Vietnam Swans

Australian Rules Football In Vietnam!

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Archive for October, 2010

Swannies win Jon Ellwood Memorial Trophy, Saigon

Posted by Vietnam Swans on October 30, 2010

Swannies win Jon Ellwood Memorial Trophy

This afternoon, the Vietnam Swans took out the Jon Ellwood Memorial Trophy for the 2nd Touch Rugby World Cup Tournament hosted by the .

The Vietnam Swans, comprising Derrin, Fleur, Cheryl, Rozza, Matt Nattalotto, Chris, Heath and Trent,  played the Commonwealth in the Final. On the day, the Swannies had more answers than the latter and recorded a strong victory to very proudly claim the Jon Ellwood Memorial Trophy.

While the Swannies have won plenty of friendlies before, today was the first time that we have won an actual tournament.

Jon Ellwood Memorial Trophy

At 11.05pm on 12 October 2002, a bomb hidden in a backpack ripped through the Sari Club in Bali, killing 202 people and injuring a further 209.

Amongst the dead was Jon Ellwood, Director of Studies at The International School in Ho Chi Minh City, Member of Saigon Rugby Club, and good friend respected by all who knew him. A Briton by birth and a humanist by temperament, Jon was a dedicated teacher visiting Bali to attend a conference.

In 2003 the Saigon Rugby Club renamed their Annual Corporate Touch Tournament and, in his honour, presents the winners with the Jon Ellwood Memorial Trophy.

Congratulations to the Saigon Rugby Club for organising such a professional tournament. And congratulations to the Vietnam Swans for winning the John Ellwood Memorial Trophy.

For some grainy photos of the day, click onto the

Background to Jon Ellwood Memorial Trophy provided by the .

Comment from Brian O’Rielly

Great win (to the Swannies) and I was sorry that I couldn’t make the tournament. Jon Elwood was a good friend of mine and it is great to see that he is still remembered so well.

The good news was that I was with many Kiwis watching Australia beat them in the last minute in the rugby (). A great result. However. I think I was supporting the losing side in the International Rules ().

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Troy returns to Vietnam and the Swannies

Posted by Vietnam Swans on October 30, 2010

Hi, I'm Troy. You may remember me from...

Hi. I’m Troy McClure. You may remember me from such nature films as ‘Earwigs: Eww!’ and ‘Man vs. Nature: The Road to Victory.’

Actually, just joking.

Last week it was Troy Lanigan who sauntered into Saigon. You may remember Troy from the days of the then Hanoi Swans – including that fine day back in March 2006 when the Swannies recorded our first ever victory which happened against the Jakarta Bintangs.

Last week when he turned up, the Swannies had just won our first ever matches at the Asian Champs.

Troy came to our training session last Saturday which was then followed up with a cleansing ale at the Tavern in D7 with a few of the boys, including Fabbo (see photo above).

Troy, who has gone on for a tour through Cambodia, is further evidence that ‘they can leave the country, but not the Club’.

Go you Swannies!

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Saigon Prez’s update – Touch tomorrow!?

Posted by Vietnam Swans on October 29, 2010

Saigon Prez, Dez, the Saintly Swannie

Saigon Prez, Dez, touches the punters up about a tournament tomorrow…

Training Changes

First up, I need to advise of some changes to training this weekend.  Due to a touch tournament at RMIT we cannot train on Saturday so we have scheduled training for Sunday instead.  It will be at the usual time: 2 30 pm sharp.

Secondly, with the Indochina Cup fast approaching on 27 November, we need to get as many runs in as possible. So, we have also arranged for a midweek session, which will be held on Wednesdays, 7 pm at Parklands, D2, starting next week.  We would like everyone to make an effort to get to both training sessions so we can give ourself the best preparation possible.  We have never won the Indochina Cup and this year we have a great chance to do so.

It is not going to be given to us so we need to put in the hard yards.  We will also need to finalize the squad for the Cup so if you’re not at training, we will assume that your not able to play.

