Vietnam Swans

Australian Rules Football In Vietnam!

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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Mania Cup Recap

Posted by Vietnam Swans on June 4, 2014

After last years last minute semi-final loss to eventual winners the Philippines, the Swans were keen to make amends and pulled together a small but strong touring squad for the 12-a-side tournament. Facing last years runner-up the Singapore Wombats first up the Swans knew they needed to make a statement early – and that they did, beating the wombats by 4 goals with some superb teamwork all over the ground. This form continued into the second game against the Barbarians with Josh Leary and Mitch Hyde getting plenty of ball from the centre. The boys racked up over 10 goals in 24 minutes of play. The third game against Hong Kong Darkside was a tough contest. With only 1 player on the interchange, a few players carrying injuries combined with the Manila heat, the day was starting to take its toll. However heads started to turn with Vietnam running out convincing winners, setting up a Semi-final berth against the Hong Kong Dragons. 

Depleted but determined, the Swans were still confident and knew that by playing as they had done throughout the day, it would see them through to their first Manila Cup Grand Final. The Dragons had other ideas however and came out strongly with some silky ball movement and tough contested footy, jumping to a 3-goal lead early in the first half. But in a goliath effort the Swans dug deep and fought their way back into the game with Josh Daly and Kevin Hornblower leading the way. Pegging back the score to be within a goal, the Swans could just not manage to find a way to grab the lead as they struggled to match the fresh legs of Hong Kong. The fairytale was not to be with the Dragons winning by 1 straight kick – 5.4.34 to 4.4.28. While devastated the Swans walked away with heads held high knowing that they left everything out there and played some fantastic football all day. 

In some cruel poetic justice the Hong Kong Dragons went on to win the Cup in a fiercely contested game against the Philippine Eagles. Congratulations to both sides and all teams that competed and a big thank you to the PAFL for hosting the event.            


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Check out the Ladies Saigon Gaels new playing kit complete with the Vietnam Swans Logo

Posted by Vietnam Swans on May 21, 2014

Along with the logos of all the Swans major sponsors.

2014 has seen the beginning of a partnership between the Vietnam Swans and the newly formed Sagion Ladies Gaels.  The girls have shown off their AFL skills a few times this year including our first ever mixed rules game on Australia Day, joining the boys for the annual bootcamp in Vung Tau and wowing the crowd with some impressive skills at the ANZAC weekend. However, this weekend will see the Gaels compete in their first international tournament with the South East Asian Games in Hanoi – Good luck girls, wear the Swans (& Gaels) logo with pride and bring home a win.

Also best of luck to all the Swannies boys who are also picking up a round ball for the male Gaels this weekend……get some good run in before we head to Manila!

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Swannies gear up for 8-team 2014 Manila Cup

Posted by Vietnam Swans on May 21, 2014

The Manila Cup, 31 May 2014. Go you Swannies!

The Manila Cup, 31 May 2014. Go you Swannies!

The Hong Kong Dragons have just confirmed that they will field two teams at the Manila Cup on 31 May.

This will bring the total number of teams to eight – and give us two pools of 4 teams.

As well as the Dragons’ two teams, there will also be the following 6 teams: Malaysian Warriors, Singapore Wombats, Microsourcing Barbarians, Vietnam Swans, Philippine Eagles and Alabang Crows.

Go you Swannies!

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A reflection on the Swannies’ past three weeks

Posted by Vietnam Swans on May 21, 2014

At least 20 Swannies caught up in Melbourne last Sunday to remember Nick Shiells.

At least 20 Swannies caught up in Melbourne last Sunday to remember Nick Shiells.

Former National President, Phil Johns, reflects on the how the Club has managed the passing of Nick Shiells.

It’s been a crazy and surreal three weeks for everyone since the terrible news about Nick’s passing became known on 30 April.

While the Swannies did not have the power to change what had happened, we did have the power to offer support and help with logistics for Nick’s family, friends and each other in Saigon.

The Swannies’ effort was led magnificently by our new President, Josh Lee, who assumed the position just three months earlier back in January.

In Melbourne, the Swannies were also well represented in club colours at Nick’s Memorial Service held last Friday.

