On the back of tours to Philippines, Cambodia and Hong Kong, the Swannies will see another couple of stamps in their already chock-a-block passports this weekend with their first ever tour to the beautiful city of Luang Prabang, Laos for the IndoChina Cup.
On the eve of that tour, here’s a few talking points for us all to ponder:
1. Will experience prevail?
With veteran Swans legends MJ, Gus, Andy and Kev all answering the call, the Swannies will be going into the Cup with close to 200 years of footy experience to their name. While there is no doubt the distinguished gentleman of Swans football will be handy around the Luang Prabang bars, the question mark will remain on how the younger contingent by the likes of Tommy D and Pierre will respond to playing with Swans royalty who are older than their fathers.
2. Where is Billy Crang?
A question many have often asked themselves around 10pm, the Swans Captain missed the Hong Kong tour, the first tour he has missed since 1982 and has been absent the past week or two from Saigon trainings. We can report the legendary backman has been spotted back in Queensland recharging his batteries for a massive second half of the year and on a short ground his inspirational backline runs and 50m barrel goals might just be the weapon the swans need this weekend.
3. Is too much training ever enough?
Since the departure of legendary Hanoian captain/coach Sos, Joey Vile has stepped up to fill the void up north and in recent weeks has got the Hanoians out of their summer slumber with some intense sessions at the newly refurbished Embassy grounds. The appointed tour manager for this year’s ICC, he has attempted to lead from the front by setting an example to all with self imposed alcohol bans, extra sessions and strategy meetings. While the boys managed to get a couple of sneaky bia hoi’s past him to toast the visit of Timmy B last Wednesday, the Rock of the North remained defiant. While the question is still out on if his 42 training sessions in the past 3 weeks, including runs back home with the Brocklesy-Burrumbuttock Saints, all without proper bia hoi rehydration, will help or hinder a determination to rack up 35 touches per game, we can be certain he will be coming to Luang Prabang well armed with his vintage camera, crocs, and a determination to digest as much local specialty saioua barbecued sausage as possible.
4. Timmy P’s groin
The Swans backman has been in great form this year with massive games in Manila, Cambodia and Hong Kong. His ability to repel the oppositions attack and penetrate to the Swans forward line instrumental to the teams recent success. No stranger to the massage parlour, he has intensified his rehabilitation with extra sessions over the past week to get his nether regions right. Just how good his groin rubbing therapists are could be a determining factor in the Swans success this weekend.
5. Barrels of fun
While not necessarily known for his fleet of foot, Marty Crimmins possesses one of the most brutal drop punts known to man. Playing on a small soccer ground, Marty could have the potentially kick a goal from a a kick out. He will be joined this weekend by rookie Hanoian punter Rob Lee, on his first Swannies tour. A former Rugby player, Rob could well the secret weapon for the Swans with his impressive right foot, only matched by his ability to rub an oppositions face in the dirt after a tackle.
With Keysy out of action with lung softness, Timmy C could once again be the Swans prime target up forward. Not one to shy away from telling it like it is, his patience could well be tested if the swans superboots read too much into the previous talking points and start start kicking it over his head. While his kicking from set shots can often make coaches nervous, his ability to pop up in the final moments of the game and kick a winner over his shoulder cannot be questioned, having already done it a couple of times this year. If the game is on the line it might just pay to look and listen out for him.