Vietnam Swans

Australian Rules Football In Vietnam!

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Archive for May, 2010

Post ANZAC Weekend Match, Hanoi

Posted by Vietnam Swans on May 30, 2010

Australian Embassy, Hanoi. L to R, Joe, Dan, Willy (Hanoi Prez), Phil M. and Stanno (Coach)

This afternoon in Hanoi, a very, very successful afternoon was held at the Australian Embassy, says the Hanoi Prez, Willy.

“Well over 40 people gathered to relive the memories, excitement and profound impact the Vung Tau weekend (23-25 April 2010) had on us all who were so fortunate to be there that ANZAC weekend.

“It was brilliant that so many people from different parts of the Australian and Vietnamese community were able to come together and join as one to recognise the weekend and the huge efforts of Anne Marie editing the special DVD footage of the Vung Tau occasion, and also recognise the huge efforts of Dan Kindness by having Phil Murphy present a framed Hanoi Hawks jumper to Dan.

“Very special indeed and one of the great moments of this Club.”

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Hongkers – the Farewell Tour Match Report

Posted by Vietnam Swans on May 30, 2010

Captain Monkey at his last match for the Swannies (as a resident)

Captain Monkey provides his Match Report for last weekend’s match against Hong Kong. The match was also his last as, together with JD and Jerry, he will leave Vietnam in the next couple of weeks.

Playing the Mighty Dragons in their own lair was always going to be a challenge but the Swans touring party was pumped full of enthusiasm and confident we would farewell the 3 leaving Swans in style.

Coach Josh had the team in order and it was a fine blend of experienced campaigners and youthful first gamers all committed to the cause. Angry was the only injury concern with his broken hand but in true Swan Spirit he said…”It’s ok coach, I’ve got another one”.

Warm up – its always a fine line for the finely tuned Swans between warming up and overheating but today the boys were on and after some spine tingling, tear jerking inspirational speeches the Game was underway.

JD in the ruck got his first of 204 Tap outs for the day and the Swans swung their game plan into action… Kick it to Mark! Unfortunately there was a 8 goal breeze in the first quarter and the Honkers boys were making the most of it. The Swans defence was under siege but Matt the Glove, Sam at CHB and Nicko continually swept the ball out of trouble. MJ slips that helmet on and automatically becomes some sort of battering ram and he wasn’t alone with Stewie and co tackling like demons possessed.

I’m not Blowin’ his Horn but Big Kev was sensational, busting packs, directing traffic, picking up kicks at will and all under serious duress from over indulgence the night before! While the quarter was a dogged one of defence the photographers had one reason to go snap happy and that was the gravity defying leap of the Birdman! His leap started at half back, took him to the head of a Honker on the wing – before crashing back to earth to the gasps of the crowd and whistle of the ump as he unfortunately didn’t touch the ball. Nonetheless, the Birdman had taken flight and the wind was ours in the next quarter.

Coach Pud had even managed it onto the field and was happy with what he was seeing, there were even 1%’s on display. Keep the rotations happening and keep our legs fresh, we were going to need it against the 35 man strong bench of the Dragons in the second half.

JD warms up prior to the game with the Hong Kong skyline making a spectacular backdrop

The second quarter started like the first…JD winning the Tap and from there he won everything else. Spectacular grabs, kicks, goals you name it, he was in it and if he wasn’t in it it was his twin, Mark!

The Vung Tau contingent led by Sam started to impose themselves. Sam was getting leather poisoning and also Dragon poisoning as he valiantly tried to shut down their engine room. Timmmmmmy was also making his presence felt. Actually I don’t think there’s been a bigger debutante with such a presence since ‘Colin’and his infamous Cambodian x-ray machine crossing. Timmmmmmy was in everything!

The backline were working like clockwork and enjoyed having the wind at their backs. One-handed Hadley was roosting the ball the length of the ground while President Dez was like a Filipina, literally everywhere. He was Mr Fixit, Mr Plugit, Mr Natural doing anything to help the Swans as usual.

