Vietnam Swans

Australian Rules Football In Vietnam!

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Archive for March, 2008

Shane Bezzant – in flight!

Posted by Vietnam Swans on March 30, 2008

Shane Bezzant returned to Australia some time ago. He used to play for the Swannies in Hanoi. More recently, he was on a flight between Melbourne and Perth. This is his story:

Hi Swannies!

I caught a plane from Melbourne to Perth the other day and which Asian footy team did I see in the inflight magazine?

I’m pretty cheap and therefore I got to read the Tiger Airlines magazine.

Hope all is great, catch you later, Shane.

Shane was referring to the Swans appearance in Tiger Airways’ in-flight magazine, Tiger Tales. You can see an online version of it at the Swans Blog’s In the Press section. And for the record, Shane is not pretty cheap. He’s pretty sophisticated if he’s reading stories about us.

Posted in Asian Footy, Unheard of | Leave a Comment »

Swans in AusCham’s Quarterly Newsletter

Posted by Vietnam Swans on March 28, 2008

In another scoop for the Swans Blog, 3 days before the end of the Quarter, we can reveal that we appeared in  the Australian Chamber of Commerce’s Q1 Quarterly Newsletter. The article reviews 2007 and looks forward to 2008. Click on the picture to the left to enlarge.

To see other articles about the Swans in the media, click on In the Press

“In 2007, Australian Rules Football in Vietnam took an exciting and significant leap forward. Saigon… combined with Hanoi to form a National Vietnam team, the Vietnam Swans. The Vietnam Swans went on to play their first ever Asian Championships as well matches against the Hong Kong Dragons, Lao Elephants and Thailand Tigers…

“We were able to contribute to good causes including the Warmhouse Orphanage in Hanoi, Prostate screening in Central Vietnam…

“We launched a new blogsite in May which has recorded nearly 20,000 hits (now 27,000 hits)…

“Interest from the media has continued with good coverage in local magazines such as AsiaLife, Timeout and Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper (see In the Press tab for all media coverage)…

“Relationships with AFL heavyweights such as Triple Brownlow medalist, Bobby Skilton, Triple Premiership Player, Clark Keating and Sydney/South Melbourne Team of the Century Player, Tony Morwood have continued to grow…

“Back in Melbourne, the Elgar Park Dragons (comprising predominantly Vietnamese Aussies) played their first ever season of AFL… and will tour to Saigon in September of this year…

“The beginnings of a relationship have also been formed with the National Vietnam Veterans’ War Museum at Phillip Island, Victoria…

“2008 is shaping up to be an exciting year with a number of matches already scheduled including Malaysia (twice), Bali, Singapore, the Asian Championships and Elgar Park Dragons…”

For the full story, click on the picture of the article above.

Posted in Swans in the Community | Leave a Comment »

Club Email and Nha Trang

Posted by Vietnam Swans on March 26, 2008

Nha Trang Weekend

Are you coming to Nha Trang on 19 – 20 April?? Why wouldn’t ya?


There will be a cracking footy match as well as rugby. Confirm your attendance by contacting Symmo or the .

(Yes, “Hanoi Hawks” has been mentioned on the poster for this state of origin match as the Hanoi Hawks preceded the Hanoi Swans. But for lovers of the Vietnam Swans, please note the red and white colouring on the poster).

Saigon Saints

For those of you who want to learn more about the history of the Saigon Saints footy club, tune into to read a posting by Pago on the 10th anniversary of the Sainters.

Footy Tipping

The footy tipping comp started last weekend. To read the summary of what happened, check out the post Round 1 analysis by Muzza the Tip Star at

Grand Final Thought

As the poster above says, “Go large” – but don’t go back home.

Posted in sport, Swans in the Community, Unheard of | Leave a Comment »

Round 1 – The Tip Star’s analysis

Posted by Vietnam Swans on March 25, 2008

Muzza, the Tip Star, will provide an in-depth, comprehensive and timely analysis each Monday (Tuesday, Wednesday or whichever day) of the preceding weekend’s footy action. And, more to the point, he will tell us how the Vietnam Swans’ punters fared with their tipping. Expect the insightful, the pertinent and the outright ridiculous. Here’s the Round 1 analysis:

Well, well, well. The footy season did arrive and it is a shame that some of the Vietnam Swans alleged tip-stars didn’t. Blokes don’t forget to put your bloody tips in – yes you Fabbo Johns.

And whose great idea was it to have celebrity tipsters? The comp is now lead by none other than one of the legendary “Ball Boys”, Matthew Ball. With a margin on the Thursday night game of 7 points, he is in front of “Stray”, “The Bloke” and “Matt777″ who all picked 7.

To say the least, there were some interesting efforts on the weekend.

