Vietnam Swans

Australian Rules Football In Vietnam!

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Archive for January, 2009

Farewell Matty Johns

Posted by Vietnam Swans on January 28, 2009

Matty in the 2008 Domestic Derby; with Rebecca; the Hawk, Junior; and the Bobby Brewer shorts

Matty in the 2008 Domestic Derby; with Rebecca; the Hawk, Junior; and the Bobby Brewer shorts

Long ridiculed for being the Vietnam Swans Farewell Club, we’ve been at it again. Swans National President, Phil Johns farewells Matt Johns.

Last weekend we said goodbye to Matty “just one more” Johns, his partner Rebecca and their son, Junior. Junior has had a magnificent start to life. Only a couple of months old, the young Hawthorn supporter went to the Vietnam Swans  inaugural AFL Grand Final Party in Saigon last year – and watched the Hawks pull off a stunning victory against the Cats!

Johnsy has been a champion around the Club. A gun in defence and always in attack off the field with his catch cry, “Let’s just have one more before we leave”.

As well as having a baby, Matt and Rebecca opened up the Bobby Brewers coffee shop in District 3. Bobby Brewers promptly became the Official Sponsor of the Vietnam Swans’ team shorts. This type of support has been a key building block in the development of our Club.

While Rebecca and Matt have chalked up less than two years in Vietnam, their contribution makes it feel like they have been here for many years more than that. They have both been tremendous assets for the Club.

Accordingly, without exception, everyone at the Vietnam Swans wishes Matt and Rebecca well back in Adelaide. No doubt, the City of Adelaide will appreciate them returning but, more importantly, the Hawks will appreciate having a few decent supporters in the midst of the Adelaide nongs…

On behalf of the Vietnam Swans, thank you again Johnsy, Rebecca and Junior for your personal support – and for enlisting the support of Bobby Brewers. Covering the Swannies’ “budgie smugglers” with the Bobby Brewers shorts was a real crowd pleaser.

Posted in Farewell | 2 Comments »

World Footy News stories

Posted by Vietnam Swans on January 24, 2009

Ah Miss Australia, you've done it again!

Ah Miss Australia, you've done it again!

, as always, has come up with a string of interesting and relevant stories.

Graeme Carey has posted in which he encourages people to do just that! Whenever there is a major international televised event, everyone should be wearing their club colours.

I look forward to the day when watching an ODI from the ‘G’, I can say, ‘Oh look, there is a guy in a Lao Elephants jumper’ or equivalent, says Graeme.

This season, the Vietnam Swans had three representatives at the MCG during the Boxing Day Test match wearing the Club’s colours in the form of caps and shirts – but not jumpers. Anyway, what is particularly exciting about Graeme’s post is that the photo of Miss Australia, wearing our jumper, made a very welcome return!

Another interesting post is that . A TV crew from Channel 10 and the Herald Sun’s Mike Sheahan will tour with them.

looks at some of the activities that Aussie Rules clubs around the world are doing to celebrate our National Day. From our region, the forever on-the-ball Jakarta Bintangs have a full and impressive program organised for the day. Perhaps the Vietnam Swans need to look at doing something similar in 2010.

For your footy fix on all things happening internationally, be sure to regularly check out

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Hanoi Meeting Tonight

Posted by Vietnam Swans on January 22, 2009

Expect Willy to have more to say at tonight's Club meeting in Hanoi

Expect Willy to have more to say at tonight's Club meeting in Hanoi

Willy, from the Vietnam Swans in Hanoi has called a meeting of the Club tonight. Get to The Studio at 7pm. Below is his original email.

g’day me fellow northerner swannies,

yep that time of the year boys where ya have to yank out some extra dosh for ya maid, ya x ‘om, massage on the old hammie and possibly ya bia. well not tonight boys.. hey, what’s willy on about i hear you say.

well, boys it’s simple. head to studio ’bout 7-ish. potsy and his lovely bar staff will greet you and then give ya a bia cause the swannies felt it was time we gave ya something for ya hard earned efforts. ya know, training hard, work outs by yaself, examin’ previous swannies game footage on youtube look’n for areas of weakness and areas to improve.. you know the drill boys.

meet’n about 7.30ish. talk bout various things, but games are coming up very soon. we need to make a few changes for 2009 and one of the big ones is bein’ more prepared psychologically, physically and appear’n nice, neat and tidy in tourin’ tops.

if ya wonder’n where studio is, try:

Studio Bar & Lounge, 32 Ma May, Ha Noi

love ya’ work boys and see you there.


