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Australian Rules Football In Vietnam!

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Archive for July, 2011

Tracking down, ex POW, Bill Haskell’s family

Posted by Vietnam Swans on July 31, 2011

Margaret Hadfield's "Revisiting Hellfire Pass" features ex POW Bill Haskell.

In 2009, the Vietnam Swans were honoured to play the Thailand Tigers in their ANZAC Match at which three ex POWs attended, including the late Bill Haskell.

We also attended the ANZAC Dawn Service at Hellfire Pass. And so did Margaret Hadfield who, last week, left the note below on the Vietnam Swans website.

“I am a military artist from the where I am the Principal Artist and Director. I was at Hellfire Pass in 2009 for the Dawn Service as well as the Kanchanaburi Service.

“I have produced a painting which includes Bill Haskell. This painting was a finalist in the as well as the Fishers Ghost Art Prize (Campbelltown) 2010.

“I am wishing to contact relatives to let them know of the work which Bill is the centre of the painting. The work is called, Revisiting Hellfire Pass. I did not know his name but one of my students saw the photo of him in an ATO magazine recently.

“He is a real hero. I am very tired of footballers being called heroes so I am saddened to hear of his death but hope to hear from his descendants.”

The Vietnam Swans replied to Margaret advising that we had passed on her message to the Thailand Tigers on her behalf. Margaret wrote back:

“Thanks for your response.  As I said, I would just like to contact the family members to let them know of the artwork which I did when I did not know Bill’s name.

“I was also at both services (Dawn Service at Hellfire Pass and the Cemetery Service at Kanchanaburi) on that very HOT day.

“My partner, Dr Kathryn Spurling, who was travelling with me is the author of , a book of the ship, HMAS Perth which was sunk in the Java Sea. Many of the survivors were sent to the Thai Burma Railway. Kathryn was also on the recent TV series, . She was paying homage to the men in her book.”

The Vietnam Swans are pleased to report that the Thailand Tigers have forwarded the relevant contact details of Bill’s relatives through to Margaret.

Related items of interest:

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

The Vernon’s newsletter on Vung Tau Orphanage

Posted by Vietnam Swans on July 30, 2011

Some of the special lap tops donated to the orphanage

As well as Ron and Ailsa Vernon being Swannies, they are great supporters of an orphanage in Vung Tau. Below is an excerpt from their July 2011 Newsletter.

We have been back from Vietnam for two months and we are looking forward to being able to go back sooner rather than later. In making plans to go back for an extended stay again next year which includes ANZAC Day, there are a number of people who have indicated they want to join us there. It is very exciting to be able to introduce people to the project first hand…

We were able to take groups of the children on outings which we all loved. There is a lovely new childrens’ playground in a park which they enjoyed immensely and the little vendors enjoyed selling us drinks and snacks for the children. One day a number of children had to travel to Saigon for dental checkups so those who were left behind were very sad so we took them to the local shopping mall where they played in the fun parlour and then had lunch at KFC. We took a couple of different groups to the cable car and park where we all had a great time riding the huge toboggan ride and paddling the lake in the wooden swans (Ed’s note: Go you Wooden Swannies!!)…

To read the full newsletter, click onto

Posted in BOG | Leave a Comment »

$2,200 donated to Swim Vietnam yesterday in Hoi An

Posted by Vietnam Swans on July 28, 2011

It's all smiles and loivin' yesterday after the proceeds from Battle of the Codes was delivered! L to R: Glenn, Jo and Michael (MJ).

Yesterday, Glenn McVeigh, Manager of Al Fresco’s Hoi An, and the Swannies’ MJ handed over an envelope containing VND45.5 million (USD2,200) to Jo Stewart, Director of , at JASPA’s Beach Club, An Bang Beach, Hoi An.

The money was raised by the Hanoi members of the Vietnam Swans who co-organised a Trivia Night on 16 June 2011 with the wonderful assistance of our good friends at JASPAS in Hanoi Towers.