  • Richmond supporter, Danny Armstrong picked 5 – pity 1 of them wasn’t the team he supports!
  • The Vietnam Swans through the Herald Sun “Kiss of Death” managed a pitiful 2.
  • The Sydney Swans legend, Tony Morwood is mid table with a solid 5.
  • The Vietnam Swans legend, Silver Fox Johns is also mid table with 5 – but was assisted by 2 away tips!
  • Matthew Johns is still lost somewhere in the footy tipping system but has been singing all weekend about the Hawks – a shame he didn’t even get his tips in! (Ed’s note: haven’t you seen his hair recently?) 
  • Luck of the Irish was with “The Boz” who tipped a handy 6 as did Mr Jim Beam, Andy Wall.

So, Round 1 has been run and and won. Well done to all of those who have joined so far.

Remember anyone can join up, follow the details below. The more that join the bigger the prize pool – so far, the winner will pick up 3.5 million dong!

Muzza, the Tip Star

Posted in Tipping | Leave a Comment »

The Saigon Saints – 10th anniversary

Posted by Vietnam Swans on March 25, 2008

Pago, current President of the Saigon Geckos Rugby Club, player and Fines Master in the first Vientam National AFL Team which made its inaugural appearance at the 2007 Asian Championships, is also one of the original Saigon Saints.

2008 marks the 10th anniversary of the Sainters and below is a brief insight by Pago into the hearts and minds of the Sophisticated Saints.

The Saigon Saints formed in mid 1998 for reasons still unknown. It may have been something to do with the launch of a new beer, or an excuse to exercise then drink more beer, it is probably best left alone. One thing that is known is that upon formation they immediately became the strongest Aussie Rules side in the country. The Saints rivals, the Hanoi Hawks as they were then known, were a low bunch of communist dogs that regularly suffered severe punishment at the hands of the Saints, sometimes narrowly surviving the devastating tactics in both attack, and beer consumption. This is still the case today with the Saints yet to be beaten by the northern scum.

On occasions where the beer ran out The Saints were sometimes forced to venture to new lands to continue their Aussie Rules domination and beer consumption. Amongst the most memorable was a 1999 tour to Phnom Penh where knowing there was a lack of musical entertainment, the Saints insisted on taking their own band, and as such drank Cambodia’s beer to their favourite tunes. Other tours followed with a trip to Bangkok in April 2000  seeing the retirement of many key players. In fact, following this trip the Saints remained undefeated for as many as 6 years until a worthwhile opposition fronted in the form of a visiting Navy ship or a lost Collingwood side.

Today in Saigon the spirit of the Saints lives on with a regular Grand Final Day Brunch hosting in excess of 200 people, and attracting guest speakers such as  David Rhys-Jones, Rod Ashman, David Wilson, Dale Weightman, Mark Yeates, Russel Morris, Gary Ablett and his sons Gary Jnr and Nathan. Still to this day the Saints are yet to lose to the Hanoi scum, and a new breed of younger beer drinkers have taken the reins of this proud club in its 10th year.

Go The Sainters!!!

Posted in Asian Footy | Leave a Comment »

“Swans Tank”, says Liberatore

Posted by Vietnam Swans on March 23, 2008

Former Carlton Assistant Coach, Tony Liberatore has accused the Vietnam Swans of “tanking” matches at the end of last season.

Speaking on the Footy Show last week, Liberatore cited the fact that the Vietnam Swans “lost their last four matches of the season” (sic) (Editor’s note: clearly, the fact that Libber’s brain is tanking would be less evident if his lips stopped flapping. The Swans won our second last match of the year against the Lao Elephants). 

In a wide ranging interview, Libber accuses Coach Stacey of standing over Swans player, Mattie Greenwood, “demonstrating how to feign a medial ligament injury”.

The latest Libber outburst follows his comments last month that Swans President, Phil Johns is “a divisive figure who should be sacked and that Swans’ Captain, Gus McEwin should also get his marching orders if he could not guide the club to the finals at the 2008 Asian Champs”.

The Swans have obviously “issued a statement emphatically denying the claims and said they would hold a press conference about the issue on a Friday in 2020″.

To read the full story, see Micky J’s article, .

Posted in Asian Champs, Unheard of | Leave a Comment »

The Australia Network email that saved the day

Posted by Vietnam Swans on March 21, 2008

Below is the emailfrom the Australia Network which described what would happen once “normal transmission” resumes…

Thank you for your recent comment about our scheduling of the 2008 AFL season. You will be pleased to know that the schedule will be revised as of 11 April, and will conform to the following basic pattern:

1. An average of four matches per weekend will be shown: one on Friday night, one on Saturday afternoon, one on Saturday night, and one on Sunday afternoon.

2. No matches will be shown on Sunday nights.

3. When there is no Super 14s match to be shown at 2100 (Hong Kong time) on Friday or Saturday, the AFL match will be shown between 2100 and 2400.

4. When a Super 14s match is shown at 2100 on Friday or Saturday, the AFL match will follow it at 2300.

5. There will be occasional exceptions to this pattern. On Saturday 12 April, for instance, the matches will be shown at 1230 and 1730, and on Anzac Day, Friday 25 April, the Collingwood vs Essendon match will be shown at 1330, and the Fremantle vs Geelong match will be shown at midnight.

