is Hang. She is 9 years old. Six weeks ago she could not swim at all. Now she can swim 30 meters, tread water for 2 minutes and knows basic lifesaving skills so she can save one of her friends if they are in trouble in the water.

Hang can now swim and survive as a result of the money  which was raised by the Vietnam Swans at the 2014 ANZAC Day match. This donation alone has enabled Swim Vietnam to teach 150 more children, including Hang, the skills they need which will protect them from drowning. Thank you to all the Swannies, from the Swim Vietnam team and all the children you have helped to teach to swim.

Drowning is the number one injury related killer of children in Vietnam. Many more children drown in Vietnam than are killed in road accidents.* Swim Vietnam trains swimming teachers, builds swimming pools and establishes swim schools which give free swimming and water safety lessons to prevent children from drowning.


* 2012 Vietnam Ministry of Health Injury Mortality Report





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Kulin/Kondinin Blues Donate $1000 to the Vietnam Swans

Posted by Vietnam Swans on July 10, 2014

Looking sharp in Swannies Guernsey's - Simon Duckworth, Clayton Crabbe from the Kulin/Kondinin Blues along with club President Mick Lucchesi

Looking sharp in Swannies Guernsey’s – Simon Duckworth, Clayton Crabbe from the Kulin/Kondinin Blues along with club President Mick Lucchesi

Great news Swannies – the boys at the Kulin/Kondinin football club have kindly donated $1000 to help us grown the game here in Vietnam. The connection to the powerful Western Australian Club comes via David Tholstrup (Toasty), who before joining us in ‘Nam played 320 games for the Blues, including 2 premiership and a B&F, along with coaching them for 7 years.

The club have been able to play in every grand final since 2005 which is all the more impressive given that the town(s) population is about the same number as you’d find on your average Vietnamese bus (a few hundred). The Blues currently sit on top of the Eastern Districts Ladder and are looking to take out their 7th flag since ’05.
The Swans thank Dave & Christine (Toasty & Roadsy) along with all the players and members of the Kulin/Kondinin Blues and wish you the very best for the year. Hopefully one day soon we get to repay your kind donation with our hospitality here in Vietnam.


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Vietnam Swans Charity Fundraising Kicking Goals in 2014

Posted by Vietnam Swans on July 9, 2014

Last week Vietnam Swans stalwart Mr Glenn Nolan presented My Hoang and children from the Vung Tau Orphanage with a variety of sports equipment purchased from funds raised at the the annual ANZAC Friendship Match. To make sure the children get the most out of this equipment, veteran Ian Diamond has put together a dedicated program and will be teaching the students how to use of the gear. Having a sports program incorporated into the curriculum is a fantastic step forward in the development of these children.
The Swans were also able to contribute to the ongoing work of Swim Vietnam. With drowning being the leading causes of death among Vietnamese children the club is very proud to be able to assist Joanne Stewart and her dedicated team teach 100’s of children (and teachers) something that most Australian’s take for granted. 
A big thank-you once again needs to go to all who assisted in making these contributions possible. The Swans were able to double their overall contribution to partner charities vs 2013, which not only again highlights just how much the Annual ANZAC Friendship match and McMillan Dinner is growing in popularity but also how the Vietnam Swans and it’s supporters can give back to our adopted home and it’s people that we love so much. 
Go Swannies! 


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AFL Asia plans Asian footy function in Melbourne during IC14

Posted by Vietnam Swans on June 9, 2014

A Mega Awesome AFL Asia function is bound for Melbourne during the AFL’s International Cup. Save and promote the date: 17 August 2014!

A Mega Awesome AFL Asia function is bound for Melbourne during the AFL’s International Cup. Save and promote the date: 17 August 2014!

The AFL’s International Cup 2014 (IC14) is coming to Melbourne in August.

Teams from Asia that will compete in the IC14 are the Indonesian Garudas (who make their IC debut), China Red Demons, Japan Samurais, Indian Tigers and the Pakistan Shaheens (more to follow on exciting developments in footy in Pakistan…).