Saigon Rugby Club's Corporate Touch Tournament - The World Cup Event, June 2010

Touch Tournament tomorrow

The Swans will actually be fielding a team in the touch tournament on Saturday and we are still looking for two more guys to play.  If you have played before and are keen, or would just like to give it a crack, please let me know asap.  The event will run from 2 – 5 pm and there will be drinks provided at the ground.

Vung Tau Training weekend

On the weekend of the 13th November, we are planning a training session in Vung Tau at the dog track.  We would like to make this into a weekend for those interested, or you can make it a day trip if that is your preference.  Our new sponsor Strategic Marine will be providing a boat to collect everyone in HCMC and take us to Vung Tau on Friday night, plus return us on Sunday.  More details to come, however we could look at a trip to the doggies on Saturday night which is an experience in itself.

Vietnam Swans/Vietnam Housewares Sale

The next sale will be held on the 6th November, at Snap Cafe (Tran Ngoc Dien, An Phu, D2) from 8 am to 2 pm. Make sure you come along and pick up some quality houseware at a bargain price.  Everything went very quickly at the last sale, however we will have a lot more items this time around.

Santa contemplates a return to the Swannies' 2010 end of season Christmas Party

Christmas Party

Lastly, I just want to send out the first heads up for our end of year Christmas Party, which we are planning to hold on Saturday 4th Dec.  This is a day to let our hair down, and a chance for the Club to thank our sponsors and all of you, our loyal members.  So make sure you keep that day free and bring the family as well.

Last year even Santa turned up.  I am sure we can call him and ask him to drop past this year as well.

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Asian footy – alive and well!

Posted by Vietnam Swans on October 27, 2010

Fabbo gives us another hard hitting update

Following on from the 11th Annual Asian Championships and Kaspersky Cup, Nasho Prezo, Phil Johns argues that footy in Asia is alive and well!

Dear Swannies, Sponsors and Supporters

  • Asian Champs, Kaspersky Cup and media coverage
  • Preparations for 2011 ANZAC Friendship Match
  • Preparations for 2010 Indochina Cup
  • Sponsorship news
  • Honk! Honk!

Asian Champs, Kaspersky Cup and media coverage

As you have probably already heard, the Vietnam Swans won two of our four games at the Asian Championships in Shanghai two weeks ago. This was a significant milestone in the development of the Vietnam Swans as these victories were the first in our four assaults on the Champs.

It was a magnificent achievement by those on and off the field who have all contributed so much in many different ways. Importantly, judging from the number of congratulatory messages received from past players, the sense of success was deservedly shared. Those messages were a reminder that you can leave the country but you can’t leave the Vietnam Swans.

Kev Hornblower stands on tippy toes next to Brisbane's Jonathon Brown

As for the 11th Annual Asian Champs tournament itself, what a great success story! This year, 12 teams competed which is the highest number yet.

Meanwhile Cambodia which returned to international football in July of this year, is champing at the bit to be the 13th team next year.

Including non players, the 12 teams comprised approximately 500 people. Assuming they spent, on average, USD1,000 each for airfares, visas, accommodation, food, drink etc, that represents a rather significant investment of $500,000. Clearly, not only is Asian footy flourishing, it’s alive, thriving and growing.

Do not be alarmed. While Melbourne and Brisbane have already left Asia, we still have the footies!

The day after the Champs, we all attended the AFL’s Kaspersky Cup between Melbourne and Brisbane. And it was a cracker. The double header of the Champs and the Kaspersky Cup made for an excellent celebration of footy in Asia.

The Australian media gave good coverage to the Kaspersky Cup. However, with no mention of the Dubai Heat’s three-peat performance in the Australian media, including the AFL’s website, Australian punters were probably left with the impression that when Melbourne and Brisbane flew out, so did footy.

Admittedly, Miss Australia looked pretty good in a Swannies top. But so would Buddy.

