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Archive for September, 2010

Uncle Al speaks of “Pretty magic effort” by Swannies in Cambodia

Posted by Vietnam Swans on September 12, 2010

Uncle Al, Shag and Longie at the match against Cambodia in Phnom Penh on 31 July 2010

On 31 July 2010, the Vietnam Swans played the Cambodian Cobras in Phnom Penh. Among the Swannies who made the trip was first timer, and Uncle of Nick Shiells, Big Al. Big Al is a veteran of the Wallsend Swans in Newcastle, and, since returning to Australia, has filed the report below.

I had been planning to visit my favourite nephew in Vietnam, Nick Shiells, and, recently, I finally got off my backside and had the best time.

Nick had pre-warned me of an up coming game of footy in Cambodia and I thought that will be good to see. This turned into, “No, you are playing!”. Even then I shrugged that off – hardly touched a footy for 12 years – and I couldn’t run out of sight on a dark night.

And, as all high profile players do, we arrived in Phnom Penh with a couple of days to acclimatise – and maybe a spy mission on opposition tactics. Yep, we thought of all that stuff at a couple of bars over the next two days.

Uncle Al, top right with beard, played for, and coached, the Wallsend Swans in Newcastle in the 80's and 90's.

Game Day seemed to arrive so fast: buses to the ground – still had no adrenalin rush like the old days. No nervous feeling. I think my body was telling me something like, “If you do this, you will be sorry”.

The warm up, mate, I’ve never been knackered at that stage before. So, I was so happy when the game started and I could get a rest. Surprisingly, I made a full recovery from the warm up!

I was more than happy watching the game but then something bad happened and Nick came off. And, on the ground I went. Tried for a routine overhead mark… this was when I realised the gravitational pull in Cambodia was about twice what is usual. So, even as I leapt high for a screamer, my feet dragged on the ground and then, in the next move, I tried to recover the ball from the ferocious Cobras. This was the point where my body did the rejection thing and I tore my calf.

So, I spent the rest of the game on the sidelines feeling a bit out of sorts with my sissy injury.

I have played footy most off my life at different levels and I was very impressed with the friendship shown and the sense of belonging from players, organisers and supporters.

Pretty magic effort from all involved.

Thank you all, Uncle Al.

Below is a Q n A session from Nick with his Uncle:

  1. What’s the name of this team? Wallsend Swans
  2. What league are they in? Newcastle
  3. What division? 1st
  4. What years did you play there? PLAYER: 1983, 1984 PLAYER/COACH: 1990, 1992, 1996, 1997.
  5. What is your member status? Life Member
  6. Are they still around? No – but a junior comp has them in
  7. Did you guys win any flags? Flags -1890 and 1990 (a 100 year gap)
  8. Did you win any awards? Runner up best and fairest, most consistent, and a couple of social awards. Coaching… only lost three games in two seasons, My assistant coach played for the Hawks, only 2nds, but in the Hawks glory years.

Uncle Al: What a legend, mate!

Posted in awards, Legend | 2 Comments »

ANZAC Friendship Match in TPI Chin Up magazine

Posted by Vietnam Swans on September 10, 2010

ANZAC Footy match is in Spring edition of Vietnam Veterans' Spring issue of TPI Chin Up magazine

The Vietnam Swans ANZAC Friendship Match has been given a re-run in the current Spring issue of the Vietnam Veterans’ TPI Chin Up magazine.

The magazine has reprinted the Welcome Address from the Vietnam Swans National President, Phil Johns, under the heading, ANZAC Day and football (as well as a letter praising the service of , a travel company part owned by the Vietnam Swans’, Travis Fennell).

The 2011 ANZAC Friendship Match is expected to be considerably bigger than this year’s match. The Hong Kong Dragons have already accepted an invitation from the Swans to play in next year’s match. Additionally, Dick “Johnno” Johnston shall also attend. Dick is particularly special as he was one of the guys who played football in Vung Tau during the War. Further,  he played for 2AOD (2nd Advanced Ordnance Depot) which was the team that won the two 1968 premierships that were up for grabs. b-i-g.

To see the reprinted Welcome Address in TPI Chin Up magazine, click on  and .

To see the presentation that was prepared by the Vietnam Swans following the 2010 ANZAC Friendship Weekend, click onto .

To see other articles that have been written about the Vietnam Swans, click on the Press tab.

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Photos of Cambodian Match added to Swannies Album

Posted by Vietnam Swans on September 9, 2010

Umpire Glenn Nolan, waves a goal. All clear! Photo: courtesy of Asian Images.

