The 2014 ANZAC Friendship Match – FAQs
The 2014 ANZAC Friendship Match
Vietnam Swans Vs Malaysian Warriors
Lam Son Stadium (Lord Mayor’s Oval), Vung Tau, Saturday,26 April 2014
1. What is “ANZAC Day”?
ANZAC Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations” and “the contribution and suffering of all those who have served”.
2. Why is ANZAC Day commemorated on 25 April each year?
25 April is the anniversary of when members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) landed on the beaches of Gallipoli (Ottoman Empire (Turkey)) in 1915. The ANZACs were met with fierce resistance from the Ottoman Army and suffered heavy casualties.
3. What is the history of the ANZAC Friendship Match?
In 2009, the Vietnam Swans were invited to play in the Thailand Tigers’ 2009 Commemorative ANZAC Match in Kanchanaburi which is near World War II’s infamous Thai Burma Railway.
The following year, 2010, the Vietnam Swans played the inaugural ANZAC Friendship Match. Players were divided into two teams that were named after previous playing clubs, the Hanoi Hawks and Saigon Saints.
The Friendship Match was designed to:
- Thank our hosts, the Vietnamese Government and Vietnamese people for warmly and generously welcoming us into their country
- Encourage emotionally wounded people from abroad to return and experience the New World of Vietnam
- Learn from those who had been here 40 years before us
- Show those from abroad, through our eyes, what an amazing country Vietnam is to live and work in
- Focus attention on the number of children drowning in this country (more children die from drowning than road accidents)
- Raise money for local causes supporting the future, the kids, via Swim Vietnam and the Vung Tau Orphanage.
4. Why do players wear two Black Armbands?
This is the ANZAC Friendship Match. It is about bringing people together. It’s about recognizing that in times of war, people on all sides suffer.
We who live here in Vietnam are very grateful for this privilege.
Typically, only one armband is worn to commemorate the loss of life. By having all players, from all teams, in all matches wearing two black armbands, it becomes very clear that we are explicitly recognizing the losses suffered by all.
In every photo taken on the day, every player will be wearing two black armbands. This is the ANZAC Friendship Match.
5. What is the Vietnam Football League (VFL)?
In 1966, Private John Heaney was given the call: organize a game of Aussie Rules Football – or face detention for a minor disciplinary issue. He chose the latter!
The following year, 1967, a full scale competition was organized between the various Australian units based in Vung Tau.
The competition, known as the VFL (Vietnam Football League) ran until 1971. There were two premiership seasons played most years.
6. What is the Lord Mayor’s Oval?
Most of the Vietnam Football League’s games were played at Lam Son Stadium which is now the Vung Tau Greyhound Racing Track – and home of the ANZAC Friendship Match.
This is the same oval that the diggers used to play on but they fondly referred to Lam Son as the Lord Mayor’s Oval.
7. Who is Stan Middleton?
In 2010, the Vietnam Swans were very aware that footy had been played by Australian diggers during the War – but we had been unsuccessful in tracking down any of the players or any detail of its history.
So we went ahead aand played our Inaugural ANZAC Friendship Match on 24 April 2010.
Then, just two weeks later, on 10 May 2014, a guy named Stan Middleton left a comment on the Swans’ website:
“I served in Vung Tau in 1967-68. A full scale Aussies Rules Competition between Australian units was conducted (twice a year). The Competition commenced in either 1966 or 1967 and I believe went through to 1971.”
It turned out that Stan had albums of photos, historical documents, contacts – and we were away. The Vietnam Swans had played our Inaugural ANZAC Friendship Match just two weeks earlier – but, suddenly, we had more than 40 years’ of incredibly rich history!
8. What is the McMillan Dinner?
In 2010 and 2011, we enjoyed cracking post match functions. But they were the same type of events as every other post match event we have during a standard year.
But this was a post ANZAC Friendship Match function. It needed to be different. And it needed a name.
The Vietnam Swans in 2012 named the function the McMillan Dinner. It was named in honour of Kevin “Kev” McMillan.
Kev did two tours of Vietnam: one from 1969-1970 with the 6th Battalion Royal Australian Army Regiment and the second from 1970-1971 with the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam.
Some years later, Kev returned to Vietnam in Vung Tau where he married Le. They now have two children. Together with long time friend, Peter Taylor, they played a key role in forming the Vietnam Veterans and Friends Charity. They renovated the Da Bak School and raised $40,000 to put in new toilets and classrooms for the new school at the end of the Luscombe airfield strip at Nui Dat.
Glenn Nolan at the time said that Kev is “a man that gave Australia two years of his life and has come back and helped to rebuild a country he fought in. But it’s in a true ANZAC tradition. They may have been foe but are now friends and this, Kev, has proven.”
Kev was a passionate rugby man who loved to mock the southerners’ “aerial ping pong”. But while he didn’t care about the footy per se, this rugby man was passionate about what the ANZAC Friendship Match represented.