The absence of coverage on such a big story was surprising – especially when one considers the amount of media coverage Miss Australia received in 2008 when she wore a Swannies jumper (admittedly, Miss Australia looked pretty good in a Swannies jumper. But so would Buddy Franklin). Click to see the coverage.

Anecdotally, people are fascinated with the footy in Asia. In related news, there’s a whisper that Asian stockbrokers are quietly giving their most valued clients a “Buy” recommendation for the footy!

Preparations for 2011 ANZAC Friendship Match

The 2011 ANZAC Friendship Match is coming.

As you will be aware, the Vietnam Swans will host the Hong Kong Dragons in the 2011 ANZAC Friendship Match in Vung Tau. Prior to the Asian Champs, the Vietnam Swans and Hong Kong Dragons organised for both teams to meet on the ground after the tournament for a beer. Which we did.

Everywhere, ANZAC matches have special symbolism and significance. In Vietnam, they are are also intertwined with a raft of political sensitivities. Accordingly, both Club Presidents addressed the assembled teams to set the context and background for next year’s ANZAC Friendship Match in Vietnam.

For further information about the ANZAC Friendship Match, click here.

Preparations for 2010 Indochina Cup

Preparations for next month’s Indochina Cup are well underway. Vietnam, Thailand, Lao and Cambodia will all compete for the coveted Cup which will be held in Saigon on 27 November. Concurrently, the Saigon Shooters will also host netball’s Indochina Cup.

One of Strategic Marine's ships (launched in April 2010) - but not the one the Swannies will catch to Vungers

Sponsorship News

On 13 November, the Swannies will have a training run in Vung Tau at the Greyhound Racing Track. New sponsor, Strategic Marine, will send its own boat to Saigon to take the Swannies to Vung Tau. Thank you Strategic Marine!

Honk if you love the footy in Asia.

Honk! Honk!

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Video of Sydney Swans who rode Vietnam’s mountains for charity

Posted by Vietnam Swans on October 26, 2010

At Bia Hoi Corner, Hanoi, what starts with beers... can end in tears. Riding bicycles up Vietnam's mountains!

You may recall the recent post on this website on 9 October 2010, Saigon Times reports on Ryan O’Keefe’s tour in Vietnam.

Ryan O’Keefe is a football star with the Sydney Swans team who led a 12 day cycling tour in Northern Vietnam to raise money for Australian cancer research for kids.

His party of nine cyclists included former teammate Jared Crouch and Swans’ footballer, Matthew Nicks, on a 12-day cycling trek. The trek of northern Vietnam raised money for the Australia-based Oncology Children’s Foundation (OCF).

Adam Martin, of Asian Images Photography – who doubles as a photographer for the Vietnam Swans – was their tour leader, photographer and video man.

To see Adam’s incredible video of their trip, click .

To see Adam’s amazing photos of their trip, click .

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Asian Champs Game No.4: Vietnam Vs Thailand

Posted by Vietnam Swans on October 26, 2010

Swannies ruckman, Angry, stands alongside another ruckman, the Fish, Paul Salmon

Dave “Angry” Hadley reports on the 4th and final match in the Swannies’ assault on the 2011 Asian Championships in Shanghai.

After waiting three Asian Champs for the first win, you would think that the Vietnam Swans might have switched off after winning their first game against the Barbarians.  There was one game left. The team was tired.  Looking over what the Swannies had left to put on the field, you had Nick with broken ribs, Danny under an injury cloud and Lucas between hospitals getting his eye stitched up. But there was momentum to ride on and Swannies’ spirit still in every player.

The 4th and final game was against Thailand Tigers.  The Thailands beat the Swannies on both occasions last year.  We know how dangerous the Tigers can be.  You could see the glint in everyone’s eyes as we hit the field; the Tigers were about to be hit by 22 red hot Swans.  The centreline jelled from the first bounce, with Matt Nat, Dukes, The Horn and SSSam hitting the ball hard.  Everyone played well, kicks were hitting their targets sweetly and the ball was constantly in the forward line.