Courtesy of Adam Martin from , we have just uploaded 160 photos from last Saturday’s match between the Vietnam Swans and Cambodian Cobras in Saigon.

To see the photos, click onto the .

Many thanks to Adam Martin from for his excellent photography.

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Victorian floods cause havoc for Tarrawingee’s GF/VN plans

Posted by Vietnam Swans on September 8, 2010

The Victorian floods have forced Tarrawingee to delay their trip to Vietnam

was due to play a match against the Vietnam Swans on 19 September. However, yesterday, Daniel Hogarth, ex Swannie and current player of Tarrawingee, sent the following email to advise that the Vietnam trip has been delayed due to Victoria’s current flood crisis.

Daer Swannies

I have some good and bad news.

Bad news – Wangaratta and surrounding areas have been affected by floods. This has meant many people have been forced out of homes and lost property, stock etc. For this has meant our Preliminary Final was postponed a week which has meant our Grand Final was then forced back another week to the 18th of September (the day we were meant to be flying out to Vietnam).

Now we are not guaranteed a Grand Final spot (Eds note: but they have been spanking other clubs in the league all season) but we do not wish to miss the Grand Final or our trip to Vietnam to meet the Mighty Swans.

Good News- What we have done is moved the trip back a whole week (just confirmed 2 min ago). So, we are still coming to Vietnam but we now arrive Sat 25th September (AFL Grand Final day- bad day to be flying and not watching).

We would still love to play a game against each other to promote the Swans and footy in Asia.

Sorry to do this to the Swannies, but it something that has been out of our control with the floods. I realise the Swannies have organised and booked venues, players etc and we are very appreciative of all the work that has gone into this so far.

Hope we are able to work something out and have a kick.

Ed’s note: The Swannies will be doing everything we can to make a fixture happen. But the day after the Grand Final, as the most convenient option, is also the harshest! Possibly the following week (when RMIT’s field is closed for annual maintenance)??

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Victory, glamour, armbands and remissions

Posted by Vietnam Swans on September 7, 2010

The match started in idyllic conditions when Mai Phuong Thuy, Miss Vietnam 2006, tossed the coin!

National Prez, Phil Johns, provides an update.

Dear Swannies, Sponsors and Supporters

  • Victory against Cambodia
  • Black Armbands for Matt Natalooto’s mother
  • Rick Trewavas in “quality remission”
  • Coming Up
  • Swannies and Footy in Asia

Victory against Cambodia

Match conditions, however, weren't completely idyllic after some torrential rain. Photo: Asian Images.

On Saturday, the Vietnam Swans in Saigon played the Cambodian Cobras. Conditions were idyllic when Ms Mai Phuong Thuy – also known as Miss Vietnam 2006 – came out to the ground to toss the coin! After that, it was a tough, tight and bruising contest played in very wet conditions that the Swans eventually won, 7.9. 51 to 4.9. 33.

Matt Townsend was voted by the Swannies as our best player and accordingly, picked up the Rick Trewavas Medal.

The Cambodian Cobras are a resurrected footy team that debuted just five weeks ago when the Swannies travelled to Phnom Penh. This is an exciting development for Asian Footy and the Swannies more specifically. Having another country playing footy on our doorstep means one thing: more footy.

A couple of days prior to Saturday’s match, Rick Trewavas wrote to the Swannies:

My son has requested that my grandchild presents the Rick Trewavas Medal at the Swans-Cobras Derby in 2032.

In the year 2032, Rick’s grandchild will have just turned 21 (the grandchild is due in February 2011). That’s a long way, away. So will the Swans-Cobras Derby still be happening in 21 years time? Why wouldn’t it? This year the Asian Champs will be 11 years old. Footy in Asia is on the march.

Today, photos of Saturday’s match taken by Adam Martin from will be put on the .

Black Armbands for Matt Natalotto’s mother

The Vietnam Swans wear black armbands for Matt Natalotto's mother

At Saturday’s match, the Vietnam Swans wore black armbands as a tribute to Matt Natalotto’s mother. Matt is a Swans player who has also been one of the driving forces behind Auskick in Saigon. On Sunday, Matt wrote the following note to the Swannies’ community.

Thanks very much for the fantastic mark of respect for my mum yesterday… Mum died, aged 60, on Friday evening from mesotheloioma. It’s a lung disease caused by asbestos fibres which she probably inhaled doing home renovations in the 80′s.

She was a footy fan and would have been very pleased with the gesture of the arm bands… I was very happy when I read the Swannies email this morning (regarding the armbands). I felt proud to be part of the Club… The rest of my family, gathered here in Perth, all thought it was great too.

I’m also glad to hear you had a win yesterday (against Cambodia). Well done. Almost as happy as I am that the Dockers beat the Hawks!

