Daniel Hogarth is about to return to Vietnam with his premiership winning footy team, the Tarrawingee Bulldogs. Daniel is an ex Swannie from Hanoi and, prior to his return, the Flyer, Dave Kainey, spent five minutes with him.
1. Dan, You ventured to Hanoi, ran into one Gus ‘G Train’ McEwen back in 2005, and then you were training with the Swans, what work were you involved in and what were your first impressions of the Swans footy club?
Well, back in 2005 I was at Victoria University studying a Bachelor of Education (Outdoor Education) and I decided to go and study internationally. Vietnam was a good a place as any, so I ended up in Hanoi at Hanoi University of Foreign Studies.
Daniel Hogarth at the Vietnam Swans Golf Day in Melbourne, 2008
My first impressions of the club was that it was just a few people having a kick of the footy. Back then we trained on a Thursday night at Dead Cat Stadium and then had the odd match on a Saturday (Victoria vs World team). Usually…sorry, always followed by a few beers at Beer Anchor.
The Swans always made you feel welcome and genuinely enjoyed having people around. There was never a dull moment when you were amongst the Swans. Gus and Canty kept everything pretty exciting.
2. Training at Dead Cat Stadium, beers after at Beer Anchor, a bit different from footy in Victoria?
Teh hallowed Dead Cat Stadium in Hanoi where Daniel used to play. In this photo, Dutchman Reinout is given a farewell. L to R: Potsy, Gus, Troy (coming to Saigon next month), Fabbo, MJ, Shri, Ben, Antti and DT
Yes, very different. Dead Cat Stadium for those that don’t know was a very hard soccer field with absolutely no grass on it surrounded by a big concrete fence in the middle of a housing estate in Hanoi. The ground had a lot of rocks, pot holes and even a dead cat on it once. We would always train there and play our intra club matches on it.
After we finished it was back to Beer Anchor to talk footy and solve the problems of the football world. Basically talk all things AFL and listen to each other’s football stories. We would sit and chat for hours on end. It is a huge difference from footy with Tarrawingee (who I play with in Victoria) but it is one of my best football memories.
3. Your first international was v Malaysia in 2005, tell me about the build up to the game and the experience of pulling on the boots for your first game and did you envisage that the team would go National, we would be playing in the Asian Champs and would be hosted by the Sydney Swans at a function at the MCG?
So we used to train and play on a regular basis but was a kind of routine that we just did. When we got word that we would be playing internationally there was a buzz around the place. An instant feel of excitement transformed the routine into a build up with a goal. Training was more structured, tactics were being talked, a theme song for the club was created (as well as practiced a lot) and game plans being set in motion. We were all ready to go.
The group of blokes that travelled over to Malaysia were all good mates so we had a ball and the Malaysian Warriors were great hosts. The match was a great battle and I cannot recall the scores but I do remember losing, however we had all been so happy to be on the trip and had practiced the song for so long that we sang the song anyway. It’s a pretty special thing to be able to say you played for the Vietnam Swans. I consider myself very fortunate to have been able to do it. It’s also a bit a bragging point to say you have toured internationally; many AFL greats never get to do such a thing.
As for the Swans going National, playing at the Asian champs, and being hosted by Sydney Swans well it is an enormous effort. What the Swans have achieved so far is huge and has taken a lot of work. However, the Vietnam Swans have the right people around club and the right people running the show so I had a fair idea they could achieve something so great. I also believe they will go on to even bigger and better things. One day the AFL will look to expand into Asia and I believe Vietnam Swans have a huge role to play in terms of promotion of the game. Maybe we will even see Phil Johns running the AFL one day.
4. You have played in the Swans Annual Golf Championship at Royal Ivanhoe, Melbourne (played 29 December annually), how close have you gone to wearing the green jacket and what chance has Mick Francis got of ever wearing it?
The Swans Annual Golf Championship is a great event and a great way for people to catch up. It is also a good way to meet others who have been around the Swans at other times when you have not been in Vietnam.
I actually wore the prized jacket once back in 2009. I had the honour of sharing the jacket with Ryan Jeffery, we managed to slip an arm in each.
As for Micky Francis’s chances of winning the jacket, well Tiger Woods has been out of touch lately and Micky is a bloke that could fill the shoes of someone like Tiger.
5. Life for you now is back in Victoria, you were hoping to bring your footy team to HCMC, you made it though, what are you looking forward to most on your visit and what are you up to these days?
Yes the club I play with in Victoria, Tarrawingee (on the outskirts of Wangaratta- in NE Victoria) are coming to Vietnam. We were hoping to have a match against Vietnam Swans but floods here put our league Grand Final back a week and we will now arrive AFL Grand Final day. So we were looking forward to a match with the Swans but now we are looking forward to catch up for a few beers with the Swans players and supporters. We are also looking forward to seeing more of Vietnam, it is a pretty unique place. For some of the boys travelling from Tarrawingee it is their first time overseas so they’ll be in shock for a while.
6. Finally mate, your take on how the Swans have developed as a major player in Asian Australian Rules Football, since your departure?
When I lived in Vietnam the club was basically a group of blokes enjoying each other’s company. Now Vietnam Swans are a very professionally run club. They have turned into a place people now want to tour with their club. Vietnam Swans are a focal point in the community in both Vietnam and Asian Footy. They have the right people running the club, great sponsors on board, promotion of the club is amazing, good atmosphere and most importantly Vietnam Swans are good fun and good people to be around.
They are definitely a club that is always moving forward in the right direction. Keep your eye on the Vietnam Swans.