Fabbo, standing as tall as a building, speaks with the AFL's Andrew Cadzow

At half time, the Swannies were up by 2 goals.  Slight scare at the start of the second half with a goal to the Tigers getting them close.  That was the last time they were near with All-Asian Nat keeping the Tigers at bay.  There is no need to single anyone else out, everyone played to maximum awesomeness and the Swannies won comfortably.

The Swannies were all so proud, the Club song was song was sung with gusto.  The team then pulled up some chairs to watch the finals, pleased with the knowledge they had won 2 out of 4 games and could hold their Swannies’ necks up high.

Fabbo is still smiling to this very day.

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Full results of 2010 Asian Championships

Posted by Vietnam Swans on October 25, 2010

The 11th Annual Asian Championships, Shanghai

Full details of the ladder and game results for the 11th Annual Asian Championships held in Shanghai, China, on 16 October, 2010, have just been released by the Organising Committee.

Please see below for full details.

The Ladder

Team Played Won Lost Points %
Dubai 5 5 0 20 322%
Singapore 5 4 1 16 195%
Hong Kong 5 4 1 16 285%
Indonesia 5 3 2 12 117%
China 4 2 2 8 114%
Japan 4 2 2 8 76%
Vietnam 4 2 2 8 47%
Malaysia 4 1 3 4 178%
Laos 4 1 3 4 61%
Barbarians 4 1 3 4 52%
Thailand 4 1 3 4 35%
Macau 4 0 4 0 41%


Morning’s match results:

Game No.
Team Goals Behinds Total Wins Points
1 Dubai Vs 5 2 32 1 4
China 4 0 24
2 Hong Kong Vs 4 4 28 1 4
Laos 0 2 2
3 Singapore Vs 2 5 17 1 4
Malaysia 0 3 3
4 Indonesia Vs 7 5 47 1 4
Barbarians 0 2 2
5 Dubai Vs 5 7 37 1 4
Macau 0 2 2
6 Thailand Vs 1 1 7
Laos 6 3 39 1 4
7 Vietnam Vs 1 1 7
Singapore 5 4 34 1 4
8 Japan Vs 1 1 7
Indonesia 6 2 38 1 4
9 China Vs 9 7 61 1 4
Macau 1 0 6
10 Hong Kong Vs 6 7 43 1 4
Thailand 0 0 0
11 Malaysia Vs 9 6 60 1 4
Vietnam 0 1 1
12 Japan Vs 4 6 30 1 4
Barbarians 0 1 1


Afternoon’s match results

Game No. Team Goals Behinds Total Wins Points
13 Macau Vs 2 4 16
Thailand 4 3 27 1 4
14 Vietnam Vs 3 2 20 1 4
Barbarians 2 1 13 1
15 Hong Kong Vs 7 4 46 1 4
China 0 1 1
16 Indonesia Vs 2 4 16 1 4
Malaysia 2 3 15
17 Dubai Vs 6 5 41 1 4
Laos 0 2 2
18 Singapore Vs 4 5 29 1 4
Japan 2 0 12
19 Vietnam Vs 5 2 32 1 4
Thailand 2 0 12
20 Macau Vs 2 4 16
Barbarians 7 1 43 1 4
21 Dubai Vs 5 1 31 1 4
Hong Kong 2 2 14
22 Singapore Vs 8 0 48 1 4
Indonesia 1 0 6
23 Laos Vs 1 5 11
Japan 2 0 12 1 4
24 China Vs 3 2 20 1 4
Malaysia 1 3 9
25 Hong Kong Vs 7 2 43 1 4
Indonesia 4 3 27
26 Dubai Vs 7 4 46 1 4
Singapore 2 4 16

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Asian Champs Game No. 1 Report: Vietnam Vs Singapore

Posted by Vietnam Swans on October 24, 2010

Nat and Skipper Dukes at a Chinese restaurant - in China - the night before the Champs

It’s the opening game for the Swannies at the Asian Champs and we’re up against the Asian powerhouse, Singapore. Nat Payne reports…

Wombats forced to dig themselves out of a hole as Swans hold heads high!