JASPAS Beach Club is also supporting beach lifesaving skills and patrols at An Bang Beach.

Below, Jo Stewart writes in.

Yesterday I received the money raised by the Swans at the Hanoi Trivia Pursuit night. Michael Johnston and Glenn McVeigh from Jaspas Hoi An made the handover of VND45.5 million (USD2,200).

As you can see from the attached photo it was a very friendly handover!

Swim Vietnam is training kids to feel comfortable in the water.

Thanks again to you all for the Swannies support for Swim Vietnam. We really appreciate all the hard work and time which has gone into this and other fund raising events. Your contribution to us this year have been fabulous. Thank you from all at Swim Vietnam and a particularly heartfelt thank you from me.

I will ensure that the money is spent in the best way possible to ensure the most children learn to swim through our program.

Just a quick update. We just completed the 3rd program of the summer (one more to go) and had the graduation ceremony last Sunday. I am still doing the analysis on all the final swim test results but it looks as if this has been our most successful program yet.

255 successfully completed the course and the results achieved were excellent. This is a direct result of the continued training and improvement of the Vietnamese teachers. More than 75 children were able to swim over 40 metres freestyle and one boy actually swam 900!!! Considering they could not swim at all six weeks ago, this is a very impressive result. However what is even more important was that nearly all the children completing the course could swim the required 20m and keep afloat for 2 mins as this is what is important for survival.

Many many thanks again and hope to see you soon


Jo, Swim Vietnam
Swim Vietnam is a charity which provides free swimming and water safety lessons to Vietnamese children
UK Charity Number SC042133


To see photos of the fundraiser (thanks MJ) and of Swim Vietnam (thanks Jo) in operation, .

Footnote: Special thanks to MJ, C Dan Hopkins and Adrian Enright who did so much to make the Battle of the Codes fundraiser actually happen.

Posted in Fundraiser | 2 Comments »

Photos from last week’s Hanoi Match available

Posted by Vietnam Swans on July 28, 2011

Aido gets his kick in just before C Dan arrives on the scene.

Thanks to the fine work of Keira, better half of Swannies’ gun player, Trent Mears, we now have photos of last weekend’s footy match in Hanoi. A whole library of photos can be seen on line by .

The match was a warm up for the Asian Champs so it wasn’t classified as a formal Heritage Round Match. The teams were mixed up accordingly with players from both cities representing both teams.

In the attached photo, Hanoi Coach, Adrian Enright just manages to get his kick away before the freight train in the form of Hanoi Prez, C Dan, arrives on the scene.

BTW, how good would Aido look in a Swannies top?? He will and you will get to see him. 13 August, Bangkok, 12th Annual Asian Championships.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Vietnamese “Footy Legend” wins top book award

Posted by Vietnam Swans on July 26, 2011

Anh Do wins award

Today, SBS’s World News Australia website has reported that .

The article goes on to say,

Comedian and author Anh Do has won the top prize for his novel ‘The Happiest Refugee’ at Australia’s top book awards.

Sydney-based Do won Book of the Year at the Australian Book Industry Awards in Melbourne last night. His family fled from Vietnam to Australia in a fishing boat in 1980 as refugees.

Do, best known for his leading role in the film (Ed’s note, that’s ‘rugby footy'; not ‘Aussie Rules footy’), was also joint winner of The Biography of the Year with musician Paul Kelly.

Based on a series of concerts first staged in 2004, Kelly’s memoir, How to Make Gravy, lists 100 of his songs in alphabetical order followed by stories about them. Some pieces are confessional, some tell Kelly’s personal and family history, and some take you on a road tour with the band.

The annual awards allocated 20 prizes to authors, booksellers and publishers from the past year. The winners are chosen by an academy of booksellers and publishers.

According to Wikipedia, is a , directed, written and produced by Khoa Do, starring his older brother Anh Do. It was filmed in and around Sydney, Australia, mostly in the western suburbs. Footy Legends was released in Australia on 3 August 2006.

