Vietnam Swan, David Hadley, talks about what it was like to have the Ex Essendon Bomber, Tim O’Shannassy visit the Swans in Saigon and take training for a session a fortnight ago:
There is always something you are assured of when playing for the Vietnam Swans. There is always something very special around the corner.
When I reflect on my first season with the Swans after the IndoChina Cup at the end of November 2009, my memories will be awash with such plentiful memories.
There was the blockbuster moments such as playing on Anzac Day in Thailand in front of Aussie Diggers after a moving Dawn Service. Then there were the games that raised money for charities and disasters both in Australia and Asia.
Every game ends up being special for its own reason. Just last month, playing in Jakarta, it was revealed that the Swans were the first team to travel to the disaster-hit capital city for a game this since the bombings. It humbled me immensely to hear and see what a “silly” game of football meant to the president and players of the Jakarta Bintangs.
Last Saturday at football training, the Vietnam Swans were privy to another special moment, when Tim O’Shannassy came down to train the team. Tim is an ex-AFL football player for the Essendon Bombers and was very excited that a Vietnam team is currently playing against other asian teams. To have a coach of Tim’s experience meant a lot to the players who trained that day.
Tim took us back to basics. How to position your weight over the ball when kicking, how to handball properly and how to use your body in one on one situations. Football basics are something the Vietnam Swans always need.
Whilst there are a vast majority of Australian expats in the team, there are three regular players that come from other countries. Then there are a myriad of other nationalities that come down to training from time to time. I spoke to Max Robinson from California after training and he was as equally impressed. Max noted that he now understood the fundamentals better and could use that training as the foundation to learn the game better.
Tim also could see the different levels of skills the team had. He would point out the advanced players very early on and make them try more advanced skills, like spinning the ball correctly in a handball. He picked certain players out during the drills to point out what they could do better. Tim saw skills in players that no one else had seen and tried to bring them to the surface. Looking around at the faces of the players, I could tell we all knew we were experiencing something very unique.
On behalf of the Vietnam Swans, thanks for providing us with another special moment Tim, in a year that has already had so many. Next time you are in town, we would love for you to coach us at training again.