After one of the most disciplined and meticulous preparations in Asian Championship history, the Vietnam Swans were ready to take on the Goliaths of Asian Australian Rules Football. And it didn’t get much bigger for David (Swans) when they battled the Goliath that was the Singapore Wombats. Multiple Asian Champ winners and a team made up of close to 40 players. Still, the Swannies were as ready and as hungry as they had ever been.

Kev Hornblower inspires the boys in a Shanghai Sub, the night before the Champs

The night before they had carbo loaded at their local Shanghai Chinese restaurant and had been inspired by a pre subway trip speech from Asian football’s version of Kevin Bartlett, Kevin Hornblower! The boys listened in awe to Kev regale story after story about his glory days and what it took to take the ultimate prize. Later that weekend Kev also took it upon himself to provide a certain Brisbane Lion full forward with some important tips that he could’ve done with several years earlier.

All was in readiness and not even a confused bus driver or a blocked sewerage system at the ground could clip the wings of these Swans. The first half was a ‘Chinese arm wrestle’ which saw the majority of ball being contested between the 50metre arcs. David ‘Angry’ Hadley was outsized, but toiled admirably while his captain Luke ‘Dukes’ Creamer and Lucas ‘Judd’ Skelton locked horns with the Wombat’s rotating onball brigade. The backline, which was also undersized, was forced to repel many forward efforts from the Wombats.

At the half, the Swans were in it up to their beaks and the Wombats would have to dig deep to get over the line.

Lucas "Skelts" Skelton is helped from the field by the Glove

After some motivational words from coach Josh Little and a little tweaking of positions, the Swannies were at it again. The Wombats came out with a new set of fresh legs which provided wave after wave of run, off their half backline. The Swan’s midfield and backs were feeling the pressure and turned to their experienced generals for support. Assistance came, but it was too late… this time.

One minute before the siren, Vietnam’s fortunes took a massive swan dive with star onballer and umpire favourite, Lucas Skelton being assisted from the ground after a nasty knock. He was to take no further part in the day and severely dented Vietnam’s chances of claiming that ellusive first victory.

David had lost his first battle to Goliath, but was in no way beaten. Could the Swans rise from the ashes of defeat? Only time would tell.

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Auskick hits Saigon’s ABC International School

Posted by Vietnam Swans on October 23, 2010

Matt and Scott take the Auskick session at Saigon's ABC International; School

Yesterday, the Swannies fitness coach and dietician, Matt Natalotto who is also our Auskick coach, went to the ABC International School in Saigon with new Bostonian recruit, Scott Levin, to run a footy clinic. Here’s his report:

Friday 22nd October saw Auskick coach and Vietnam Swan Matt Natalotto team up with the Swans’ American recruit, Scott Levin, to take the District 7 ABC Bristich School kids through their first ever Aussie Rules clinic.

In what may well be a world first Scott, the boy from Boston taught Aussie rules football in Vietnam!  Great work Scotty.

The kids were a mix of girls and boys ranging from 7 to 12 years old from various parts of the world including Korea, China, Vietnam, Chile the UK and plenty more. Some of the Korean kids were particularliy impressed to know that Fremantle and North Melbourne legend [286 games] is a Koren born lad and, at only 5′ 7″, was a great example of how small stature kids from far away shores can become unlikey heros in one of the world’s most phisically demanding games.

Matt, Scott and the kids went through the fundamentals of kicking, handpassing and marking. Some of kids advanced so well that they gave bouncing a go and even some long range goal kicking.

With the ABC school being just around the corner from the Swans RMIT home ground, we hope to see some of the kids and teachers down there soon cheering on their home town team – especially at the Indochina Cup which will be held on 27 November.

Yours sincerely, Matt (5′ 7″)

Auskick’s Weekly Saigon Sunday Sessions resume tomorrow at Parklands in An Phu, District 2 from 9-10am. Price: VND100,000. All welcome. Contact for further details.