I can’t remember who kicked our goals but we got a few. It was most likely Mark and most likely from about 50m but the team as a whole contributed and this game was on.

The second half seemed pretty much the same as the first…. Mark and Jarrod dominated again but there were some great cameo performances by Lethal Lee the Rugby man with some great runs and Gus deftly picking out players at will on his trusty left foot. Sam ‘Forrest’ Conroy was given the tagging role on one of the Honkers Guns and he did so well he was purchased a beer later that evening. Hang on, there might have been more to that story but I guess the moral of it is – you don’t want to be tagged by Forest!

Jerry Jerry Jerry had the Honkers boys and sometimes himself baffled with his American Goose Step and ability to slip through packs unnoticed, kind of like a spy. Stewie and the Vung Tau boys got better and better as the game went on and have a big future with the Swans.

As the fog started to lift from Kev’s head he also lifted off the ground and took a screamer right in front of the Coaching committee. Unfortunately, it wasn’t paid but in Swannie terms it was close enough!

The final quarter was a battle. JD slammed through a beauty and celebrated accordingly with a double fist pump and salute and Mark-Goal continued on his way but, as our legs ran out, it became a battle for a spot on the bench!

Fabulous Phil had been making his searching leads from the goal square all day snaring a couple I think and for the sake of this quality journalism they were Bruce McAvaney Specials! In a last minute attempt, he was thrown into the middle but by the time he got there, and boy was he elusive in getting there, the siren sounded and the Swans had gone down in a very competitive close fought match… according to our scoreboard anyway!

Big Mark and JD simply dominated the day and with some awesome support from absolutely everyone who took the field the Hong Kong Dragons knew they’d played a match.

Congratulations to all that organised and toured and I know Jerry, JD and myself had a ball and have enjoyed the Vietnam Swans experience in general for the last couple of years so we thank all who we’ve crossed paths with.

Keep up the great work from Fabbo down, get everyone involved, have fun and I’m already looking forward to a Gus Comeback as soon as possible.

Ex Captain Monkey

Posted in Farewell, Scoreboard | Leave a Comment »

Tri Nations Netball Tournament, Saigon, tomorrow

Posted by Vietnam Swans on May 28, 2010

The Saigon Shooters Tri Nations Netball Tournament

Tomorrow, our sister club the Saigon Shooters will host a Tri Nations Netball Tournament against Thailand and Laos.

There is also a free BBQ (to be cooked by Monkey and Heath) and beer.

The tournament is being held at the AIS Sport Center, next to the An Phu Supermarket on Thao Dien Road, Saigon, tomorrow, Saturday 29 May at 2 pm.

Be there!

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A message from the Saigon Prez

Posted by Vietnam Swans on May 28, 2010

The Swannies farewell Monkey, JD and Jerry Jerry Jerry after last weekend's match against the Hong Kong Dragons in Hong Kong

Saigon Prez, Derrin Limbrick provides us all with an update:

Gents, Wow! What a cracker of a trip to Hong Kong.  For those of you not in the know, we didn’t end up on the right side of the score board but all the boys played their guts out in what was probably the longest match we have played in a long time ( I think it was around 90 minutes in total in the end).

It is hard to match a team that has a squad of 30 on the day, especially over such a long match and, needless to say, the Dragons were a very useful outfit.   But we all gave it our best and I know that everyone was determined to try and see Monkey, JD and Jerry Jerry Jerry off as best as we can.  I know that they were all pretty stoked.

Well done to Mark Greenshields (aka Mark Goal) who was voted best on ground by the Hong Kong Dragons, and also JD and Monkey and Jerry Jerry Jerry (JJJ) who all had mighty games.  JJJ  nearly slotted through what would have been a cracker, after first showing a balk which fooled everyone on the field apart from the Dragons player who new better and ended up nailing him just before he could get the kick away.   Better luck next time mate.

