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Archive for April, 2009

The ANZAC Day Match Report

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 30, 2009

Damo tells it the way it happened

Regular columnist, Damo, reviews last weekend’s ANZAC Day match in Kanchanaburi, Thailand, against the Thailand Tigers.

ANZAC Day 2009 marked a very special week for the Vietnam Swans and “Asian Footy”. The Swans made the trek to Kanchanaburi, Thailand for an experience described by the National Prez as a “rocking chair memory” (the one you will remember when you’re 80 years old, sitting on the verandah in your rocking chair as you reflect upon your life).

The Day began with most of the touring party of 34 making the 3.30am bus – but a little bleary eyed after a midnight arrival. However, we were very primed for the day’s events. The usual gaggle was made much more respectable by the women: Cath, Lek, Kels, Kerri, Linda and Fleur who were willing to “put up” with a footy weekend.

First up was the Dawn Service at the Hellfire Pass Memorial on the Death Burma Railway – such a tranquil place if not for the memory of the horror experienced there. For those who didn’t know the full story, the place and history was made real thanks to the personal presentation on the bus by Patrick Stringer (part of our touring party) whose father was an ex POW.

Bill Haskell OAM, with raw passion, delivers a powerful speech with polish.

After the traditional Gunfire Breakfast (Anzac biscuit and a shot of Bundaberg rum), we returned to our hotel for a quick and hearty meal. We then attended a second service at the War Cemetery with wreaths being laid by the Thailand Tigers, the Vietnam Swans and representatives of the other four clubs that have played Thailand on ANZAC Day. Perhaps the most powerful moment was when ex POW Bill Haskell OAM delivered his speech.

Truly memorable events

At the ground the crowd numbered a few hundred with special VIP guests including 3 ex POWs, a few Diggers and some home town fans on an ANZAC tour. The atmosphere oozed comraderie thanks to the special events of the day and the mighty organizational efforts of the Tiges.

Having being beaten in our last encounter, the Tigers were well prepared on their home turf and weren’t planning on giving us any breaks. Their troupe even included personnel to keep stats on individual players. Unheard of – but I like it! The Swans might consider applicants for this position providing they are willing to accept donations from Potsy and others to add some creative and entertaining flavor to their stats.

The Swannies team

Our defenses were under the hammer right from the first horn. The defensive line, led by Big Dave at centre half back, with some great marking prowess, made it difficult for them. However, on too many occasions, our guys just had to watch the ball fly overhead and through the goals thanks to some thumping kicks by Huey from way down centre field that would challenge a cruise missile for distance and accuracy.

When the Tigers charged through on the run, our last line of defense was first-time Swan, Youngie. Youngie wins the award for “Dirtiest on Ground” without any other challengers coming close. The author could not quite see if he “dirtied up” by diving after the Tigers’ shadows or by cooling off in a mud puddle after overheating chasing their lightning fast and capable full forward.

Other awards this week include the “self pity” award with dual nominees, Matt & Nick, who both had encounters with the infamous Yoda. Nick for getting cruelly tackled by such a little man and Matt for being clean slower than someone twice his age and never actually seeing Yoda’s face. Don’t feel too bad guys, Yoda did have the force on his side. And, prior to this article, nobody really noticed as you both had plenty of ball all over the field.

Age has wearied the Swannies' retirees, Gus and Muzza

Please note, Gus has missed nominations for this award for the first time after putting in a solid farewell game. Farewell also to Muzza who finished with so much heart it put him on a stretcher with his knee joint bent at an unnatural angle. Nothing taken from Muzza’s sacrifice for the team… but rumor has it that his injury was an attempt to slow him down instigated by Willie. Willie, who has forever had a crush on him, just could never catch him.

Also of note were the performances of Paul K and Mickey J who both have years on Yoda. They managed to run around in the sweltering conditions of Asian footy, described by ex POW Snow as being “unbelievable” and keep up with the young fellas – and still not die.

In the centre the skill was there but not quite the pace with Mango and his team mates leaving us a step behind on a few too many occasions. Our on-ballers still provided plenty of hard-crunching contests for the crowd right in front of the stand. Damo (who knows better than to write about himself but is tired of his team mates, Monkey and Willie constantly headlining) has proof that despite being outrun, he was never out of the race with impact bruising on his tackling shoulder and both arms. There were even official complaints by the Tigers’ centres that evening of being attacked by an unsavory herd of angry rhinos. A few less pizzas and a few more yards on the training paddock might have made the difference and is needed by some before next game (Shags will let everybody know who they are).