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The Prez farewells the Little Guy

Posted by Vietnam Swans on January 19, 2009

While Scotty Stacey contemplates his return to Australia, the nurse performs cosmetic surgery

While Scotty Stacey contemplates his return to Australia, a nurse performs cosmetic surgery

The National President of the Vietnam Swans, Phil Johns, says a few words following Scotty Stacey’s departure from Vietnam last week. Scott was the coach of the Vietnam Swans as well as the Saigon President.

He was pacey. He was savvy. He was Scotty Stacey.

Scott and his family left Vietnam to return to Australia last week on Thursday 15 January. Barely, 24 hours later, a distressed  Captain Gus could take no more and declared,

Scotty mate, we miss you already.  HCMC feels empty.  You have left a huge pair of thongs to fill and I am sure we won’t realise just how big until football season fails to start.

In 2003, when footy was reborn in Vietnam, Scotty was there playing for the Swans against Thailand and Hong Kong. Back then, the diminutive fella’s war cry to his team mates was, Just give it to the Little Guy. By the time of the Indochina Cup in November of last year, the number of his original team mates had dwindled to “just Gus”  (others still in Vietnam from 2003 who weren’t able to play at the Indochina Cup are Willy, Potsy, Micky Francis and Travis Fennell).

Between the bookends of these two matches, the Little Guy has always had a big presence. When he wasn’t kicking goals on the field, he was making them. That’s right. Scotty made the Club’s AFL goal posts in both Hanoi and Saigon (the latter being sponsored by Pest Free).

The Little Guy played a major role in getting footy up again in Saigon – and stitching together a Vietnam Swans team that has proven to be a genuinely national team in both name and feel. With Scott travelling regularly between Hanoi and Saigon with work, he was able to facilitate communication and trust between the players in both cities so that when we met on match days, it already felt like we were part of the same national team.

Scotty at the Indochina Cup, Phnom Penh, Nov. 2008

Scotty at the Indochina Cup, Phnom Penh, Nov. 2008

Following the establishment of the national team, we debuted at our first ever Asian Champs in 2007 – a very significant milestone. The following year, we returned to the Asian Champs, played three other tournaments abroad (including the Indochina Cup), played three at home as well as a local derby. And we also organised our first ever  AFL Grand Final Party in Saigon.

The Little Guy has a big knack for getting things done on multiple fronts – and refusing to be dictated to. By way of example, one night after a footy meeting at Cafe Latin, we climb into his car parked out on the street. As usual, Scott’s on the phone, he’s changing gears while vigorously turning the steering wheel trying to get his car out. A parking attendant comes over and taps on the window. Scott winds down the window to tell him to “Bugger off”. As he winds the window back up, resumes his work with the steering wheel and starts to drive off, he exclaims indignantly to me, “How can he charge me for a parking fee? I wasn’t legally parked!” – before returning to his phone call.

So, in terms of footy, he naturally became our “go-to” man for organising things. As well as being our Super Savvy Coach, he also organised t shirts, caps, footy committees, roles and responsibilities on tour etc – with ridiculous deadlines.

Some people make it happen, some people watch it happen and others ask, “What happened?”.  As Gus says, the Little Guy has left a huge pair of thongs for the Vietnam Swans to fill.

The Vietnam Swans, past and present, thank Scott for all that he has done for the Club and wish him well back in Australia with his family.

To read Scott’s own farewell post on this Blog, click on Scott Stacey says farewell. It’s a great reminder of how important footy can be in Asia and more specifically, how important the Vietnam Swans Club is for many of us who are living in Vietnam.

Got something you would like to say? Leave a comment below.

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Scott Stacey says farewell

Posted by Vietnam Swans on January 16, 2009

Scott Stacey says farewell to Vietnam

Scott Stacey says farewell to Vietnam

Yesterday, Coach and Saigon President of the Vietnam Swans, Scott Stacey, left Vietnam for the last time as a resident.

Below, Stacey reflects – and says farewell to his mighty Vietnam Swans.

