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Australian Rules Football In Vietnam!

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Archive for April, 2011

Ossie says thanks for ANZAC Friendship Weekend

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 30, 2011

Ossie speaks at the Gala Dinner. Photo, Adam Martin.

Richard Ossie Osborne has written to the Vietnam Swans National President, Phil Johns, to thank everyone involved for last weekend’s 2011 ANZAC Friendship Weekend – in particular, sponsors Jim Beam, Pest Free and the Caravelle Hotel. Below is his email.

Dear Phil

I wanted to pen an open letter to all involved in the ANZAC Friendship Weekend in Vung Tau last weekend.

Firstly to you Phil, without your incredible organising and all around passion for life and everything Aussie Rules, I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for involving me in the most amazing five days of my life, bar none.

To all involved in their passionate pursuits involving orphaned kids and helping them live a happy and peaceful life, god love your beautiful hearts.

To Glenn at Tommy’s Bar in Vung (Tau) Wow, you are a legend mate and your knowledge of battle sights and the Long Tan area made it a memorable site to visit.

Dan Kindness at the Long Tan Cross addresses Swannies including Ossie. Photo, Adam Martin.

To all the Vietnam Vets involved in the weekend and particularly the ANZAC Day Dawn Service at the Long Tan Cross, your sacrifices to the land down under are now stuff of legend in my eyes.

I would also like to thank all my team mates, both with the Vietnam Swans and the Hong Kong Dragons, who’s company made it all the more memorable.

There are too many names to mention, but I would also like to thank everyone I met, involved in the weekend, it was a pleasure to share your company over a few beers.

A weekend like this would, of course, have been impossible for me to be a part of, without the generous support of sponsors Jim Beam, the Caravelle Hotel and Pest Free, to name a few.

Everybody should be so proud about the way they are representing the great game of Australian Rules in many areas of South East Asia and for that, I salute you.

Warmest Regards
Richard Osborne

Posted in Legend | Leave a Comment »

Saigon Prez, Dez Limbrick gives a quick ANZAC wrap up

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 29, 2011

The Saigon President, Dez, with his wife, Fleur, last weekend.

Saigon President, Derrin Limbrick gives a quick wrap up of the ANZAC Friendship Weekend.

Gents, what a fantastic weekend we have just had in Vung Tau. The Legends game got the day off to a great start and was great to watch. Last weekend also marked our first ever win over the Dragons which highlights the growth of our football club. I have to say it was one of the best performances I have been involved in and having had a chance to reflect, I can say that all the hard work and training that everyone put in really did pay off. Every year the Swans just seem to keep getting bigger and better.

There are lots of special mentions I need to make. Well done to Angry Dave and Trento for taking out the best on ground and Captain’s award respectively. We also had a few guys who were potentially having their last run for the Swannies. Angry Dave, Rob Visentini and Greg Stanton. Plus we need to remember our Hanoi Prez Willy, who was due to play his last game but due to very unfortunate circumstances, had to head back to Australia due to his mother passing away.

An event like this does not happen without all the people who chipped in over the weekend so a big thanks to you all. It was also fantastic to see how many visitors to Vietnam wanted to help out and be a a part of our football club. It is truly a great thing to be a Swannie.

Training is cancelled for this weekend. We are giving everyone a well deserved week off. In our place the Saigon Gaelic Team will be training at our usual time of 2 30 pm at RMIT. If you’re keen to have a run with the Gaelic team, you are more than welcome to train. They are in preparation for the SE Asian Champs on 14 May and would love to have you along.

See you all next week and I hope that you all have a safe and happy long weekend (Vietnam has a 4 day long weekend).

Don’t forget though, we have some great things coming up soon! The Swing to Swim Charity Golf Day is on the 14th May in Hoi An. If you are keen to get along or sponsor the event please let Fabbo or myself know asap.

Our next match is against the AFL Masters on June 1st. Ex AFL player Richard Champion is their coach and I am sure that there will be some other big names turning up so it promises to be a great night.

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A word from the Swannies’ National President for the ANZAC Match

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 29, 2011

Swannies National President, Phil Johns

Below is a message from the National President of the Vietnam Swans, Phil Johns. The message appeared in the .

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Welcome to the 2011 ANZAC Friendship Match at the Greyhound Racing Track, formerly known as the Lord Mayor’s Oval, in Vung Tau, Vietnam.

Today we will commemorate the fallen; predominantly fathers, sons and brothers from a number of countries – including our own – who violently lost their lives during violent periods of history.