It’s always hardest to start something and Kev was there at the very beginning of the ANZAC Friendship Match in 2010.
Unfortunately, Kev was not able to be at the Inaugural McMillan Dinner on 21 April 2012. He was in Australia being treated for cancer. Stephen Drummond film the night for him, however. The footage was uploaded onto You Tube and Kev was able to watch it from his hospital bed which he loved greatly.
Ten days later, Kev passed away, “chuffed” that the McMillan Dinner had been named in his honour.
9. What is the Middleton Address?
If the ANZAC Friendship Match is about bringing people together, then, that’s what the McMillan Dinner needed to do.
For that to happen, the McMillan Dinner needed a signature event. Given the footy happens on the weekend adjacent to ANZAC Day, it is reasonable to expect that there will potentially be some amazing speakers over the coming years. And so we needed to build a spot for a keynote speaker.
And that spot was to become known as the Middleton Address in honour of Stan Middleton.
We didn’t name it after Stan because of what he did or didn’t do in Vietnam – on or off the footy field.
the ANZAC Friendship Match is about bringing people together – and that is exactly what Stan has done.
Within two weeks of our first footy match, Stan had found us and reached out; offering to help and to share his library of photos, contacts etc. He has continued to work tirelessly to help spread the word and has also been heavily involved with Water Safety Vietnam which also aims to teach children to swim.
The inaugural speaker of the Middleton Address in 2012 was Peter Taylor, Kev McMillan’s best mate.
Last year, Stan himself delivered the Middleton Address.
10. Who is Alex Jesaulenko?
Alex Jesaulenko will deliver this year’s Middleton Address.
Born in Austria in 1945, he migrated to Australia and became one of the greatest ever AFL footballers to have ever played.
He played 279 games for Carlton and St Kilda in the Victorian Football League (VFL) from the 1960s to the 1980s.
He is an official Legend of the Australian Football Hall of Fame and immortalised his reputation in the game by taking the Mark of the Century in the 1970 VFL Grand Final in front of 120,000 spectators.
- Carlton premierships 1968, 1970, 1972
- Carlton premiership captain-coach 1979
- Carlton leading goalkicker 1969–1971
- Carlton captain 1974–1976, 1978–1979
- John Nicholls Medal 1975
- St Kilda captain 1981
- All-Australian team 1969, 1972
- AFL Team of the Century
- Carlton Team of the Century
- Australian Football Hall of Fame inductee 1996, Official Legend in 2008
11. What is the Peter Badcoe Club?
The Peter Badcoe Club was a rest and recreation club for diggers during the war. The Imperial Hotel, where the McMillan Dinner will be held, stands on the site of the Peter Badcoe Club.
Major Peter Badcoe VC served in the Vietnam War and is the last South Australian to be awarded the Victoria Cross – the military’s highest honour for bravery.
Since 2004, AFL Club, Port Adelaide has presented the Peter Badcoe VC Medal to the best player on the ground as part of ANZAC Round.
12. Where do proceeds from the ANZAC Friendship Match go?
The ANZAC Friendship Match’s tagline is “Honouring lost lives; saving young lives”.
We remember and acknowledge the past and then, while we have everyone’s attention, we offer them a way forward to make a positive difference.
Children are the future of Vietnam and with more children dying from drowning than road accidents, money raised will be donated to Swim Vietnam and Water Safety Vietnam. In addition, we also support the Vung Tau Orphanage.
All proceeds from gate takings at the ground and raffles, less direct expenses, will be donated.
13. What is AFL Asia?
AFL Asia was formed in July of last year to promote and encourage the sharing of information and ideas between existing clubs. Also, it’s designed to enable member clubs to operate in a more strategic and coordinated manner.
AFL Asia comprises 22 footy clubs from Timor Leste in the south to Beijing in the north; and the Philippines in the east to Pakistan in the west.
14. How do I get there?
The Vietnam Swans will be running 2 x buses – leaving at 7pm on Thursday the 24th and Friday the 25th of April to Vung Tau. Alternatively local shuttle service runs ever 15 minutes.
The Thursday night bus will be combined with a tour to the Long Tan Memorial Cross and Dawn Service on Friday morning (departing Vung Tau at 4am).
Traveling time is approx. 1.5hrs.
15. How much does it cost (dinner, bus and game)?
The cost of the Thursday night bus is $15 (including Long Tan Tour on Friday morning). Friday night bus is $15.
The McMillan Dinner, including 3hrs of Free Flow beer, wine and soft drink + buffet dinner costs $60.
Entry to the ground is by donation with all proceeds going to charity.
16. How do I book?
To reserve a place on this buses or book tickets to the dinner please log onto vietnamswans.com/online-shop and pay via PayPal.
17. Further Information
For further information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or log onto vietnamswans.com/anzac-2014