Thanks guys…

Kind regards – Matt, Ros and family…

The Swannies continue to think of Matt, Ros and their family. And Go the Dockers in this year’s finals!

Rick Trewavas in “quality remission”

As you are aware, Rick Trewavas played a key role in helping to establish the then Hanoi Swans (now Vietnam Swans). Rick’s contribution is recognised by the Swannies with the Rick Trewavas Medal which is presented to the best Swannie in the Vietnam-Cambodian match. Rick, who was diagnosed with an “aggressive lung cancer” wrote to the Swannies yesterday with some fantastic news.

The double (of Swannies’ MC, Matt Towwnsend also winning the Rick Trewavas Medal) has me in raptures. And ‘Good’, is what it is about.

I have news.

The Medical Oncologist has declared me to be in quality remission. We have beaten all the stats for the moment. He reckons we have been very lucky. I know better.

I will continue to have the breathing difficulties, pain and limited physical capacity (as reminders of the journey) but next appointment is in December for bloods, CT and PET scan. That’s much better than every 6 – 8 weeks. Here’s hoping this is for a good while. The port will remain (it has a 10 year life) and will be flushed every 8 weeks.

I wouldn’t have made it but for family and friend support, and the Swannies’ gracious gesture is a precious contribution to my life.

Thank you all.

In the words of Jeff Fenech, “I love youse all, and Miss Vietnam 2006″.

Now, the Bloods for the (2010 AFL) Flag.

Rick, that is absolutely magnificent news! And (also…) Go the Bloods in this year’s finals!

Coming Up

The next 6 weeks will be mega.

  • Sunday 19 September, Saigon – Vietnam Swans Vs Tarrawingee. Former Hanoi Swan, Daniel Hogarth who made our first overseas tour (Malaysia) back in 2004 returns to Vietnam with his Tarrawingee footy club for their end of season trip. Glenn Nolan from Tommy’s Bar in Vung Tau and key organiser for the ANZAC Friendship Match also comes from Tarra. b-i-g.
  • Saturday 25 September, Hanoi & Saigon – The 2010 AFL Grand Final Parties. Tickets now on sale.
  • Saturday 16 October, Shanghai, China – The 11th Annual Asian Championships.

Swannies and footy in Asia

It’s much more than a game.

Honk, honk!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Swannies win a tough, bruising encounter

Posted by Vietnam Swans on September 4, 2010

The Swannies win a tough game against Cambodia

The Swannies managed to pull off a tough victory against a determined Cambodian team.

The final score was Vietnam 7.9. 51 to the Cambodian Cobras 4.9. 33.

The Swannies voted Matt Townsend as the winner of the Rick Trewavas Medal.

Field umpire, Richard Beecher was presented with an award for outstanding umpiring services.

Miss Vietnam, Mai Phuong Thuy, at the coin toss

Miss Vietnam 2006, Mai Phuong Thuy, added some glamour at the start of the match by tossing the coin and having her photograph taken with both Clubs. A gesture that was extremely appreciated by all in attendance. (For the record, Damo, filling in for Skipper Dukes won the toss).

Tonight the respective teams will pick BOG’s for the other team at Cafe Latin.

The day was tinged with sadness as one of the Swannies, Matt Natalotto has just returned to Australia after hearing news about his mother. As a mark of respect, the Vietnam Swans proudly wore black armbands for Matt’s mum.

For first photos, courtesy of Dave Hadley and Asian Images, click onto the .

Additional photos can be seen on the website.

More to follow.

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Miss Vietnam to toss the coin at tomorrow’s match??

Posted by Vietnam Swans on September 3, 2010

Will Miss Vietnam 2006, Mai Phuong Thuy, toss the coin at the start of tomorrow's match?

Miss was Miss Vietnam back on 26 August 2006.

That’s a fact.

Meanwhile, a rumour is currently circulating that she will appear at RMIT University tomorrow afternoon just prior to the big clash between the Vietnam Swans and the Cambodian Cobras.

This isn’t a fact; just a rumour. The rumour is that she will toss the coin prior to the match.

By tomorrow evening, we will be able to confirm whether it was just a rumour – or a fact!

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Saigon Prez Update: Cambodia tomorrow!

Posted by Vietnam Swans on September 3, 2010

The Cambodian Cobras arrive in Saigon tonight for tomorrow's rematch against the Swannies

The Saigon Prez, Dez, delivers the weekly update including the big one against the Cambodian Cobras tomorrow.