Today, we will remember lives violently and indiscriminately taken: fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters, in recent floods, earthquakes and tsunamis during a peaceful period of history.

Today, we will celebrate the lives of people close to the Swannies’ community: Maria Russo (Joe’s mother), Colin Koch (Paul’s father), Graham Steward (former strapper for the then Hanoi Swans) and Maureen Williams (Willy’s mother). Each died recently and peacefully during a peaceful time.

Today, we will raise money to support orphanages and to save young Vietnamese lives by teaching them how to swim.

More than 40 years ago, the then Lord Mayor’s Oval hosted matches of an exotic code known as footy, Australia’s signature sport.

Today’s footy match, at the very same venue, collapses time by bridging two eras separated by vast oceans. Coming off the bridge, we are struck not by the differences but the similarities. Sure, there are some who handball an oval ball while others kick a round ball. And then there are some who put their beer on ice while others put their ice in beer.

But really, most of us are all doing the same thing: we’re just trying to raise our families, meet the boss’ deadlines and catch up with friends.

The Vietnam Swans recognise, however, that for some, the journey to this ground today has been difficult. We salute your courage.

Vietnam has been a magnificent and welcoming host country for those of us who make up the Vietnam Swans. For this, we thank you most sincerely. And, that is why we are so pleased to use today’s ANZAC Friendship Match as a vehicle to showcase Vietnam 2011, a young, vibrant, resourceful and modern country – with a rich and proud history spanning thousands of years.

Thank you to all of you who have come to today’s 2011 ANZAC Friendship Match between the Vietnam Swans and the Hong Kong Dragons.

Enjoy your time – and Go Swannies!

Phil Johns
National President
Vietnam Swans

Click onto to download a full copy.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

A Word from the Consul General at the ANZAC Match

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 29, 2011

Consul General, Graeme Swift addresses the crowd, pre match. Photo Adam Martin

Below is a message from the Australian Consul General to HCMC, Mr Graeme Swift. The message appeared in the .

Friends, I’d like to welcome you to the 2nd Annual ANZAC Friendship Weekend in Vung Tau. It’s my honour to be involved in an event that celebrates the modern friendship between Australia and Vietnam, particularly on a weekend when Australians pause to remember the sacrifices made by their compatriots in places across the world.

Monday’s Dawn Service is a chance to show our respect to the fallen, reflect on the tragedy of war and how selfless service by many, many thousands has been a major part of the formation of the modern society we all call home.   More and more veterans are returning to Vietnam each year to commemorate the service of their friends and contribute to the building of friendship between our two countries, and I especially welcome them today.

Australians are a practical people, and this event is also a tremendous example of the efforts Australians bring to bear in helping others. Each of the three charities benefiting from the weekend’s events are having a positive impact on the communities in which they work, and they exist because of the dedication and generosity of their organisers and volunteers. I encourage each of you to consider how you might make your own contribution.

Of course, the weekend kicks off with a football match on the historic Dog Track Oval, and what a match it promises to be! I’d like to pay tribute to the Vietnam Swans and their supporters throughout the country and their efforts to grow this ANZAC Friendship Weekend into the celebration and commemoration that the occasion deserves, noting the work of the community here in Vung Tau in particular. I’d also like to welcome the Hong Kong Dragons to Vietnam, and thank them for accepting the invitation to take part. As the first international side to play the ANZAC Friendship Weekend game, I trust that the occasion will be one they remember fondly in years to come.

I wish the weekend’s events every success.


Graeme Swift
Australian Consul General
HCMC, Vietnam

Click onto to download a full copy.

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A word from Hong Kong President, Robert Burns, for the ANZAC Match

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 29, 2011

Hong Kong President, Robert Burns, with Richard "Ossie" Osborne.

The message below from the President of the Hong Kong Dragons appeared in the 2011 ANZAC Friendship Match footy record.

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

The opportunity to combine playing Australian Rules Football in a foreign country whilst at the same time making a meaningful contribution to strengthening local cultural ties with Australia is rarely offered.

When asked by the Vietnam Swans President, Phil Johns, to participate in the first international ANZAC Friendship Match, the Hong Kong Dragons quickly responded with a resounding “yes”.

The Hong Kong Dragons and Vietnam Swans have had a long standing friendship over a number of years and the ANZAC Friendship Match not only strengthens our relationships with the Vietnam Swans but gives our players and club the opportunity to contribute to the enormous good will being generated in bringing Vietnam and Australia closer together as neighbors and friends.

