Vietnam Swans

Australian Rules Football In Vietnam!

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Archive for March, 2010

Minutes of Hanoi Committee

Posted by Vietnam Swans on March 29, 2010

The Vietnam Swans in Hanoi at last Friday's Committee Meeting

The Vietnam Swans in Hanoi held a Committee Meeting on Friday 26 March. Below are the minutes.

Agenda Item 1 – National Perspective.

Willy emphasised that the Vietnam Swans have been making some enormous gains at the national level and recent success of events such as the Buckley and O’Donnell clinic in HCMC has given us some tremendous recognition.

Agenda Item 2 – Laos Game

Willy applauded the effort of the five boys who represented Hanoi at the Laos game.  Willy hoped we could develop the enthusiasm further and aim to have at least 8 travel at the next international match, which will possibly be to Cambodia. Willy explained that the Thursday fitness training and well-structured Saturday sessions had a clear benefit during the game, which was particularly evident when Stanno laid a massive bump that almost knocked someone into next week.

MJ added that their was a great mix during the game where people played in the right positions and were manned up against suitable opponents. The 12 aside also worked extremely well.

Agenda Item 3  – Tour Program.

MJ asked Willy if the National Committee could establish the footy calendar (possibly two years in advance) to give enough time to take advantage of cheap flights when they become available.

Agenda Item 4 – Excess baggage for Auskick gear

Willy highlighted the great effort of Phil Murphy in obtaining a match footy for the ANZAC day clash from the Hawthorn Hawks, as well as a couple of boxes of Auskick gear.  While transiting through Singapore, Phil was charged with excess baggage for the Auskick stuff, so Willy proposed that the Club subsidise Phil where possible.
Forwarded: Willy
Seconded: Dan K
All in favour.

Agenda Item 5 – ANZAC Weekend Match

Dan K summarised where we are at in preparation for the trip to Vung Tau.  There are approximately 70 people from Hanoi making the trip and bookings for flights and accommodation have been submitted.  The transport plan is in the process of being coordinated and quotes have been obtained.  The away jumper/tour shirt has been designed and a mock-up will be returned shortly.  Depending on the price, the aim is to have at least 30 made, but if cheap, enough shirts will be made for all people (including kids) going on the tour.

Willy suggested that the match footy only be used for the first quarter or half, and then auctioned after the game to raise money.

Agenda Item 6 – UNIS Spring Fair

Dan K explained that the Club had been approached by those organising the Australian Table at the UN International School (UNIS) Spring Fair, which will be held from 1100Hrs to 1500Hrs on 10 April.  The theme for the Australian table will be Australian Rules Football and the Swans have been invited to run an Auskick clinic, as well as a handball competition.  Prizes for the handball comp will be provided, but the Swans have been asked if we have a handball target as well as Vietnam Swans banners.

Willy stated that supporting these types of events is excellent for the Club and that we need to get right behind it. Let Willy know if you can help out on the day.

Agenda Item 7 – Fines

The Sherrif undertook to formalise a system for paying fines and being fined.

Tomorrow in Saigon: Vietnam Swans Saigon Committee meeting.

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Vientiane Times reports on last weekend’s match against Elephants

Posted by Vietnam Swans on March 28, 2010

The Vientiane Times runs a preview and a review of last weekend's big clash between the Lao Elephants and Vietnam Swans

Last weekend, the Lao Elephants hosted a match against the Vietnam Swans in Vientiane, Lao.

On Friday, 19 March 2010, the Times ran an article titled, . Then, on Thursday 25 March, the paper ran with a follow up article, .

Click on the hyperlinks above to read the full articles in pdf format.

For other articles of the Vietnam Swans In the Press, click here.

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KOTO thanks Swannies for footy clinic with Buckley & O’Donnell

Posted by Vietnam Swans on March 26, 2010

On 14 March, 2010, teh Vietnam Swans held a particularly special footy clinic in Saigon. Collingwood’s Nathan Buckley and Essendon’s Gary O’Donnell attended. And so did the kids of KOTO.

is a not-for-profit restaurant and vocational training program that is changing the lives of street and disadvantaged youth in Vietnam.

They sent the following letter (see below) to the Saigon President of the Vietnam Swans, Derrin Limbrick, thanking the Club for their involvement in the day.