Up forward the guys showed heart but I think the grass was growing faster than the numbers on our side of the scoreboard. To be fair they didn’t have a lot to work with. We did miss the towering might and scrapping ability of our unnamed regulars who know who they are and didn’t make the trip. But, they have promised to make up for their absence in the upcoming clashes against Jakarta.

Swans coach and BOG, Drew, awards the Thailand BOG gong to Huey

In the end the Tigers scripted the score and there was nothing we could do to change it. It was a walloping.

Nonetheless Coach Drew was proud of us and made us feel that the scoreline does not tell the real story.

Drew’s dad has to be proud of him for finally dislodging the iron grip Monkey seemed to have on the BOG honours.

Thanks again to our National Sponsors: Linfox, Loscam, Jim Beam, Pest Free,, White Mint, Odyssey Resources, Crown Relocations, SOS International and La Vie Water. Their year-long support goes a long way to ensuring that we can continue to put together unforgettable events.

Thank you to the Thailand Tigers for organizing such an incredible weekend.

Posted in BOG, Farewell, Scoreboard | 3 Comments »

ANZAC photos on Swans Web Album

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 28, 2009

ANZAC Day, Kanchanaburi, 2009

The first instalment of photos of the ANZAC Day Memorial Service at the War Cemetery and the football match in the afternoon are now available at the Vietnam Swans online . Photos of the Dawn Service and additional photos of the match are still to come.

Pictured above are Swans, Mark Williams (Willy) and Phil Johns (Fabbo) at the War Cemetery preparing to lay a wreath during the official service; the three ex POWs who attended the footy match – Bill Haskell OAM, Neil MacPherson OAM and Milton “Snowy” Fairclough; and Coach Drew about to award the BOG prize to the Thailand Tiger’s, Hewey.

Posted in BOG | 1 Comment »

The Saigon Prez’s wash up and giddy up!

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 28, 2009

Saigon Prez, Derrin, says "Well done!" - but now, let's focus on Jakarta

Regarding the ANZAC Weekend, thanks also goes to you too, Fabbo, for your usual sterling all-round efforts. Also congrats on taking out the best speech award (expected).

Let’s wish Muzza and Danny a speedy recovery with their gammy knees.

It was great to see how everyone who travelled represented the Club so well and I am sure that the Tigers would not hesitate in inviting us back again. I know that I would jump at the chance to go back for the ANZAC Day weekend again and it is important that we make sure that current and future Swannies are given the same opportunities.

I spoke to several of the Tigers on Saturday night and they told me that it was the best ANZAC weekend they have had in years. I am sure that the score line and the alcohol had nothing to do with this sentiment.

Now it is time to turn our attention to the Jakarta Bintangs starting with the game in Saigon on the 16th May which will be followed up a week later with a rematch in Hanoi…

Keep up the good work, Swannies!

Derrin Limbrick
Saigon President
Vietnam Swans

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

National Prez thanks troops on ANZAC trip

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 27, 2009

National Prez, Fabbo, thanks the troops who were part of the ANZAC Day weekend

Hi Fellow Anzac-ers

Thanks to each of you for coming to Kanchanaburi this weekend to play in the ANZAC Day Match.

The Dawn Service, the Memorial Service at the cemetery and the match was an amazingly special package – and we wouldn’t have been able to have experienced it if we didn’t have the numbers from both Hanoi and Saigon to form the team that we did.

Special thanks to Patrick Stringer for sharing his knowledge and personal insights about the Death Railway on the bus en route to the Dawn Service. Also for speaking to us prior to the game. It was a great privilege for the rest of us.

Micky J for all his work organizing personal details for insurance etc prior to the match; Danny Armstrong for doing the banking; Daniel Tran for coming up with an awesome match day banner; Potsy and Willy for getting good numbers from Hanoi; Paul for flying in from the Philippines; Derrin & Fleur for rounding up Brown’s Cows each time the bus was due to depart; Flyer Kainey for still being an active part of the Swannies; Bill for leaving his camera behind in a safe place where it wouldn’t be stolen; Drew for his outstanding coaching on the day and his BOG; Monkey for dominating again; Cath, Lek, Kels, Kerri, Linda and Jeremy for being part of this memorable trip; Willy for being one of the guys to lay the wreath at the cemetery; Nick for demolishing anybody who dared take any of the Club kit before it had been recorded against their name etc.