As for off the pitch, well everyone stood up (right Forrest??) and the Dragons were some of the best hosts we have seen on a tour in a long time.  By the end of our trip they were already looking at a date that they can come over to Vietnam.  It all bodes well for our relationship with other clubs in Asia and also, the Swannies reputation in the region continues to grow.

There are lots of guys to thank who helped and stood up on the tour, however, I believe that Fabbo has already done this and the rest of you know who you are so, thanks again, and keep up the good work.


Down to business.

No training this weekend (in Saigon. Training is on in Hanoi starting at 4pm).  Sorry guys, however we have a number of injured players plus guys away, so we have decided to give everyone the week off.  However this should mean that you are all champing at the bit to get a run in next week, so numbers should be HUGE!

Instead, I think it is well over due that the Swannies get on board and support our sister club the Saigon Shooters, who are hosting a Tri Nations Tournament against Thailand and Laos tomorrow.

The Shooters have volunteered to help the Swannies so many times that it is too hard to list. So, it would be great if we could get some guys to turn up and support their event.  Plus, there is a free BBQ (to be cooked by Monkey and Heath, topless no less…), and beer, plus for those of you who just cannot do without the footy, I am sure that the Ever Generous Kevin and Visa would be happy to open up their lounge rooms and kiddy pools. Right guys??

There’s also a pub across the road.  So get off your behind and get to the AIS Sport Center, next to the An Phu Supermarket on Thao Dien Road, at Saturday at 2 pm.

More news to come……..Swannies tour to Cambodia

See you all on Saturday for a snag, a beer and some kick (ho)arse netball.

Ya hearin’ me!


  • Photos of the Swannies match against Hong Kong can be found on the
  • Saigon Shooters Tri Nations Netball Tournament, AIS Sport Center, next to the An Phu Supermarket on Thao Dien Road, Saturday, 29 May @2pm
  • Post ANZAC Match Family BBQ, Australian Embassy, Sunday 30 May @11am

Posted in Farewell | Leave a Comment »

Dan Kindness reflects upon the ANZAC weekend

Posted by Vietnam Swans on May 26, 2010

Dan Kindness talks at Long Tan after the Dawn Service to the Swannies.

Dan Kindness, Warrant Officer at the Australian Embassy and Vietnam Swannie, reflects upon the recent ANZAC Weekend.

Saying the inaugural ANZAC Friendship Match weekend was awesome just wouldn’t do it justice. Having served in the Army for 20 years, which includes participation at a wide variety of ANZAC days from small country towns to the Australian War Memorial, last weekend was the greatest of all I have yet to experience.  In fact, it was the greatest weekend I’ve had in Vietnam.

When Fabbo (Swannies National Prez) first contacted me about the idea for an ANZAC day clash in Vung Tau, I immediately knew this was going to be good and I wanted to do as much as possible to help the man who gives so much.

Linking Aussie Rules Football to this most sacred and important of days makes complete sense as the fundamental principles of the Australian military can be also found in Australian Football.  It is about mateship, teamwork, training hard to fight (play) easy, mental and physical toughness, discipline, pushing yourself beyond your limits, escalation versus de-escalation (going when its your turn to go but playing hard and fair within the rules), exploiting gaps in attack while working tight in defence, tactics, strategy and leadership. Of all people, I think our veterans understand this and really appreciated the efforts that went into the Hawks vs Swans game in Vung Tau.

The Swannies at Nui Dat

For me, playing a hard fought match in Vietnam in front of so many, combined with a tour of Nui Dat with so many interested people, and attending the Dawn Service at Long Tan could not have been any better. It’s an ANZAC experience I will never forget.

Equally important, Aussie Rules is about community and it was absolutely brilliant to see the Australian community come together. From a Hanoi perspective, the message that the Vietnam Swans were organising the ANZAC tour spread quickly and resulted in a massive response from a great cross section of Australians based in Hanoi.  In the end, over 70 people travelled south, many never having met before.