KOTO's thank you letter

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Hawks supply Vung Tau ANZAC Weekend match ball

Posted by Vietnam Swans on March 24, 2010

Mr Mike Warren, Community Relations - Hawthorn Football Club, presents Phil Murphy with the 2010 Vung Tau ANZAC Weekend Match Ball

Last Monday, Swannie Phil Murphy (from Hanoi) was in Melbourne where he dropped into Waverley – home of the AFL’s Hawthorn Hawks – for a very special reason. Below, he writes:

Attached is a photo of Mr Mike Warren, Community Relations – Hawthorn Football Club, presenting the ANZAC Day Match Ball to me at the home of the Hawks.

Mr Greg Cook General Manager  – Consumer Service and Community and Mike have always responded to any request for support from us for Vietnam Football.  I passed on the Vietnam Swans thanks as well as thanks from all players and supporters of the Swans in Vietnam.

Mike is looking forward to hearing how the match goes and congratulated us all for holding such a wonderful event.

This is a wonderful gesture from the Hawthorn Football Club and we look forward to recognising their contribution.

Indeed, it is a wonderful gesture of support by the Hawthorn Football Club. It’s an amazing thought that they would give the Vietnam Swans a match ball. But, perhaps even more amazing, is the fact that an AFL match ball will be used in a football match, between Hanoi and Saigon, in Vung Tau, Vietnam, on ANZAC Weekend, 2010.

The Vietnam Swans thank the Hawthorn Football Club for their support.

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Oh what a feeling! The Match Report.

Posted by Vietnam Swans on March 22, 2010

Oh what a feeling indeed! The victorious Swannies.

Swans ruckman, Dave “Angry” Hadley, who starred in the match against the Lao Elephants on the weekend, writes the match report.

The Vietnam Swans had a very successful tour of Laos, both on and off the field.  It was great to have an equal amount of players traveling from Hanoi and HCMC.  Add MJ from Hoi An, 2 of (Captain) Monkey’s friends who were passing through Asia, Jerry from America and Ryan from New Zealand and its apparent that a very diverse, international side was heading Laos’ way.

From the airport, the Swannies were amazed to pick up the local Vientiane Times newspaper to read the headline on the back page, “Phants gear up to boot Swans out of the Park”.  The article was beautifully written and discussed the upcoming physical encounter between the fierce rivals.  Great marketing for the event which led to the 100 odd spectators who turned up.

The match commenced with the Swannies under the Captaincy of Willy. But

Monkey's Josh in full flight

we took a while to get going.  The Hanoi and Saigon chapters of the Vietnam Swans do not get to play or train together often, so it took some time for us to gel.

After about 5 minutes it all started happening for the Swannies.  The centreline worked together beautifully, with Gus, Willy, Monkey’s Josh and Stanno rotating and providing the engine room to power the Swannies.  The backline of the Glove, Ryan, Crazy Dan and Sam kept the opposition from scoring many goals.

The Swans won every quarter and the final score was 14.9.93 to 5.4.34.

It was very hard to find the best players as everybody played magnificently.

Special mention has to go to Danny Armstrong who has rediscovered himself as a full forward; kicked 6 goals and was voted best on ground by the Laos team.  Ever since starring in the position in last year’s Indo-China Cup… Danny is going to be impossible to move anywhere else whilst he keeps his dazzling form going.

Another mention has to go to the forward line.  MJ worked out the average age was a remarkable 41, which proves you are never too old if the fitness and commitment is there.

The fanning bamboo goal posts work as a "goal assist" for Danny Armstrong.

The off field performance was just as impressive as the final scoreline.  An international tour is more than just a game of football.  It is catching up with like-minded expats who really appreciate the effort of teams coming to tour.  Vietnam was the first team to tour Laos since 2008 and the Lao Elephants really made us feel special and welcome.

An international tour is about experiencing the culture and tastes of another country.  It is also about sharing experiences and knowledge to both the local and expat communities.  There is a very special bond between the Lao and the Vietnam teams.  The matches are highly anticipated and there is a real camaraderie between the clubs.  One reason is the fact that both teams field a fair share of NGO’s (Non Government Organisations) and charity members.  Therefore there was a lot to discuss at the off-field functions which the Laos team organised for us.

After the game we met Ingrid Suter from .  As we had no first aid kits, Ingrid pulled out an elephant medical kit and started attending to our injuries.   Yes, an elephant medical kit!  Ingrid also took photos for the club as well as helping us with water.