If you could earn medals for sustaining injuries in an ANZAC Day match, then we would owe Muzza and Danny Armstrong one each. (Good news is that Muzza’s knee seems OK and Danny will get his checked this afternoon.)

Congratulations and farewell to Gus and Muzza.

Congratulations to Scotty Stacey for knocking off Paul Roos as the man with the naming rights for the Cup that now sits in Bangers.

Bad luck to Toby, Evan, Mic Francis and Greg Armstrong for having to withdraw from the trip.

And everyone else who I haven’t specifically mentioned.

Everyone was part of this trip. And everyone played their part in making it the trip that we won’t forget for all the right reasons.

It was an amazing weekend and great privilege to have been part of.

“Fabbo” Phil Johns
National President

P.S. Photos still to come (Bill left his camera in Thailand…) as well as more reports.

Posted in BOG, Farewell | 1 Comment »

“Amazing” ANZAC Weekend in Thailand

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 26, 2009

Jeremy, the part time Swan, at Hellfire Pass after the ANZAC Day Dawn Service

The Vietnam Swans trip to Thailand to play in the 2009 ANZAC Day match against the Thailand Tigers was amazing.

On the footy field, the Tigers were younger, faster, fitter and, although we played with plenty of heart, we were beaten 91 to 13 points.

Off the footy field, we attended the Dawn Service at Hellfire Pass. Then it was off to the Allied War Cemetery for a memorial and wreath laying service.

The Vietnam Swans were also given the honour of laying our own wreath during the official service. This magnificent opportunity was made possible thanks to the Thailand Tigers who organise for a wreath to be laid on behalf of each of the clubs that have played them on ANZAC Day (this is the 5th year of their ANZAC Match. The other four teams to have played Thailand are the Malaysian Warriors, Hong Kong Dragons, Bali Geckos and Jakarta Bintangs).

The actual match was played in front of a crowd of between 300 and 400 people – including 3 ex POWs.

Thank you to the Thailand Tigers for a magnificently organised weekend. Combined with the ANZAC Day services, this is the ANZAC Day that none of us will ever forget.

Detailed reports and photos still to come.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

ANZAC Day, Hellfire Pass – Tigers Vs Swans

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 23, 2009

The ANZAC Day match banner

Dear Swans and Supporters

During WWII, approximately 120,000 people died during the construction of the Burma Death Railway. That’s one person laid to rest for each railway sleeper laid.

On Saturday, 25 April at 5.30am, the Vietnam Swans will attend the ANZAC Day Dawn Service at Hellfire Pass, near Kanchanaburi, Thailand. It will be followed up with the traditional Gunfire Breakfast at the Hellfire Pass Museum. At 11am, we will attend the Memorial Service and Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Allied War Cemetery in Kanchanaburi.

At 2pm, there will be pre game announcements, introductions and national anthems. The match against our magnificent hosts, the Thailand Tigers, will commence at 2.30pm. After the match, dinner will be served aboard a raft on the River Kwai.

On this weekend, we will be playing for the Scott Stacey / Garry Burke Cup and we will be saying farewell to two of our own club champions, Captain Gus and Muzza Murrell. Former Swans President, Dave Kainey, will fly in for the occasion.

The footy club, in our short history of 6 years, has had many memorable events – but I feel none more so than this coming weekend. The 2009 ANZAC Day Dawn Service at Hellfire Pass, together with the footy match, will be the one each of us vividly remembers in 2049.

A special weekend is coming.

Thank you to Daniel Tran for designing the match day poster. Check for the scores. News and photos will follow soon after. Good luck also for the other ANZAC Day tournaments being held in Indonesia and Malaysia.


Phil Johns
National President
Vietnam Swans

Posted in Farewell | Leave a Comment »

ANZAC Day & footy

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 21, 2009

The ANZAC Day match between Collingwood and Essendon was the brainchild of Kevin Sheedy. With each year’s passing, the association between ANZAC Day and the Collingwood-Essendon match grows even stronger.

ANZAC Day and footy in the Asian region seem to be following the same path. Below  are the details of four events this weekend:

2009 Hellfire Pass ANZAC Day Match, Thailand

  • Thailand Tigers Vs Vietnam Swans, Kanchanaburi

Malaysia Tri Nations – ANZAC Day Festival of Footy

  • Malaysian Warriors Vs Singapore Wombats Vs Australian Army, Kuala Lumpur

2009 ANZAC Day Cup, Indonesia

  • Borneo Bears Vs Jakarta Bintangs Vs Jakarta Bulldogs, Balikpapan, Kalimantan

Round 1, Japan Football League

  • Nagoya Redbacks Vs Tokyo Goannas, Nagoya

For more information, check out

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

ANZAC Day Match Banner unveiled

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 20, 2009

The ANZAC Day Match Banner

ANZAC Day, 25 April 2009. The Thailand Tigers will play the Vietnam Swans in Kanchanaburi, Thailand – after attending the Dawn Service at Hellfire Pass.