Despite delayed flights and hiccups with transport, a real sense of camaraderie was established and it was absolutely amazing to see all the kids having a ball, while the parents got a chance to relax, make new friends and enjoy a great weekend.  It was about family, friends, football and our appreciation of the veterans – a truly great mix. It was also the first time in my two and half years in Hanoi that I felt like the Australian community had come together.

The whole weekend had an amazing feel about it and is without a doubt, the best time I’ve had in Vietnam. I think many, if not all, will remember the trip for a long long time to come, and will appreciate the efforts of the Vietnam Swans to make it all happen.  I really can’t wait until next year.

Go the Swannies!!!

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National President, Phil “Fabbo” Johns thanks the HK tourers

Posted by Vietnam Swans on May 24, 2010

Somewhere down there, we found an oval to play a game of footy!

The Vietnam Swans National President, Phil “Fabbo” Johns thanks those Swannies who went on the Hong Kong tour.

Hong Kong Tourers

Just wanted to thank all of you for making the effort to get to Hong Kong to take on the Dragons at home and to farewell the five guys who have put a heap into this Club: Captain Monkey; the man who climbs over anything in his path, JD; Jerry; Jerry; and lastly, the bloke who did a Chris Mew while enjoying his first fine on the Sunday morning, Jerry.

As I mentioned on the Saturday night, seven years ago, Hong Kong (and Thailand) played in our first ever tournament when we were the Hanoi Swans. Old Man Gus was at that tournament and he was in Hong Kong on the weekend too. In 2007, Hong Kong was the first team to tour to Vietnam to take on the now national, Vietnam Swans.

Our trip to Hong Kong was well over due and we have now done it. In style. Thanks also go out to the Hong Kong Dragons were absolutely fantastic hosts.

While the Swannies farewelled three players on this tour, we also welcomed plenty who were enjoying their first ever tour with the Swannies:

  • Kev Hornblower
  • Sam Stevens
  • Mark Pleiter
  • Tim Clements
  • Lee Taylor
  • Stewart Davies
  • Mark Greenshields

A few special thank yous:

  • Danny Armstrong for sorting out payment for our air tickets
  • Matty Townsend, mega accommodation & logistics organiser and Fine Master
  • Sammy “Forrest” “Hound” Conroy for all his organisation bits and pieces behind the scenes
  • Dezza for being an awesome (Saigon) Prez who also leads on the field
  • Josh for his coaching on the day and his unwavering commitment to the Club
  • Angry Dave who came to Hongkers despite carrying half a dozen “it’s just a flesh wound” wounds.

And then, of course, everyone else.

The great strength about this Club is that we don’t rely on individuals. It’s very much a team effort. We’re about to lose three of the best  – but the Club has never seemed stronger. That’s a great reflection on all those who came before us and all of us who are currently serving the Club.

Awesome weekend in Hongkers, Swannies. And remember, if you weren’t honking your horn before, after a weekend with the Hongkers you will be!

Go you Swannies!

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Hongkers beats Swannies

Posted by Vietnam Swans on May 23, 2010

Yesterday, the Hong Kong Dragons beat the Vietnam Swans (approximately) 100 to 50.

The Dragons played extremely well and deserved their victory. Woody was voted as Hong Kong’s best. For teh Swannies, we also played extremely well but missed the drive of some key players including Heath, Lucas, Stanno, Dukes and Willy.

Great weekend. Fabulous hospitality from the Dragons and a fitting farewell tour for Swannies Jerry, Monkey and JD.

More to follow.

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A Presidential Update from the Saigon Prez

Posted by Vietnam Swans on May 20, 2010

Dezza's exquisite ball skills extend to the round ball as well

The Saigon Prez, Derrin, sends out the update just prior to the weekend’s big clash between the Hong Kong Dragons and Vietnam Swans in Hongkers (they’re Hongkers because they love the footy. Honk! Honk!).