AFL Asia is keen to “show n throw” our support behind the teams representing Asia when it matters most – on the ground in Melbourne during the IC.

We are also very keen to use the IC as a vehicle to reignite the passion of people who have been involved in footy across Asia (AFL Asia’s Alumni) – and have since returned back home.

Well, now it’s time to melt the freeze. Asian footy needs you! And our Asian footy teams at the IC need your support.

This initiative is being driven by AFL Asia’s Secretary, Mark Stennett who has recently returned to Melbourne after a 7 year footy stint at three Asian clubs (Singapore Wombats, Malaysian Warriors and Vietnam Swans).

Details of AFL Asia’s IC14 Event in Melbourne

  • Date: Sunday 17 August 2014 (Indonesia’s National Day)
  • Time: From 2pm
  • Price: Pay As You Go
  • Venue: Pier Hotel, Port Melbourne

We are hoping to get 150-200 people there including a number of AFL and media personalities. So far, subject to any commitments with sponsors etc of the visiting teams, the China Red Demons, Indonesian Garudas and Indian Tigers have confirmed. If the AFL Asia Alumni get behind it, this number will be easily achieved.

We are also speaking with the promoters of the film “Aussie Rules the World” about including their involvement.

This event has pivotal potential for the development of AFL Asia in Asia and Australia. Lock it in your diaries and please help to spread the word.

More details to follow.

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Video Tribute for Swannies 2014 Hall of Famer, Phil “Fabbo” Johns

Posted by Vietnam Swans on June 8, 2014

At the 2014 McMillan Dinner after this year’s ANZAC Friendship Match in Vung Tau, Michael Johnston and Gus McEwin were presented to the 250 strong crowd as the Swannies’ latest Hall of Famers. They were confirmed last year and join Mick Francis, Scott Stacey and Dave Kainey.

Then, to most people’s surprise, without an introduction, a video started. It was a tribute video for former National President, Phil Johns who had just been inducted into the Swannies Hall of Fame!

The video was prepared by Hall of Famer, Michael “the Magnificent” Johnston (current gun player from Hoi An and champion of swimming for Vietnamese kids). Messages are received from Dave Kainey (former Hanoi Swans President, Hall of Famer, gun player), Phil Jordan (former gun player – after he had played for the Lao Elephants), Adrian “Ado” Enright (former Hanoi Coach, gun player), Reinhard (no relation to Gina – but original Hanoi Swan gun player recruited from Holland), Luke “Dukesy” Creamer (former Skipper, gun player), Derrin “Dez” Limbrick (former Saigon President, gun player), Josh Little (former national coach, gun player), Antti (former gun player and original Hanoi Swan recruited from Finland) and Danny “Monk” Monkey (former Skipper, gun player). Special cameo appearances from Mark “Willy” Williams (former Hanoi President, gun player), Natty Payne (Original All Asia, former gun player) and Edoardo “Edo Man Mountain” Bozzola (former gun player recruited from Italy).

Highlight of video:Ms Ngan from Jim Beam.

Message from Fabbo:

Wow! What a humbling shock to be inducted into the Swannies Hall of Fame. And the setting, surrounded by such important people who are all actively contributing to the evolving story of the Vietnam Swans and footy in Asia… the 5th Annual ANZAC Friendship Match, the McMillan Dinner with 250 amazing people including AFL Legend and Hall of Famer, Alex Jesaulenko and all those incredible people on the video.

I was completely blind sided with the Award and its timing. But, rest assured, it hit the sweet spot in a way I could never imagined. Smashed right through my defenses in the backline!

To the people who made it happen, thank you. And thanks Micky J for putting together the video. Outstanding effort.

There are many, many other people I would like to thank who have helped me during my time with the Swannies. One person I would like to make a special acknowledgement for is Nick “Nicko” Shiells who was there that night.

Go you Swannies!

Forever we will run.

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