We will play for the Garry Burke / Scott Stacey Cup.

The Vietnam Swans will also farewell Captain Gus McEwin who was there at the start back in 2003 (“The Gus stops here”). We will also farewell Muzza, the Tipstar; Muzza the Calf who “Hates being the hero”.

Posted in Farewell | Leave a Comment »

What’s in a Club name? The Rooster explains

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 20, 2009

Rooster, the face of Asian football

The Grandfather of Asian football, the Rooster, is back on the pulpit. Following the success of last year’s Indochina Cup in Phnom Penh, some of the guys in Cambodia have been talking about the prospect of a permanent team and resurrecting their previous “Crocodiles” tag.

Rooster points out, however, that East Timor is now known as the “Crocodiles”. He also gives us an interesting insight into how many other teams in the region and Europe have ended up with their names…

Below is an edited extract from his email to the Cambodian hierarchy.

The old adage, “build it and they will come” is very true of international footy… So, if a permanent Cambodian team is formed – and games are staged, then players shall crawl out of the woodwork.

Re the team name… Do you have your heart set on being the Crocs??? The East Timor side is now the Crocs and will be looking to debut in the Asian Champs this year…

Same thing happened to the Malaysian Tigers (the original tigers) when the Thailand Tigers later chose the same jumper & name (they didn’t know each other existed). Unfortunately for Malaysia, they hit a big bump with the Asian Currency Crisis and went through a reformation to turn up a year or so later as the Malaysian Warriors.

I know how it feels… I started footy in China (the China Blues)… and in North-Western Germany (the Dusseldorf Lions)… and in Finland (the Finland Lions)… and they have all changed their names… Now they are the China Reds, the Rheinland Lions (although they did consider being the Rheinland Roosters in honour of their founding father) and the Finland Ice Breakers… But, I guess you learn to let go…

The Singapore Lions only became the Wombats after the national soccer team was jealous about the modelling contracts being offered to players after their highly publicized debut (I kid you not – it was a much younger side back then) and threatened legal action.

The Vietnam Swans also have some interesting stories from the history of their name change (there had been one view that suggested home games in Saigon should be played as the “Saigon Saints”. Matches played abroad should be played as the “Vietnam Swans” and matches in Hanoi could be played as either the “Vietnam Swans” or “Hanoi Swans”).

Anyway, up to you guys what you want to do but the facts on the ground are:

  • the Timor-Leste Crocodiles already exist and have already toured. They are developing a domestic league (so they aren’t likely to go AWOL for a while) and are planning to be at the Asian Champs this year.
  • there are currently no Kangaroos in Asia (the Korea Kimchi Kangaroos never got off the ground) except for the Cambodian team from last year’s IndoChina Cup

Rooster - Doyen or Dinosaur? You decide!

So, anyway, the bottom line is that I am definitely looking forward to a couple of hitouts… both for and against the mighty Cambodian (insert animal name here)s.

It’s a lucky thing that the Asian Champs are in KL this year (September 5th)… I think with the momentum built up over a few home games during 2009 – you could quite possibly be at touring strength come September.

After seeing the effect that the Asian Financial Crisis had on footy in Asia & the disjointed approach around the place – I put the wheels in motion for the establishment of the Asian Champs with the idea that it would co-ordinate each country’s efforts and also provide “the one tour to do if you can only do one tour” to help struggling countries maintain activity levels and keep their heads above water. As Vietnam & Laos will vouch, focus on this event has certainly helped to sustain their efforts which has led to further growth and development.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

The Little Guy climbs even higher

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 17, 2009

Stacey reaches new heights as the Thailand Cup is renamed in honour of him.

The Vietnam Swans have decided to honour the Little Guy, Scott Stacey, by renaming the Thailand – Vietnam Cup that we play for as the “Scott Stacey / Gary Burke Cup”.

Gary Burke is a favourite son of Thailand’s. Previously, the Swans had honoured Paul Roos of the Sydney Swans as Roosy had just won the AFL flag two months prior to our match against Thailand in November 2005.