Gents, the time has come to begin another tour and at the same time further the illustrious history of the football club we all love, The Vietnam Swans.  This is the first ever tour to Hong Kong for the Swans and I have to admit I am personally getting pretty excited.  Just looking at the team list gives me a lot of confidence that we can give the Dragons a run for their money and, hopefully, see off club champions, Monkey, JD and Jerry Jerry Jerry, in fine style.

At the very least I am confident that we will do ourselves justice at the pub afterwards thanks to the Strategic Marine Vung Tau connection, who, I am sure, can guide us to a win in the boat race.   Matt is looking sharp as the fine master, and the Dragons look super keen to show us a good time.  If you put all of this together, it looks like we are going to have a memorable weekend.

Now, for those of us who can’t make it to Hong Kong, and you’re going to be heading to Cafe Latin or somewhere else for a beer this weekend, make sure that you send out the word so that some of the newer guys know where to drop in and say hi.


Training is cancelled this week due to the absence of people on tour.  Sorry, you will have to put your feet up and watch the footy instead.

Hong Kong Tour

Last minute reminder for the guys travelling to be at Saigon Airport by 4 55pm for a 6 55pm departure, with a valid Vietnamese Visa (not mentioning anyone’s name, Josh).

For those of you still not sure if you’re coming or not, check the list below.

The list for Hong Kong is:
1    Philip Johns
2    Daniel Monk
3    Jarrod Dean
4    Gerald McMullen
5    Nicholas Shiells
6    Michael Johnston
7    Sam Conroy
8    Joshua Little
9    Stewart Davies
10  Matthew Townsend
11   Derrin Limbrick
12  Angus McEwin
13  Kevin Hornblower
14  David Hadley
15  Sam Stevens
16  Mark Pleiter
17  Tim Clements
18  Mark Greenshields
19  Mark’s friend
20 Lee Taylor


Just a reminder that we are still looking to get AusKick off the ground for the next school year, so, any interested parties, please get back to me or Robert Visentini.

Feel Like Watchin’ the Footy in Saigon?

The NEW Cafe Latin Bar, located on Dong Du St next to the old Cafe Latin, has invited us to come and watch the AFL.  They will have the sound up and have also said that they will offer us happy hour prices during the match.  If you get down there, make sure that you let them know that you’re from the Swans.

Gaelic Footy – SE Asian Champs

Gents, the weekend after we get back from Hong Kong, there is a Gaelic Footy Tournament in Jakarta and the Hanoi Celts GAA have asked if any Swannies would be keen to join them for a run.  They do understand that we will be in HK the week before so I don’t think they are expecting anything, however, I said that I would float the idea and see if anyone was interested.  If you are, let me know and I will put you in touch with the president of the Celts.

I’ll see you at the airport.

Ya hearin’ me! Dez.

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Swannies family day in Hanoi, 30 May 2010

Posted by Vietnam Swans on May 17, 2010

Triple Premiership & Brisbane Player, Clark Keating, meets the then Australian Ambassador, Bill Tweddell at the Australian Embassy after the AFL All stars played the then Hanoi Swans in October 2006

Dan Kindness invites the Swannies, families and friends to a family day at the Australian Embassy on 30 May.

Dear Vietnam Swans, supporters and family members,

Being a family friendly club and because a great many of us are still pumped about the absolutely amazing feel of community generated over the ANZAC weekend, the Vietnam Swans are holding a Family BBQ and Hanoi Hawks Reunion on Sunday, 30 May 2010, at the Australian Embassy.

If you haven’t been to the Embassy before, its a great place for the family as the kids can enjoy the pool or run freely in the park without any safety or security issues.  And most importantly, while the kids are running themselves rabid, the adults have a chance to relax, unwind and enjoy some great company.