This week I leave Vietnam after 8 ½ years of living the expat (dream / nightmare) life under the little yellow star and I guess I have survived with everything largely intact so, for that alone, I owe a huge bucket of gratitude to the friends that have helped me and my family achieve that wondrous feat.

But first, a reflection on my life with the Swans.

We arrived in Hanoi in mid-2000 when times were still rough but the expat of the times lived a pretend semi-colonial life where cocktail parties were followed by theme parties every weekend. The largest decision was whether to make your driver work on Saturday night or your cyclo rider.

Being a loyal Crows supporter, I certainly knew how to sip a champagne or two. But, equally, I knew something was missing – some feral element I knew life needed to cope with the surreal life Hanoi was throwing me.

That element came to my head one day, a couple of months into my tour, in the form of a dirty old VB tank top and a Port Power scarf. Yes, Bubbles aka Wayne Tinlin could never be accused of losing his feral, docker origins and the leather was suddenly back in my life.

Micky F, Pumper, Potsy and the boys all started to come together when Aus-TV started broadcasting games. The Panel in the top room of Pepperonis (Hanoi) was soon formed (later to be renamed as the Bobby Skilton Room) and the origins of the Swans had begun. My life had counter balance again.

Over the years the Swans have formed, played their first matches, had their first tour, eventually won their first game and moved national.

My role in all of that has been all but insignificant but what the growth of the Club has done for me has been enormous. The pleasure of having a kick and pretending to stay fit, the after practice beers at the local, the games in the awesome Swannies jumper and the pure camaraderie that comes with the footy club has been a godsend to me. It has made life a pleasure in a place where frustration levels can smother you.

The Asian Champs in Bangkok in 2007 and in Singapore in 2008 were huge highlights of my life in Asia. The last tour we made in November 2008 (the Indochina Cup between Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and Lao) by bus to Cambodia was simply the pinnacle. I just don’t think there will ever be better tours than that for me again. I would be shocked if they were beaten.

The Swans have a reputation in Asia as being great hosts, great guys and best off-field performers. I whole heartedly concur.

To everyone associated with the Mighty Swans I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I wish everyone a great future, many games, no injuries and plenty of wins in the Swans jumper.

Anyone coming through Coffs Harbour (NSW) always has a cold beer waiting and I will do my best to keep in touch with you all.

Carn the Swannies!

Posted in Farewell | 1 Comment »

Australian Youth Ambassadors

Posted by Vietnam Swans on January 13, 2009

Australian Youth Ambassadors

Over the next two weeks, information sessions are being held around Australia for the .

The program, sponsored by AusAid, enables young, skilled Australians to work with Host Organisations and Australian Partners throughout the Asia Pacific region “to achieve sustainable development through capacity building, skills exchange and institutional strengthening”.

These AYADs do a great job in-country. Some of the AYADs in Vietnam have even found the Swannies and become key building blocks in the development of our Club. High profile AYAD recruits have included Symmo and Ed Smith (please post a comment below with the names of other AYADs who have been involved with the Club!).

If you’re interested in becoming an AYAD, check out the and attend one of their information sessions. Hopefully, you will also become involved with the Vietnam Swans or one of the other footy teams in Asia.

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Reflecting on Japan’s 20 years of footy

Posted by Vietnam Swans on January 12, 2009

21 years of footy in Japan

21 years of footy in Japan

The excellent website, , has highlighted a story run in The Australian newspaper on 7 January 2009, .

Twenty one years ago, Essendon and Hawthorn played an exhibition match in Japan. For the curtain raiser, Peter Wilson, a journalist with the then Sun News Pictorial, was asked to form and coach a Japanese team. The players would come from Japan’s two most famous universities, Keio and Waseda. Alas, none of them had ever played before.

The VFL turned down Peter’s requests for some support in training these new recruits. The VFL’s priority was the television rights for the main game. Even though the players came from Japan’s two most prestigious universities, the Australian Embassy could not see any potential trade benefits.

Nevertheless, the players and coach soldiered on. Eventually their big day came at Yokohama Stadium in front of a crowd of 15,000. Apparently, Allan Jeans and Kevin Sheedy were pleasantly surprised with the skill level.

Peter expected that that would be the end of the footy experiment – but not the players. They wanted to kick on and kick on they have. QBE Insurance – which has also supported the Vietnam Swans – and the Fitzroy Football Club offered some support to help it grow.