Whilst fixing up one of our biggest elephants, Danny Armstrong, Ingrid informed us of the work ElefantAsia performs in Laos.  There are only 1,000 wild elephants and 500 domesticated elephants left in Laos due to poaching and degradation of their natural habitat.  Most of the Swannies touring party were touched by the plight of the elephants and purchased a shirt for the cause.  Each shirt purchased meant an elephant owner would receive an elephant medical kit.  It was such a proud moment watching your team mates combining to contribute to such a worthwhile cause. (Ed’s note: No doubt it was an equally proud moment for Danny Armstrong’s team mates when the nurse, after evaluating him, asked the question: “Is that a trunk?” But before Danny had time to reply, she had already called for the elephant first aid kit.)

For more information about ElefantAsia, visit the website at

Thanks again to the Laos Elephants football club who were most gracious hosts.  Both nights they put on food, drinks and entertainment.

Well done Swannies for a very successful and memorable trip to Laos.  We won the game, but also continue to win a lot of hearts.

For photos of the match, click on the .

Tourers for the Swannies: (Hanoi) Willy, Stanno, Ryan, Crazy Dan; (Hoi An) MJ; (Saigon) Gus, Danny Armstrong, Fabbo, Angry, the Glove, Jerry, Sam; (Mate’s Mates) Monkey’s Josh, Monkey’s Chris; (Apologies for missing trip due to passport/visa issues) Josh Little

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‘Phants pantsed by Swans

Posted by Vietnam Swans on March 21, 2010

The Lao National Stadium - where we nearly played

An absolutely fantastic weekend of footy in Lao has drawn to a close. The Lao Elephants may have the wood over us at the Asian Champs but, elsewhere, it’s a different story.

Yesterday the Vietnam Swans were victorious booting 14.9.93 to 5.4. 34 at Dong Dok Soccer Stadium, Vientiane University. The Elephants are great marketers and following a back page article in the Vientiane Times, complete with colour photo, 100 spectators came out for the match.

Snakes was voted by the Swans as being Lao’s best player and for the Swannies, the Elephants voted Danny Armstrong as our best after his awesome 6 goal haul.

Dave “Angry” Hadley, who also played an outstanding game will prepare the match report shortly – with photos.

Thanks very much to the Lao Elephants for being such fantastic hosts. A great weekend.

Footnote: Today, on Micky J’s flight back from Vientiane to Hanoi, he spoke to a couple who had read about our match in the Vientiane Times. They wanted to buy a Swannies t-shirt, but alas, no shirts at the moment. However, new shirts are coming…

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A Swannies mega update from the National Prez

Posted by Vietnam Swans on March 19, 2010

National President, Phil Johns sends out an update on what is happening in the Land of Swannies.

Dear Swannies, Sponsors and Supporters

A b-i-g week just finishing. A mega month about to be unleashed…

1. AFL Superstars Nathan Buckley and Gary O’Donnell join Swannies footy clinic at RMIT
2. Lao Elephants Vs Vietnam Swans, tomorrow
3. ANZAC Weekend, Hanoi Vs Saigon, Vung Tau (near Saigon)
4. Footy tipping
5. Tomorrow in Netball: Saigon Vs Hanoi

1. AFL Superstars Nathan Buckley and Gary O’Donnell join Swannies footy clinic at RMIT

In Melbourne Victoria Street, Richmond is known as “Little Saigon”. Last Sunday, RMIT University, Saigon looked like “Little Melbourne” when AFL Superstars Nathan Buckley (Collingwood) and Gary O’Donnell joined the Vietnam Swans for a footy clinic. The players were mobbed by squillions, young and old, Vietnamese and Australian, for autographs and photos. Amazing scenes – especially with the Vietnamese kids from KOTO whose ears were joined by the biggest grins. Despite having just arrived from Australia, Nathan and Gary were both generous and genuine with their time. They both made it look like the footy clinic was the only place they wanted to be. Fantastic.

To see photos, visit the .

2. Lao Elephants Vs Vietnam Swans, tomorrow

Today, the Vietnam Swans set off for Lao to take on the might of the stomping Lao Elephants. Stomp, stomp, stomp. The big game will start in Vientiane at 4pm tomorrow.

When the Vietnam Swans played in our inaugural Asian Championships back in 2007, five top fellas from Lao joined us. Since then, those fellas went on to form the Lao Elephants. Elephants founder, Marty Sharples, says that regardless of the tournament, whenever our two teams play each other, it is the “Marquee Event”.

The Lao Elephants have forwarded a schedule for the weekend and, as expected, the hospitality will be first rate. The Elephants will return to Vietnam in November for the 4th Annual Indochina Cup which will be held in Saigon.