So here is the basic plan, which may develop at any given moment:

Commence: 1130am
Lunch: At this stage, its bring your own meat and salad etc, but given a bit of interest, I can possibly coordinate something better.
Drinks: Will be on sale at Matildas

  • Swimming
  • Kids playground
  • Park for kicking the footy
  • Auskick for the kids
  • Handball competition
  • Kick to kick for the adults
  • Hopefully the Hawthorn Hawks vs Sydney Swans game on Australia Network
  • Official release of the Hanoi Hawks ANZAC Weekend DVD!  Anne Maree and Phil Murphy have been working feverishly compiling and editing all the photos and footage of the what I’m describing as “the best weekend I’ve had in Vietnam” and “the best ANZAC day I’ve had during my 20 years in the Army”.  I’ve heard its going to be really really good, and I cant wait!

Finish: Whenever.

if you can make it, and feel free to invite other family members if you think they might want to join in.

Hope to hear from you soon and go the Swannies!!!!

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Viet Celts beat Swannies

Posted by Vietnam Swans on May 17, 2010

In Saturday’s Gaelic football tournament in Hanoi, the Viet Celts were victorious against the Vietnam Swans.

More to follow.

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Aussie Rules during the Vietnam War

Posted by Vietnam Swans on May 13, 2010

Footy, in Vung Tau at the Lord Mayor's Oval, 1968

Several days ago, Stan Middleton left a comment on the Vietnam Swans Blog writing that footy had played an active role for the Aussies during the War. Stan’s amazing comment is reproduced below:

I served in Vung Tau in 1967-68. A full scale Aussies Rules Competition between Australian units was conducted (twice a year). The Competition commenced in either 1966 or 1967 and I believe went through to 1971.

I was with the Ordnance Unit (2 Comp Ord Depot/2AOD). We were Premiers in both seasons in 1968; also in one season in 1969 when Wayne Closter (former Geelong Star) was Captain. In the losing Grand Final team that day, 17 Construction Squadron, former Aboriginal VFL Umpire Glenn James played.

Stan Middleton's Ordnance Unit wins the second Grand Final of 1968 in Vung Tau

In either 1970 or 1971, former Essendon & Williamstown player, Bill Thompson, played for our unit.

Our 1968 group has a reunion every two years based around our Aussie Rules Footy team. We have many footy photos on our unit website which I do all the photos. I also have a lot of our old Unit newsletters on our games which I haven’t placed on the site yet.

We initially played all our games where the Greyhound Racing Track is now in Vung Tau (The Lord Mayors Oval then and venue for the Vietnam Swans inaugural ANZAC Friendship match). We played 14 a side because of the ground being a soccer ground. Later a lot of games were played elsewhere on a larger oval.

The Competition was a 7 team one when I was there.  2AOD(us), 17 Construction Sqn, 5 Coy RAASC, 8 Field Ambulance, RAAF, 102 Field Workshops and 110 Signals.

Will be interested to hear your comments.

Stan Middleton

See the 2nd Advanced Ordinance Depot 1968-72’s website . To see photos of their footy matches back then, click . For other photos of the war time era in Vung Tau, click .

All photos courtesy of the ‘s website.

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Vietnam Swans Vs Viet Celts and Hanoi Season Opener

Posted by Vietnam Swans on May 13, 2010

Travis Fennell of the Vietnam Swans against the Viet Celts last year in Hanoi

On Saturday, 15 May, 2010, the Vietnam Swans in Hanoi will take on the Viet Celts. We’ll follow that up with our Season Opener in the North. The North’s President Willy tells all:

4.30pm start of Gaelic footy, at UN International School (UNIS), Ciputra.

6.30pm pre-event drinks @ JAFA – Towers of bia and pizza kindly provided by JAFA (who always help us out after trainings).

7.30pm Official launch of the AFL Vietnam Swans season in Hanoi.

9.30pm The Irish Wolfhound (off Ma May Street, Old Quarter) to continue the celebrations of the united efforts between the Vietnam Swans and Viet Celts in Hanoi.

Go you Swannies!!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »


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