The changes for the weekend 11-13 April are already on our website schedule. The changes for subsequent weekends will appear very soon.

Posted in AFL, Asian Footy | 2 Comments »

Danny Armstrong and footy in Asia

Posted by Vietnam Swans on March 21, 2008

Danny Armstrong, a Vietnam Swan, shares his email to the Australian Network which was submitted prior to the “return to normal transmission” announcement. Danny describes the special place footy has when you’re in Asia.

Dear Senior Management of Australia Network, I write to you with considerable displeasure at your ill-conceived, ill-informed decision to cut down the number of games available for viewing and reschedule the viewing times of AFL football coverage into Vietnam.I moved to Vietnam 19 months ago and was delighted to find a Vietnam team who I now play and train with regularly. Our team is made up of a mix of ex-Australian football players, rugby players and soccer players, but they are all attracted by the skill required to play the game and the games unique characteristics. It is also a terrific form of social interaction and has many spectator followers – both live and on Australia Network.As you are no doubt aware, there is also a flourishing competition of 10 Australian Football clubs with many members and supporters right across Asia, and a growing band of ‘locals’ playing and watching the game.

The game is uniquely Australian and many people in Asia are connecting with it. Many young people are also connecting with it, in part due to the ability to watch it on television.

Your decision to show games at 1am in the morning in Vietnam is extremely disappointing and will preclude many people from watching. It is almost as ill-conceived as the AFL itself who upon announcing their intention to take the game ‘truly national’ in Australia, then proceeded to show blockbuster Friday night games into Sydney at 10 and 11pm at night.

I strongly urge you to reconsider this decision. There is a groundswell of support in Asia and this decision will disenfranchise many of them and lose your network many supporters.

Posted in AFL, Asian Footy | Leave a Comment »

Footy’s on the Box!

Posted by Vietnam Swans on March 21, 2008

It’s midnight in Vietnam and footy is back on the box – one hour early. We weren’t expecting it until 1am.

And then from 11 April it will be “normal transmission”. Bring it on.

Posted in AFL, Asian Footy | Leave a Comment »

Breaking News: AFL coverage returns!

Posted by Vietnam Swans on March 20, 2008

In an email just received by Austrade, the CEO of Australia Network, Mr Bruce Dover, has confirmed that the current (crazy) TV coverage of the AFL is “only until April 11 when normal transmission resumes”. 

Austrade very kindly forwarded a copy of the email to the Swans Blog.

It’s a very good news story to kick off Easter with.

Posted in AFL, Asian Footy | 4 Comments »

AFL Coverage on Australia Netwreck

Posted by Vietnam Swans on March 19, 2008

Following a request from the Singapore Wombats to all Asian footy clubs, the Swans President sent out the following email to those on the list:

In what threatens to erupt into a major diplomatic incident between Australia and Australians in Asia (and their ever growing number of friends), the Australia Television Network has banished coverage of the AFL to TV’s wasteland hours – 1am in Vietnam!

That’s right: Friday night football and Saturday night football can now be viewed at 1am on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Around the footy grounds across Asia, everyone is speaking of similar woes. Various representatives of the Swans and the other Clubs in Asia have fired off emails to the Australia Network, DFAT and the AFL. So far, in Football’s 150th Year, all have been played with a straight bat (that’s our point; it’s not cricket!).

Today the Singapore Wombats emailed (see previous posting below) all the Asian Presidents asking us to exhort our email lists to register our displeasure with people of influence or the Australia Network directly on their website at  

If there is a good thing that is coming out of the controversy that has engulfed the Australia Network, it would be that this incident has galvanized the footy clubs across Asia to publicly speak with a louder voice – as one.

Ladies and gentlemen, this crisis could be a seminal moment in the development of Asian football. For all our sakes, let’s just hope that there aren’t too many families who have to suffer in the process.

Again, the website you need to email right now is

Posted in AFL, Asian Footy | Leave a Comment »

Singapore sings for TV change

Posted by Vietnam Swans on March 19, 2008

An email from the President of the Singapore Wombats wanting to right a television wrong:

Folks, some of you would have no doubt seen the banter circulating about the raw deal we are getting here in Asia in relation to AFL coverage in 2008 i.e. only 4 games, and with Friday and Saturday games in the most part after midnight.

The purpose of this email, however, was to request you to rally your in country players, supporters, sponsors, and other relevant members of your broader community – to provide the Australian Network with an appreciation of the displeasure such a programming decision brings to all those who enjoy watching AFL (and at a decent hour) here in Asia.

The Australian Network have requested that all feedback is provided through the “contact us” system located on their website

Weight of numbers can make a difference, one minute of your and your troops time prior to Easter to provide feedback could mean many enjoyable hours in front of the TV on the couch !
I have sent an email to all our guys in Singapore to voice their feelings via the website and the reaction and desire to right this wrong has been tremendously positive.

Best Regards

Adam Grant
President (and avid TV/Couch Potato)
Singapore Wombats Football Club

Posted in AFL, Asian Footy | Leave a Comment »


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