We look forward not only to a closely contested game on the field, but also to a few cold drinks and stories shared with friends afterwards.

The tour to a Local Orphanage and the Dawn Service on Easter Monday will be highlights of the tour.

The Hong Kong Dragons feel humbled and honored be to invited as the first team to contest this first international ANZAC Friendship Match.

We look forward to this event running for many years ahead and thank the Vietnam Swans in advance for their hospitality.

Robert Burns
Hong Kong Dragons

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Monkey spotted in MCG’s ANZAC Day crowd

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 28, 2011

Monkey - a refreshing sight of a Swannie in the ANZAC crowd.

As well as there being an ANZAC Friendship Match in Vung Tau, they also have an ANZAC Day clash at the MCG each year between Essendon and Collingwood.

However, this year’s mega crowd at the MCG was different. Amongst the sea of faces was none other than the Swannies’ own, Monkey – our most recent former captain who has most recently married Kels. He is pictured to the side wearing his Swannies shirt and he is a living legend.

Monkey reports, “90,000 Bombers, Pies and… one Swan!!!”

and see some amazing “fan cam” technology. You see the whole crowd – 360 degrees – and then you can zero in on your target, Mr Monkey. Incredible.

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Official Photographer’s photos now available for ANZAC Match

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 27, 2011

The Swannies line up prior to the ANZAC Friendship Match (Adam Martin, Asian Images)

Adam Martin from , and Official Photographer of the Vietnam Swans, has just released his photos of the 2011 ANZAC Friendship Match held in Vung Tau.

His photos can be found on the .

The photos cover the Legends’ Match, the ANZAC Friendship Match and the Dawn Service.

The Vietnam Swans thank very much for his generosity and excellent photographs.

To see more of Adam’s professional work, click onto .

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ANZAC Friendship Match photos by Colin Connelley

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 27, 2011

Nick in action against the Dragons: Fabbo in the Legends' Match

Colin Connelly has uploaded 143 photos onto his own web album which can be found by .

Above, Nick Shiells in action against Hong Kong in the ANZAC Friendship Match and Fabbo, playing for the Hanoi Swans, in the preceding Legends’ and All Stars’ Match.

Photos by Swans’ Official photographer, Adam Martin, to follow.

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Channel 9’s report on the Long Tan Dawn Service

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 26, 2011

Channel 9's Peter Harvey reports on the ANZAC Dawn Service at the Long Tan Cross

Channel 9’s Peter Harvey, reports on the 2011 ANZAC Day Dawn Service at the Long Tan Cross.

The Vietnam Swans and Hong Kong Dragons attended the service having played our ANZAC Friendship Match two days earlier on 23 April.

to play the video.

Do you have Peter Harvey’s report on the match which was aired on Channel 9 News? Contact the now!

More to follow.

Footnote: When Peter Harvey worked for 60 Minutes, he did a story on . The story was aired on 13 August 2006. to see it on You Tube.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Channel 9’s Peter Harvey tweets; first photos from ANZAC Friendship Match

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 26, 2011

The 2011 ANZAC Friendship Match. Channel 9's Peter Harvey sends tweets.

We understand that the 2011 ANZAC Friendship Match received some good coverage on National Nine News back in Australia. So far, we are still to view the footage ourselves.

However, Peter Harvey, the journalist who attended the match, has been tweeting (see ). His recent tweets include:

  • Saigon challenge / x the road without looking / works somehow. So far. 20 April.
  • Watching a wedding outside Saigon cathedral – pix in the street- traffic going round the bridal party. All good – so far. 21 April.
  • Watching Vietnam Swans play the Hong Kong Dragons Anzac afl game Vung Tau – only 35 degrees and no shade. 23 April.
  • Footy match that began in 1966 in Vietnam still rolls – Nine News tonight – go the Swannies. 24 April.
  • Deeply moving Dawn Service at Long Tan. Hundreds there – Channel 9 the only media. Shame on the rest of the TV etc. 25 April.

Meanwhile, Fleur Limbrick (MC and wife of Saigon Prez) has forwarded the first photos of the ANZAC Friendship Match. They can be viewed on the .

Colin Connelly has very kindly forwarded a link to his of both the Legends’ and ANZAC Friendship matches.

Photos from the Vietnam Swans’ official photographer, Adam Martin, are expected to be available from tomorrow evening, Tuesday 27 April.

More to follow.