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Champs Game No. 3 Report: Vietnam Vs Barbarians

Posted by Vietnam Swans on October 22, 2010

Skipper Dukes tells us what happened in Game 3 against the Barbarians

Captain Luke “Dukes” Creamer prepares the match report for Game 3 of the Asian Champs between the Vietnam Swans and Barbarians.

The Crossroads

After dropping our first two games of the Champs against highly fancied opponents, the mighty Swannies were at what you could call… the crossroads. From here our tournament could have been a winless disaster or a glorious ground breaking success. The choice was ours.

Prior to this match, both the Swannies and the Barbarians hadn’t done much to trouble the scorers but both teams had shown glimpses of their true abilities.

The game didn’t start well for the Swannies as the Barbarians moved the ball quickly forward and scored a goal promptly. However, this was all the Swannies needed to get their proverbial rumps into gear and avert the aforementioned winless disaster.

This was the turning point of the Swannies Asian Champs campaign and, although it didn’t come easy, from here on, the Swannies fired up and pushed for their first ever Asian champs victory. As in all great victories there were no standouts but inch-by-inch the Swannies started to get on top.

Key reasons for the Swannies beginning to win this arm wrestle was the tireless Dave “Angry / Crazy” Hadley started to get it going our way in the ruck. Nat “strawbs o dwyer / luke hodge / dummy lead / aaron fiora / all asian player” Payne repelled every Barbarian forward foray like he was laying the smack down in the octagon. The twin pronged attack of Danny Armstrong and Timmay “the Vung Tau massive cage fighter” Clements were straightening us up and giving a focal point while Mat “the eveready bunny” Nattlotto and Kev “2 time Asian champs superstar and hot pants wearing swannie glamour boy” Hornblower kept pumping it into the forwards. All this led to the moment we had waited 4 years for: when Sam “Triple S” Stevens, also from the V.T.M., slotted a set shot from a near impossible angle to seal the result and make Swannies history.

The Barbarians were the Swannies first ever scalp in a Champs. Mega achievement in a mega city

On a side note, in light of the magnitude of this result you would have expected post game pandemonium. However, due to the fact that there was no scoreboard, some people were unsure of the result, so, it took a while for everyone to realise we had won… only in Asia.

Danny Arm and others did call for the song but as we felt bigger and better things were to come we were glad we waited until the end of the day to pump out one of the best renditions heard in Swannies history VFL, AFL inclusive.

From a personal point of view I think all the Swannies should be proud of the weekend’s result, which has been achieved by many peoples efforts over a long period of time. Well done you Swannies and let’s now make our next MASSIVE effort to hold the Indochina Cup aloft on our home turf next month on 27 November.

Honk Honk Dukes.

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Saigon Times: Swannies win first game at Champs

Posted by Vietnam Swans on October 22, 2010

The Saigon Times writes about the Swannies at the Champs

Yesterday, the Saigon Times reported that the held in Shanghai on 16 October 2010. Mic Smith is the journalist and the article is reproduced below.

The Vietnam Swans Australian football team won two games at the Australian Rules Football Asian Championships in Shanghai, China, on Saturday.

“It’s the first time the Swannies have won a game at the Asian Championships, so it shows how much the club has developed,” Phil Johns, the club president said in Shanghai.

The team of expat players mostly from Australia, who live in Vietnam, has been competing in the championships every year since 2007 without a win until they got up on Saturday.

A 24 strong squad plus coaches and supporters all met in China on Friday to get ready for the biggest competition of the year in Asian Football with expat teams from 12 countries across the region.

The Swan’s victories were against a mixed team called the Barbarians and the team from Thailand.

In the morning the Swans were beaten by the other two teams in their group, Singapore and Malaysia, but came back in the afternoon against the Barbarians after being a goal down at half time to win by a goal, then took control of the game against the Thailand Tigers.

“It’s something that’s been coming for four years. It’s a good reward for training,” said team captain Luke Creamer after the win.

The Swan’s ruckman, David Hadley, said it was a great feeling to win two, after not winning any games in three previous championships.