Vietnam Swans vs Cambodia

RMIT will be buzzing again tomorrow afternoon as the Vietnam Swans take on the touring Cambodian Cobras.  The match is going to kick off at 2 30pm and we will have a BBQ and drinks at the ground from 2pm onwards.  There is plenty of green grass for the kids to run around on, so, make sure you bring your friends, family and colleagues down for a fun afternoon of footy.

For those of you who are intending on playing but still have not got back to me, make sure you do today at so I can add you to the team list.

The Swannies BOG shall win the Rick Trewavis Medal.

But, tonight we will have a huge Friday night on the couch with Josh at Cafe Latin (25 Dong Du Street, D1, HCMC).  Latin will be showing the big AFL Final between the Cats and the Saints LIVE from 4.30pm.  As usual there will be happy hour beer prices, plus the Cobras should be arriving around 6 pm to join us.  So make sure you get down to Latin tonight for the footy and a beer with the Cobras.

After the game on Saturday we will be staying at the ground for a beer or two and then it will be off to the Cafe Latin for the after match function.  We will have a set price buffet available (lots of food this time comprising hamburgers and sausages). And, eventually off into the night for those who are still kicking on.

This is going to be another HUGE weekend for the Swans in HCMC!

Vietnam Swans 2010 AFL Grand Final Party, Saigon

Grand Final Tickets are now on sale!  You can pick them up for VND 650,000.00 adult / VND 350,000.00 child / Under  5 years free, at the match tomorrow or Latin tonight.  Plus, we have several venues that you can drop in a grab them anytime during the week.  Check out the poster for more details on the Saigon and Hanoi Grand Final Parties.

This year it is going to be bigger and better than ever  before.  We will be hosting the GF Party at – On the 6, 6 Dong Khoi St, D1.

Importantly, the footy will be telecast on three projector screen and a flat screen so you can see the match wherever you are.

All that needs to happen now is for everyone to sell some tickets.  So get your friends, family work colleagues, organized and pick up some tickets!  Let’s make this day huge, and one to remember.

Asian Champs

I know that some of you have been in touch with me to confirm your attendance to this year’s Asian Champs, however Matt has put together an that he wants everyone to fill in.

Just to remind everyone that we have been able to source a group flight from HCMC to Shanghai for around USD 350 return.

Vietnam Swans Vs Tarrawingee

Also don’t forget about the match against the visiting Australian Team on the 19th Sept!

AusKick, Saigon

Is not on this weekend but will resume again the following week.

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Vietnam Triathlon; 11 September 2010

Posted by Vietnam Swans on September 2, 2010

The Vietnam Triathlon is back on - saving kids' lives

Dear Volunteer!

In its 4th year running, the is back, on the 11th of September in Hoi An. This year, the organizer, Tribob is offering a 40 per cent discount on race fees for any volunteers in Vietnam. Tribob has also committed 50 per cent of your participation fee to the Tribob Hoi An Children’s Swimming Program (further information below).

The race will kick off on the palm-fringed sands of stunning Cua Dai Beach then wind its way through tropical hinterland which is home to many of the country’s major historical treasures.

Designed as a unique destination event, this action-packed weekend caters for all ages and all levels of triathlon experience and features the following races:

    • Olympic Distance Triathlon: 1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run
    • Sprint Duathlon: 3.5km run, 10km bike
    • Kids Aquathlon: 200m swim, 1.5km run
    • Heritage Ride: 60km or 120km ride

You can race individually or as a team!

For your discount code and more information about how to register please email or phone 0915 324 614.

The Singapore-based Vietnam Triathlon organizer, Tribob, initiated the Children’s Swim Program to give Vietnamese kids basic swimming skills and other water safety skills, as part of a long-term goal to raise the standards of swimming and water safety in Vietnam. Water safety awareness is a serious problem in Vietnam. Based on UNICEF’s data, an average of 10 Vietnamese children die every day from drowning, which is the biggest cause of accidental death among kids in Vietnam.

The Vietnam Swans are a supporter of the Tribob Swimming Program in Hoi An. At our ANZAC Friendship Match in Vung Tau earlier this year, we raised over USD1,000 for the program. Jo Stewart, the Program Manager of Tribob, has advised that some of the children from the Program will compete in the Triathlon and will wear shirts with the Swannies’ logo on them.

Every year to conclude the swim course, 30 – 40 of the most swim-adept kids are selected to take part in the Kids’ Aquathlon that is part of the Vietnam International Triathlon.

The Tribob Hoi An Children’s Swimming Program now in its 3rd year has received a very enthusiastic response from the kids, the schools and the parents, and has equipped more than 1000 kids with water safety skills that are likely to save some lives.

For more on the Tribob Hoi An Swimming Program, click .

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