3. ANZAC Weekend, Hanoi Vs Saigon, Vung Tau (near Saigon)

The Vietnam Swans will host an ANZAC footy match between Hanoi and Saigon at the Vung Tau Greyhound Race Track on Saturday 24 April. This will be our inaugural ANZAC Match. Swannie and Warrant Officer from the Australian Embassy, Dan Kindness, shall take us on a tour to places of significant interest to Australia on the Saturday morning. In the afternoon, we will play the footy match which will be followed by an informal function. On the Sunday morning, we shall attend the Long Tan Dawn Service. Dan shall show us several more sites before we head back to Vung Tau to watch the Collingwood Vs Essendon ANZAC Day match on the TV.

The Vietnam Swans will play the footy match on the Saturday as a mark of respect to all who have fallen in all wars and to celebrate life in Vietnam in 2010.

This will be an extraordinary event and going forward, we expect it will become an annual event that connects communities. As part of that, we shall also announce full details of a local swimming program that the Vietnam Swans will support (in Vietnam, approximately 40 children under the age of 15 drown each day).

Coincidentally, last night, Swannie Phil Murphy (Hanoi), who is currently in Melbourne on business, attended a function with Hawthorn players.  Phil spoke with Luke Hodge and Brent Guerra (see photo). He says that “Luke was fascinated that there was a very active AFL team in Vietnam and they (wished us) the very best for the year ahead – especially for our ANZAC event.”

Details are still being finalised butclick here for the that has been put prepared by Dan Kindness. As you can see, it is a very comprehensive program and already, 75 people are confirmed to join the weekend from Hanoi.

To register your interest in attending, please contact in Hanoi or in Saigon.

4. Footy tipping

It’s still not too late to join the Vietnam Swans AFL footy tipping competition for Season 2010. For full details, click here or email .

5. Tomorrow in Netball: Saigon Vs Hanoi

Tomorrow, the Saigon Shooters Netball Club will host the inaugural clash between the Saigon Shooters and the Hanoi Oi’s at the Australian International School in D2, Saigon. The Swannies enjoy a very close relationship with both these teams and both have toured with us before. Both teams will be part of our Indochina Cup weekend later in the year. So, if you’re in Saigon tomorrow, get out there to AIS and barrack your lungs out for…

As long as netball is the winner, the Swannies will be happy.

Finally, honk yer horn if you love Aussie Rules in Vietnam!

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On the ground details for Lao trip

Posted by Vietnam Swans on March 19, 2010

Snakes, from the Lao Elephants, has just forwarded the schedule re this weekend’s big clash between the Elephants and Swannies.


Our thoughts here for the game are:

  • 12 per team on the field
  • 12-15 minute quarters (maybe wait and see how hot it is on the day) with 5 minute quarter breaks and 15 minute half time break

We have one field umpire confirmed, two goal umpires confirmed and one boundary umpire confirmed (still looking for another).

The game will be played at Don Dok Stadium (same ground we played on last time Vietnam came over) which is a soccer ground. We are asking them to paint a centre and goal squares. We are also asking them to try and round the boundaries close to the corners – we will see how successful we are with this request on the morning of the game.

There won’t be a doctor at the ground but there should be a nurse and physiotherapist in attendance (hopefully we don’t need to use either). The only medical supplies will be a very basic first aid kit.

We are hiring a bus to take you all out to the ground and back to the hotel after the match. It will pick you up at the Chanthapanya Hotel.

Game starts at 4 pm, we will probably try and get our team there no later than 2.30 just to run through a couple of things. We can organise for your bus to leave the hotel around 2 or 2.30 if you would like – depends on Swans preference. The ground is probably about 20-30 minutes from where you are staying.

There will be no need for an emu line, we aren’t playing on a field littered with UXO (unexploded ordinance).

For the social events, we are having some very informal drinks on Friday at 7 pm at Bor Pen Nyang Bar, on the Mekong River, around the corner from your hotel. There won’t be anything formally organised, but I will have a chat to the manager of the bar to set aside an area or table for people to have a drink.

On the Saturday night we expect the game to finish before 6 pm, we’ll be able to have a beer or several on the field and then head back, get changed, showered, etc. We’ll get the after-party to start around 7 also at Bor Pen Nyang. We’ll try and sort the exact details with the management tonight, but we are thinking there will probably be some nibbles and beer provided at a price per head for us and then people are able to order extra as see fit. After that we’ll be able to kick on at Vientiane’s finest curfew hour bound bars and all be in bed safely by 11 pm.

