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The ANZAC Friendship Match Report

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 27, 2010

The Australian Ambassador, Allaster Cox, addresses the crowd in front of the Hanoi Hawks and Saigon Saints

National Team Captain, Danny Monk, turns in a stunning piece of sports journalism on the weekend’s ANZAC Friendship Match. Read on…

In a Vung Tau ANZAC weekend littered with Highlights and Memorable Moments there was a little game of AFL Football, Hanoi Hawks v Saigon Saints, that also rose to the Occasion.

The scene had been set thanks to the Nui Dat tour led by Dan, Kev and John in the morning and the anticipation was evident as players and spectators strolled into the amphitheatre that was the ‘Vung Tau Dog Track’. The Carnival atmosphere of BBQ, beer and beef pies helped mask the determination of both teams and particularly coaching panels who were finalizing their playing lists right up to the last minute.

After all the formalities and a spine tingling rendition of the National Anthem performed by National President Fabbo and his back up singers from the North and South, the 400 strong crowd were about to be treated to a football spectacular.

The Hawks jumped out of the blocks early, winning the ball from the middle time and again through the Danang Difference, Lucas, and had the Saigon boys under all sorts of pressure. Rob “What am I doin in the backline?” Vissa racked up the possessions for the Saints and The “greyhound’ himself, Sam, was right at home chasing the bunny around but the Hawks through Big Mick, Little Willy, Fabbo and co hammered home a few quality goals to have a big lead at the first break.

The Question had to be asked, were these teams even or was it going to be a white wash?

Coach Stanno was full of praise at Quarter time; the backline was strong, midfield on top and forwards presenting and finishing the job, stick to the game plan, don’t kick it near JD and smash Hadley at all times.

JD marks another

The second quarter was similar to the first with plenty of scoring opportunities from both teams (mostly from Lucas and Heath, really), some of the South Big Guns came into play with JD marking anything that came near him. Nick, shaking off the effects of the previous evening, and Stewie and Bill hitting everything hard.  Hawks Phil Murphy, Hendo and Big Toby seemed to have all the answers though.

Shagger was showing blistering pace to get to from half back to the lavatory on a couple of occasions. Big Kev was causing plenty of headaches for the South up forward and ‘6 month holiday’ Mark was giving his kids and the Saints a footballing lesson.

With little opportunity up forward in the first half for the South’s evergreen Big Danny A, he must have been wishing the Birdman, Gus, was back to dish out some assists and a spoonful of inspiration.

Saints’ Coach, Josh and his coaching brain trust were also looking for some inspiration as they again were looking down the barrel of a large defeat.

The Hawks defence, led by “It’s my job” Kindness, had done the job all day, Aiden, MJ, Mick and young Nick were giving away less than the Palace Hotel Casino. Matt ‘Glove’ Townsend saw ball after ball out of his backline – often into the grandstand – but the South were not giving up. They’d seen The Mighty Micky Francis take his half hamstring to the BBQ, The Flyer had moved into the Middle…as umpire. They had a sniff and in the ANZAC spirit were not going to give up.

The South’s Heath, JD and Angry started to dominate in the middle and around the ground and they worked their way back into it with plenty of support from ‘Vung Tau’ Sam and Coach Josh finding plenty of it. The Stanno Steam Train that saw sparks fly off Dave Hadley’s body upon impact brought the crowd to their feet and rallied behind the Southern underdogs.

3 Quarter time couldn’t come quick enough for the Hawks, actually full time couldn’t come quick enough. Willy and Stanno pleaded for more, it could have been sweat but I’m pretty sure it was tears falling from Captain Willy’s face as he urged his team on, his passion for the brownish jumper evident for all to see.

The 4th Quarter was a pressure cooker. The crowd was on their feet. The Hawks were dead on theirs – and the Southerners were storming home. It was a goal fest (mostly from Heath and Lucas again) but Big Armstrong shook off the ‘No Gus’ factor and started banging them home. Saigon President Dez kicked home Goal of the Day – that didn’t count. Coast to coast, streaming down the wing, crowd at fever pitch, Dez’s celebrations to match… only to find play had stopped 30seconds earlier. It didn’t matter, he banged home another one. Unfortunately that didn’t count either!

The Hawks were hanging on by a thread. The Saints were banging illegitimate goals from everywhere as the seconds ticked down. Against the run of play, cool hand Lucas casually snapped one over the shoulder from the boundary and as the siren sounded in an epic thriller the Hanoi Hawks had hung on by a solitary point.

Sensational performances all over the park and none more so than BOG Heath for the Saints and Lucas for the Hawks, crowd pleasers all day!

Special mention must go to our umpires for the day too, boundaries, goals and Rick who did a mighty job in the middle! Scorers were also well under the pump and performed admirably!

All in all a truly awesome game that fitted in nicely with the awesome weekend!

Thank you to all that made it happen.

For photos of the ANZAC weekend, see the and .

Hanoi Hawks Saigon Saints
Q1 5.0. 30 1.1. 7
Q2 7.2. 44 4.4 28
Q3 8.2. 50 5. 6. 36
Q4 10.3.63 9.8 62

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