Peter points out that in addition to the on-field successes, off-field benefits have included friendships, access into Japanese society and commercial trade with Australia.

Teams are now spread out across Japan and two Japanese players now play semi-professionally in Australia.

Each year, the Japanese version of the Brownlow is held at a “swish hotel with black ties and elegant dresses”. Last year, the eighth annual Peter Wilson Medal was awarded.

Click on to read the full story about this great story.

Coincidentally, in Hanoi, the Vietnam Swans duo of Willy and Potsy are running an Auskick program. One of the participants is Japanese – and he has some genuinely amazingly silky footy skills!

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Vietnam Swans on Youtube

Posted by Vietnam Swans on January 10, 2009

Willy or won’t he? He already has.

Yes, club stalwart, Mark “Willy” Williams has put together “A film by Willy Hanoi 2008″ which he released yesterday… 9 January 2009!

The 10 minute film contains never-seen-before footage of the classic match between the Vietnam Swans and Singapore Wombats on 31 May last year in Hanoi. It was a match that Micky “Frank” Francis starred booting plenty but, alas, it was the Wombats who took the points on the day.

The match was also Jarrod “JD” Dale’s last match with the Swannies before leaving Vietnam. JD had played a major role in the rebirth of footy in Vietnam – initially as Captain (prior to our current Captain, Gus) and then Coach.

The film, Willy’s best yet according to some critics, is controversial and will generate debate.

To view the film, click on the Youtube video above.

To see the Vietnam Swans other entry on Youtube, click on .

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Vietnam Swans 4th Annual Golf Classic

Posted by Vietnam Swans on January 3, 2009

Swans Golf Day 2008. L to R - Ryan Jeffery, Phil Johns, Peiter Bossink, Daniel Hogarth & Daryl Taber

Swans Golf Day 2008. L to R - Ryan Jeffery, Phil Johns, Peiter Bossink, Daniel Hogarth & Daryl Taber

The big guns from the Vietnam Swans came out for the 4th Annual Golf Classic at Royal Ivanhoe Golf Links, Melbourne on 29 December 2008.

Ryan, player in the Swannies 2003 team against Thailand and Hong Kong in Hanoi,  is the only player to have played in each of the Swans 4 golf tournaments – and was the reigning Champ. Would the quiet, unassuming, unflappable Ryan be good enough to retain the coveted green jacket in 2008.

Daniel added up the scorecards and declared that Ryan had equalled his own score of  103. Ryan coughed and spluttered before suggesting that the PE teacher from Wangaratta should do a recount.

The revised figures were: Ryan and Daniel – 93; Taber – 104; Phil – 107; and Pete – 115.

So, Ryan wins again but this time has to share the green jacket with Daniel. Daniel’s winning streak just continues after his Wangaratta footy team won a Grand Final earlier in the year.

Shot of the day went to Taber. Off the tee, around the golf buggy after ricocheting off a garden bed sleeper before slamming into a tree on the other side of the fairway and then bouncing innocently back into the centre of the fairway for a perfect lie. The trees seem to look after Taber now that he has joined Jim’s Mowing.

Both Pete and Phil had a few Taber-like shots but without the support of the trees and finished up the back of the field.

Truth be known, there was no intense rivalry out there on the golf course. In fact, the golf course was awash with love when it was revealed that two of the players are no longer players! Yes, that is correct! Two weddings are coming – but you will need to guess who.

Back to the golf – congratulations to Ryan and Daniel for winning the day. Thanks to Ryan for organising another great day and a sensational BBQ.

Bad luck to Greg Armstrong who was a last minute cancellation.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

Vietnam Swans hat seen on oil rig

Posted by Vietnam Swans on January 1, 2009

Big Joe, oranges shirt, orange ship, Swans hat

Big Joe, orange shirt, orange ship, Swans hat

Big Joe, wearing his orange shirt, has his photo taken near an orange ship next to an oil rig off Balikpapan, Indonesia.

What makes this photo particularly interesting is that if you look closely, you might notice that we can’t see Little Lek – but we can see that Big Joe is wearing his Vietnam Swans hat.

Big Joe’s orange shirt and orange ship are giving the red, white and black Vietnam Swans a very bright start to 2009.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »


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