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One Swannie meets two Hawks

Posted by Vietnam Swans on March 18, 2010

Luke Hodge, Phil Murphy and Brent Guerra

Indeed, it has been a big week for the Swannies bumping into AFL stars. Earlier in the week, of course, we had Nathan Buckley and Garry O’Donnell join us in Saigon for a footy clinic. And it hasn’t stopped.

Tonight, Swannie, Phil Murphy (Hanoi) who is currently in Melbourne on business, attended a function of the Hawthorn Football Club. Sitting on the same table were Hawk stars Luke Hodge and Brent Guerra.

Phil writes:

Took the chance to share all I could re the Swannies especially our planned ANZAC Day events. Luke Hodge was fascinated that there was a very active AFL team in Vietnam. I also mentioned that Buckley and O’Donnell had been in Ho Chi Minh this past week and that the Swannies were off to Laos this weekend to play against the Elephants.

They both wished our team the very best for the year ahead especially for our ANZAC event.

When former 1961 Premiership Captain Graham Arthur interviewed them, they both provided great insight into the year ahead and its always amazing how much work these guys do as a build up to the season. In fact, as we chatted, they both received a Text Message indicating that Friday training had moved from 9am to 8am start !!

Meanwhile, Matty Townsend has just sent an email to the Swannies touring party for this weekend’s match against Lao. The level of intensity referred to above, is nearly reflected in Matt’s remarks:

We’re approaching the time of the week where Gus begins to put aside his thoughts of overcharging rapacious mining companies for environmental services and begins to gear up for his 61st official tour as a Swannie. Follow in Gus’ footsteps and start to get fired up – and turn your thoughts to the Laos Peoples’ Democratic Republic!

Make it happen / if you dream it, you can do it / no second prize etc.,

Matt, who incidentally is not our coach, could be a great motivational speaker. For someone. Somewhere.

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You Tube Video of Swans clinic in Hanoi

Posted by Vietnam Swans on March 16, 2010

If you’re a hard core Swannie and think that Buckley and O’Donnell have had a fair run already on the Swannies Blog, then check out our latest You Tube offering.

Last October and November, the Vietnam Swans ran a footy clinic as part of the Fun Australia Day 2009 celebrations. The footage on You Tube was aired on a local TV station.

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Photos of O’Donnell / Buckley visit

Posted by Vietnam Swans on March 16, 2010

The Vietnam Swans keep a careful eye on Buckley as we let him take a drill with our young charges

The photos of the O’Donnell / Buckley footy clinic held last Sunday have started to flood in.

Jo Armstrong, David Carter and Tracy McIntyre have all very kindly forwarded photos which can be found on the .

Ross McRae has also forwarded photos which can be found .

Gary O'Donnell is the King of the KOTO Kids

Gary O'Donnell shows the kids how to pick up the footy

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O’Donnell & Buckley visit a great success

Posted by Vietnam Swans on March 15, 2010

Koto takes a screamer over Gary O'Donnell!

Yesterday at RMIT in Saigon, Gary O’Donnell and Nathan Buckley assisted the Vietnam Swans run a footy clinic.

Nathan Buckley, “fresh” who had been coaching a Collingwood footy match in Mt Gambier the previous evening had to get back to Melbourne, then grab the flight to Saigon – and then go directly to the ground and rip straight into it.

Both players (actually, now assistant coaches) made it look like running the footy clinic was the only thing they wanted to do. And the kids responded. We can’t recall seeing such a vast sea of smiles. It was amazing. Without exception, everyone had a grin that joined their ears – especially the local kids (KOTO is a not-for-profit restaurant and vocational training program that is changing the lives of street and disadvantaged youth in Vietnam).

O'Donnell and Bucks with some of the Swannies

Even though Saigon is so far away from Australia, there was no escaping the autograph hunters. They came from everywhere as did the “Can I have my photo taken with you?” requests.

Throughout, Gary and Nathan continued to make it look like it was the only thing they wanted to do. We can only imagine what their focus must be like with their charges back at Essendon and Collingwood.

When the clinic finished, so too had the daylight. Nevertheless, the KOTO kids challenged the prized cattle to a Vietnamese game where they kick a shuttlecock to each other around a group without allowing it to hit the ground – somehow! The Vietnamese won easily.

The adults then enjoyed one beer in a Vietnam Swans stubby holder before it was time to leave.

These leaders of men and children, over such an extended number of years, do have an aura and a presence. A one off event for them. A lifetime memory for us.

Lots of photos to follow.

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