Again, the Swannies came out in force last Sunday in Melbourne to remember Nick; to share stories and to better process the pain and learnings associated with Nick’s passing.

At a time like this, in dreadful circumstances, I have felt so lucky and proud to be associated with this Club. When things matter most, the Club is there with such a strong presence.

At a time like this, it is inevitable that the momentous significance of the occasion dwarfs and trivialises what we do best: play footy.

But the irony is that playing footy continues to be the most important thing that our Club does. It’s the glue that cements our friendships and sense of community that provides us with unlimited good times, helps us in difficult times and gives us the drive to support multiple good causes.

On Saturday 31 May 2014, the Vietnam Swans will climb back in the saddle to take on seven other teams in the Manila Cup.

As Swannie, Timmay Clements has just said, “We are a week and half out from taking out our first international tournament and it’s time to switch on!”

Go you Swannies!

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Photos of Nick Shiells’ Tribute Match – and others

Posted by Vietnam Swans on May 21, 2014

Nick Shiells

Nick Shiells

The Vietnam Swans held a tribute scratch match for Nicholas Shiells on 10 May 2014 in Saigon.

Nick’s uncle, Brian Shiells, took a number of photos.

These photos, together with a selection of other photos, have been uploaded into a dedicated album on the Swannies’ Facebook page which can be accessed by clicking here.

Many thanks to Brian Shiells for the photos.

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MJ’s Tribute to Nicko

Posted by Vietnam Swans on May 20, 2014

As Swans Life-member and all round legend MJ couldn’t attended the Funeral Service to Nick Shiells he wrote this touching tribute as a final farewell to his mate.


Nicholas Shiells never did things by halves – He was always full intensity at whatever he was doing.

Nicko and I shared a common background in that we both played for Hawthorn Citizens in Melbourne, albeit a decade apart.  The Citz had probably the smallest ground in Australia, which meant we were usually in a pack rather than running out wide.   His desire to get the ball out of the middle of a pack sometimes resulted in him being pinged for holding the ball as he attempted to shrug off 3 or 4 opponents, resulting in a mixture of groans, sighs and grins from watching team-mates, but it also resulted in some great breakaway moments where he popped free like a champagne cork and had a shot at goal!

When he decided to start his own company, Nicko was known to put in days of work, seemingly without sleep, and then spend a couple of days catching up on sleep – no half measures!

As if that wasn’t enough for one person to handle, he also stuck up his hand for the HCMC Presidency of the Swans, ran a marketing campaign that made sure everyone knew what he would stand for and stepped into the size umpteen boots vacated by Sam Conroy and before that, Derrin Limbrick.

Unable to play on the 2014 ANZAC Friendship Weekend as a result of recent knee surgery, Nicko volunteered to coach the All Stars team in the Magoos against the Legends prior to the main Friendship Match.  When I sent him the team lists, his reply of “OK, awesome.  I’m happy with that – Game On MJ” led me to realise I hadn’t adequately rigged the teams in my favour.

As Nicko triumphantly held aloft the coveted Commonwealth Bank trophy, his beaming face framed the victory speech of “It’s great to be able to inflict MJ’s first coaching loss”: No half measures – Full steam ahead!

Nicko, I’d gladly let you hand me another defeat, but you’d have to earn it again.  You always played with great spirit and lived life to the full.

Cheers, MJ.

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Nick Shiells’ Memorial Service held in Melbourne yesterday

Posted by Vietnam Swans on May 17, 2014

Xavier Chapel in Melbourne after the Memorial Service for Nick Shiells.

Xavier Chapel in Melbourne after the Memorial Service for Nick Shiells.

Yesterday, a memorial service was held for Nicholas Shiells (aliases include – but are not limited to – Nicko, Nikovsky, Shiellsy, Big Balls) at Xavier College in Melbourne.

Approximately 15 Swannies were in attendance to pay our respects to the man who has contributed so much in so many areas in just 30 short years.

RIP NIcko.

Tomorrow (Sunday 18 May), the Swannies will meet at Prince Alfred Hotel, 619 Church Street, Richmond at 1pm for a special drink.

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