Dubai won the final against Singapore to collect the cup. Vietnam Swans came seventh over all beating eighth placed Malaysia.

During the day, one of the team’s coaches, Josh Little, presented a Swans number 44 jersey to Rohan Bail, a player from visiting AFL team, the Melbourne Demons, as a symbol of cooperation between the two teams.

The Demons were in the Chinese megacity to promote the sport to China in an Exhibition Match on Sunday as part of the Australian World Expo program. The match which attracted 7000 was considered a huge success.

Bail said that he was overwhelmed when he knew there was a team in Vietnam that was throwing its support behind him and he and his team were glad that a jumper he had donated previously to the team had been used to raise money for the Tri Bob swimming program to stop kids from drowning in Hoi An.

Other AFL legends such as Paul Salmon, Brian Taylor, Paul Licuria and Steve Silvagni, who came to the Championships on Saturday to see what Asian football was all about, said they were very impressed by the play.

This year’s championships were organized by the two clubs in China, Shanghai Tigers and Beijing Bombers.

The Swans president, Johns, said he wanted to hold the Championships in Vietnam in coming years as the support base was growing.

Click here for original article in pdf format in .

For further articles that have appeared in the press regarding the Vietnam Swans, click here.

Posted in Legend, Swim | 1 Comment »

Coach Josh reviews the Champs’ weekend

Posted by Vietnam Swans on October 21, 2010

Josh looks over the Shanghai weekend

Swannies Coach at last weekend’s Asian Champs, Josh Little, reviews the weekend. He argues quite convincingly that it was a hoot!

Friday morning (15 Oct) the most of the team ventured off to the Tan Son Nhat airport in Saigon to take on the 11th Annual Asian Championships in Shanghai. In the week leading up to the games, there was only one goal the team was trying to achieve: nothing short of a victory! The Swans had never tasted on-field success at the Asian Championships and now was the time to bring home the bacon.

There were issues from Day 1 with Mighty Rich trying to sneak a knife onto the plane! Luckily the security were on the ball and Rich was stripped of all his weapons.

The Maglev, the world's fastest, registers 431km/h

To motivate the team, Kev decided it would be appropriate for the side to travel on the from the airport. The train reached a top speed of 431km/h and the Vietnam Swans must have stood out like a sore thumb to all the business men on the train with photos and videos taking place every couple of seconds.

The Club arrived at the and some decided to go their separate ways. With Fabbo and Danny attending the AFL cocktail function and Asian Presidents’ Meeting, it was up to the rest of the team to find its way to the heart of Shanghai. After the team finally got its head around the ticketing and transportation procedure, the boys finally found the centre of Shanghai. With pretty lights and people everywhere, it was an amazing sight and a HOOT!

With an early start and big games in the morning, it was soft drinks all around and an early night’s sleep for the team. The boys were definitely “switched on”!

It's not a good omen when you're in China and your bus driver is looking for Vietnam

Saturday morning, the team departed from the hotel at 6:30am to arrive at the playing fields. Unfortunately the bus driver had no idea where that was. Thanks to the aid of technology, Timmy Clements showed the driver how to find the ground on his iphone. The Swans made it to the ground and everyone was determined for that all important first win at the Asia Championships!

As the games were played the team struggled with options. Lucas went down in the first game (but still received All Asian honours) and we had limited changes for the midfield. This resulted in the team dropping its first two games in what could of been a bleak afternoon at the Champs.

In true Swannies spirit, however, the team fought as hard as we possibly could to take out our first victory of the Championships against the Barbarians. Danny called for the team to sing the song there and then. We had to tell Danny to wait until after our last game.

Josh presents Melbourne's Rohan Bail with his No. 44 Swannies jumper

Between our third and fourth games, the team was very lucky to have the opportunity to meet one of the Melbourne Demons’ players in Rohan Bail. Just weeks earlier, the Vietnam Swans received Rohan’s signed jumper to auction off at our Grand Final Party. The Club was able to make contact with the Melbourne footy club which organised a time to meet in Shanghai to return the favour and present Rohan with a Vietnam Swans jumper.