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AFL’s ANZAC Footy Record previews Ossie’s trip to Vietnam

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 25, 2011

Osborne's Vietnam odyssey to help save lives

The AFL’s ANZAC edition of the AFL Footy Record has previewed Richard “Ossie” Osborne’s trip to Vietnam for the 2011 ANZAC Friendship Match.

The article entitled Osborne’s Vietnam odyssey to help save lives can be found on Page 15 of the AFL’s . Or by clicking

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Swannies Prez reports on ANZAC Friendship Match

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 24, 2011

The Shield played for in the late 1960s in Vung Tau (Kevin Back & Bob McKenna after 2AOD won the 1968 Grand Final)

National President Phil Johns speaks about yesterday.

Dear Swannies, Sponsors and Supporters

Yesterday, the Vietnam Swans recorded an historic and convincing victory against the Hong Kong Dragons in the 2011 ANZAC Friendship Match. The final scores were 12. 17. 89 to 7. 5. 47.

It is true that travelling is tough and the Dragons weren’t helped by the fact that this weekend falls during Easter. However, it’s also true that just 11 months ago when the Swannies travelled to Hong Kong (which served as our farewell tour for Monkey (our then Skipper), JD and Jerry), we were smashed by over 100 points. Until yesterday, we had played Hong Kong four times for four losses.

Yesterday’s match demonstrated a marked improvement in the Swannies’ game plan and skill level. It was a credit and tribute to the commitment and dedication of the coaching panel and players – including the players who played in the earlier Legends’ and All Stars Match which the Rest of Vietnam Swans beat the Hanoi Swans by two points.

The new shield that is about to have the results of the 2010 and 2011 ANZAC Friendship Matches.

Special mention to David Hadley who won the Best on Ground trophy as judged by veterans Ron Vernon and Kev McMillan (the trophy was generously donated by Ken Earney).

Ex AFL star, Richard “Ossie” Osborne made a sneak appearance on the field (thanks to JIm Beam, Pest Free and the Caravelle Hotel) playing the first half for the Swannies and the second half for the Dragons.

In the pre match formalities, the Australian Consul General, Graeme Swift, welcomed the crowd. The NZ Consul General, Graham Sims, introduced the minute’s silence commemorating the lives lost during multiple wars, the victims of the Queesnland floods, the Christchurch earthquake and the Japan tsunami. He also made special mention of members of the extended Swannies family who have recently passed away: Maria Russo (Joe’s mother), Colin Koch (Paul’s father), Graham Steward (former strapper who lived in Hanoi several years ago) and Maureen Williams (Willy’s mother).

New Zealand and Australian national anthems were sung live by Elizabeth Mason. The Vietnamese national anthem was sung by Vietnamese women and children dressed in their traditional ao dais

In front of Ron Vernon, we then played on the same ground that he had won his 1967 Premiership in the Vietnam Football League when playing for the RAAF…

The after match dinner was held outdoors on the 4th floor of the Petro Hotel overlooking the Dog Track / Lord Mayor’s Oval where we had played earlier.

Amazing weekend that is still happening. Battlefield tours today. Long Tan ANZAC Dawn Service tomorrow followed by the live telecast of the Collingwood-Essendon ANZAC Match…

Thank you very much to Hong Kong for coming to  Vung Tau for our first international ANZAC Friendship Match.

Congratulations to the Vietnam Swans for winning the 2011 ANZAC Friendship Match – and the style in which it was won.

Related points of interest:

  • See embedded photos below of the final scoreboard with the new ANZAC Friendship Shield (modelled on the Shield used by the players in the Vietnam Football League in the late 1960s) and the venue for last night’s dinner with the Lord Mayor’s oval in the background.
  • Australia’s Channel 9 News is expected to include a story by Peter Harvey on yesterday’s ANZAC Friendship Match match in tonight’s 6pm News Bulletin.
  • This weekend’s includes an article on Osborne’s Vietnamese odyssey to help save lives (see Page No. 15) which mentions the ANZAC Friendship Match and the Vietnam Swans’ support for swimming initiatives.
  • This morning, Veteran, John Carey was on ABC Radio (Macca’s Australia all Over program) speaking about the ANZAC Friendship Match and ANZAC Dawn Service.
  • 1377MTR Melbourne radio station shall have a live interview with our Saigon President, Derrin Limbrick, on Tuesday during their afternoon drive time slot.
  • Last week, the Vietnam Swans received a letter from the Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh, thanking the people of Vietnam who contributed to the Queensland Floods Relief Appeal.

Posted in Farewell, Legend, Scoreboard | 4 Comments »


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