Paul Roos is, of course, a champion. However, the Vietnam Swans believed that it was now appropriate to further develop our own identity by publicly acknowledging those in our Club who have made a material difference to our development.

Below is a copy of the email that the National President, Phil Johns, sent to Scotty Stacey – who now lives in Coffs Harbour with his wife, two children and three gold fish – informing him of the news.

Hi Mr Scott

The Vietnam Swans’ Committees in Hanoi and Saigon have decided that it is not appropriate to continue with the Paul Roos / Gary Burke Cup in our matches against Thailand.

Accordingly, it is my great pleasure to inform you that we have advised the President of the Thailand Tigers to rename the Cup as the “Scott Stacey / Gary Burke Cup”.

Stacey, a one-eyed supporter of the Vietnam Swannies

To be able to find some AFL goal posts in one city in Vietnam may be nothing more than a fluke. However, to find AFL goal posts in a second city in Vietnam is a sign of a miracle and a genius and needs to be recognized. Add to that that you played in the first Swans match in 2003, you played major roles in forging a national team and getting us to the Champs, you set up an organisational structure to ensure that the Swans became a sustainable entity etc, well, it was an obvious decision.

So, the first time we play for the Scott Stacey Cup shall be in Kanchanaburi, Thailand on Anzac Day 2009.

It will be a great day and weekend, Scott – and an honour to play for the Scott Stacey Cup on such a significant day.

Scotty, sometimes a man with with even fewer words than centimetres, replied with:

Many thanks everyone. It’s an unexpected, undeserved but highly appreciated honour.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Hanoi’s Season Opener and fundraiser

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 17, 2009

Micky Francis, Willy and the Jim Beam Swanettes

Last Saturday night, 11 April, Hanoi kicked off the 2009 Season with a Club Fundraiser at the Studio with Jim Beam. Hanoi President, Potsy, reports:

A great night was had by all and sundry at the Studio Bar. It started early with the boys rolling in from training after a huge storm and a dismal turn up. Dan K, Big Toby, Chris and young Jamie joined the non-trainers Mick f, Hendo and Potsy.

The lovely Jim Beam girls Ms. Trang and Ms. Tam were here to help us with our endeavors to utilize the promotional items supplied to us from our fantastic sponsor.

Willy (Hanoi Supercoach) made his trade mark grand entrance and the night was afoot.

Willy, Micky Francis and the Flower Lady

What started out quietly ended up pretty loud (ya hearin’ me?). Mick F, Hendo and Willy decided to have a competition to see how many people could be dragged off the street to support the Swannies’ Fundraiser. At one stage we had a street vender selling flowers and a cyclo driver (whose cyclo was seconded by the Supercoach and one of Potsy’s security guards to go for a cruise around the old quarter) who enjoyed a few orange whips with the faithful Swans contingent.

Hendo and Mr. Richie took Potsy and one of the Swanettes (Jim Beam Girl – Miss Tam) around to the Hanoi backpackers for a recruitment drive. (Editor’s note: stupid, stupid stupid. Peak hour with a Jim Beam girl on the back of your bike – way too many close shaves / near misses with the fascinated local bike riders).

15 minutes later and a large contingent (50 or more) of backpackers, The Studio erupted. By 3 am it was time to go and get a Panini from the Cheeky Quarter.

A few of the diehards where still looking for a beverage. A special mention should go to young Jamie who stuck with the old brigade all night (or was it that he was very keen on the beautiful Miss Thuy? Editor’s note: stupid, stupid, stupid – don’t leave ya misses with an up and coming Swanny!). Well done to Dan Kindness and Toby Garafillias who got through the night unharmed – but I’m not sure how unharmed they were the following day with H and Simone dealing out there punishments.

Again, a special thank you to our sponsors, Jim Beam, Culi Café, JVK Removals, Wide Eyed tours, Segafredo Espresso, Asahi Beer, The Studio Bar and the Hanoi Backpackers for there contribution for the successful evening.

It was a great night and in the process, VND3.34million was raised for the Club’s coffers!

To see more photos, check out Potsy’s :

Posted in Fundraiser, supercoach | Leave a Comment »

RMIT says, “Vietnam footy kicks bushfire goal”

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 16, 2009

Vietnam footy kicks bushfire goal

Yesterday, RMIT University’s website in Australia posted a story about the recent Bushfire match between the Vietnam Swans and the Bali Geckos.

The story is titled, .

It says that, a game of Australian Rules football hosted by RMIT Vietnam has helped raise thousands for bushfire-stricken communities.

If you would like to read the full story, please click .

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »


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