Vietnam Swans

Australian Rules Football In Vietnam!

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

Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 9.10.57 am

Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 9.10.48 am

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Asian Champs Draw is Out!

Posted by Vietnam Swans on October 6, 2014

Asian Champs Draw 2014 – V1.2

To download the the PDF click on the link above.

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 9.39.10 pm

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Vietnam Swans v Philippines Eagles on Ladies day – 6th October

Posted by Vietnam Swans on September 18, 2014

The Vietnam Swans comfortably accounted for the Philippine Eagles on tour in front of a fantastic ladies day crowd. Rain couldn’t dampen the post match vibe. Great night at the Spotted Cow and beyond followed.  The Swans can take confidence from their performance but must realize that the ‘real’ Philippine Eagles will be ready and waiting at home for the Asian Champs in a few weeks!

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Posted by Vietnam Swans on September 17, 2014

No matter if you are in Saigon, Hanoi or Hoi An – the Vietnam Swans have you covered with 3 Mega Grand Final Parties across the country. Events in both Ho Chi Minh & Hanoi are expected to sell out so grab your tickets fast at or at the venue.

Sagion  – Game On Sports Bar 115 Ho Tung Mau, District 1

Hanoi – Intercontinental Hotel Nghi Tam , Tay Ho

Hoi An – 3 Dragons Bar, 51 Phan Boi Chau

2014 Swans GF party Hanoi GF2014_poster copy 2 poster_hoian

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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

Posted in Asian Footy, Aussie Rules, ICC | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

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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