Rohan Bail, the Senior Coach in Dean Baily and legend of the Demons in Brian Dixon came down to speak to the team. All were fantastic and so was Rohan who accepted the jumper. Rohan went on to explain how appreciative he was and how much he and his family loves travelling to Vietnam. You never know, maybe he could pull on the boots and play for the Swans one day?

Skipper Dukes reflects on being the Swannies first captain to taste on field success at the Champs

After the Melbourne guys moved on, the team was pumped up and ready for our next victim! The Swans faced an old rival in Thailand. The Tigers faced a team on a high that was determined to finish the Championships off 2-2. The Swans never looked like losing our final game!

The Swannies watched the Grand Final between Dubai and Singapore with the Hong Kong Dragons. We were keen to mix with their boys as we will play them at next year’s ANZAC Friendship Match in Vung Tau.

After the game, National President, Phil Johns, decided to thrill us with one of his typical speeches about the upcoming ANZAC Day event to the Vietnam and Hong Kong groups. It was at this point where Phil decided to talk about “how football is bridging the gap in between Australia and Indonesia”. Phil understood his mistake in confusing Vietnam and Indonesia and ended the speech there and then.

The Champs after match function

Saturday night was the after match function. The China Reds put on a great dinner with guest speakers, Brian Taylor, Steve Silvagni, Paul Salmon and Paul Licuria. With all the teams mingling and sharing stories, it was a great way to cap off the Champs. Most of the boys headed out together with some heading home early due to a big day in the sun and playing their hearts out in the 4 games. They escaped fines… just.

Sunday was the AFL’s Shanghai Showdown match between Melbourne and Brisbane. Watching the AFL’s first ever game in China was a highlight in its own right but seeing Liam Jurrah in full flight was simply amazing! Melbourne kicked the final 6 goals of the match to come from behind and win with Liam Jurrah taking 2 hangers in the final 5 minutes. It might have been the greatest AFL game ever played outside of Australia! Jurrah was best on ground with 5 goals, most of which came in the last quarter.

The Swannies, Mr Pa-ul, looking very pleased to be with Lions' super star, Simon Black

Like in the good old days, the crowd was welcomed onto the ground after the match and was able to mingle and speak with all the players and coaches. The Vietnam Swans couldn’t care less about the likes of Brendan Fevola, Simon Black, Aaron Davey or any other of the stars on the ground. We wanted to meet up with Rohan Bail and get our photo taken with the honorary Swan whilst he was still in his playing strip. Bail was involved in the final passage of play which resulted in the mark and goal to Jurrah. In the words of the National President, Rohan Bail was “seriously awesome”.

Out on the oval after the Shanghai Showdown

With the team all heading their separate ways for the final night in Shanghai, Glenn Nolan (President of the Vung Tau Massive) and myself were fortunate enough to attend the Melbourne Football Club’s function after the match. It was a great event with some of the greatest players to ever pull on the Melbourne jumper. Melbourne travelled with 150 people which was made up of the playing list, past players, staff and the board. It was clear that the Melbourne Football Club is united and everyone is considered an equal member of the club.

Glenn was lucky enough to get everyone to sign the Kaspersky cup banner which will be hung in . Everyone should keep an eye out for that next time you travel to Vungers.

On the Monday, after an action packed weekend, it was time for the boys to share their stories and jump on the bus and head to the airport. With the final fines session taking place, the team were officially “switched off” and ready to head home.

The weekend was a massive success and it would be impossible to thank everyone who made it happen. So I will just thank everyone who is involved with the Vietnam Swans because the great thing about this Club is that it’s all hands on deck and that’s exactly how we registered our first win. Team work!

Thanks again and let’s now all shift our focus to the Indochina Cup that will be held on 27 November in Saigon.

For lots more photos of the entire weekend, please check the which is growing bigger by the day as more photos are added.

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