Imagine if Anh Do had featured in an Aussie Rules film. Ooooh! How good would that have been??

Posted in Legend | Leave a Comment »

Hanoi footy weekend a big success!

Posted by Vietnam Swans on July 25, 2011

The National stadium, My Dinh, was the backdrop to Saturday's match.

For the first time since August of last year, Saigon travelled to Hanoi for a footy match. The match was played at a ground just behind the My Dinh National Stadium.

Six players made the journey from Saigon to play a match that was designed to better prepare the national team for next month’s Asian Championships in Bangkok. As such, the teams were mixed up so that the Hanoi and Saigon players were split evenly between the teams.

There was a feast of goals. Shag booted 8; and Dave booted 7.

After the match, we all headed off to Don’s on West Lake for dinner.

Hanoi will contribute 10 players to our Asian Championships campaign this year which is a huge effort.

Special thanks to Hanoi Prez, C Dan and Hanoi coach, Adrian – as well as their support crew – who put together such a fantastic weekend. Also, special mention to Kev from Saigon who flew up just for the day to play in the match.

Bring on the Asian Champs.

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Timmay trys to save young boy’s life

Posted by Vietnam Swans on July 22, 2011

The Swim Vietnam program in Hoi An

As you will be aware, the Vietnam Swans are active supporters of swimming initiatives in Vietnam to reduce the number of drownings (click here for more information). In Vietnam, more children die from drowning than road accidents.

This afternoon, Swannies’ player, Tim Clements was at the beach in Vung Tau. He sent the following message:

Just gave CPR to a kid on the beach but he died. Was too far gone in the water. Chilling reminder of the lack of awareness with respect to CPR and swimming in this country. Made me realise that the thing the Vietnam Swans contribute to is so important.

Do they teach CPR in it? Or just swimming? When I got to the kid, they were trying to push his stomach.

Mick Johnston replied,

That is so sad. Imagine how you would have felt if you didn’t have a clue what to do. The reason the Vietnam Swans chose to support the Tri Bob /Swim Vietnam programn is because it has the AustSwim Train the Trainer course that includes Red Cross CPR and other things for two days. The Hoi An Vietnamese Red Cross instructor knows his stuff and is a good communicator.

The more we can do to improve the situation, the better.

The Vietnam Swans recognise and applaud Tim’s courage at such a critical moment. While his intervention did not save the young boy’s life, his action has certainly educated a few onlookers who may be in a position to save someone else’s life next time.

For more information on Swim Vietnam, .

On 10-11 September 2011, the will be held in Hoi An. A percentage of the proceeds shall be donated to Swim Vietnam.

Posted in Swim | Leave a Comment »

Heritage Round Match, Hanoi, Saturday 23 July

Posted by Vietnam Swans on July 20, 2011

On Saturday, the Swannies return to My Dinh. The last time was against the Thailand Tigers in Nov 2005.

On Saturday 23 July 2011, the Swannies will again return to the grounds outside the My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi to play a Heritage Round Match.

Last time we played there it was the then Hanoi Swans against the Thailand Tigers on 26 November 2005 in front of a crowd of 200.

This week, it will be a Heritage Round Match between the North and the South.

The Boys from Hanoi are planning on putting on a great show on and off the field. Below is the schedule for the weekend.

Friday, 22 July

  • Saigon boys arrive in Hanoi
  • 8.00pm – Beers at Jaspas, Hanoi Towers

Saturday, 23 July

  • 12 midday – Bus departure to ground. Address: 1 Le Quang Dao St, My Dinh
  • 1.00pm – On the track
  • 4.00pm – Bus back to hotels
  • 6.30pm – Bus to after match function, Don’s
  • 7.00pm – Don’s free flow and buffet
  • 11.00pm – Hanoi Rock City

Sunday, 24 July

  • 12 midday – Jaspas, AFL football

A great weekend coming up!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Veteran Bomber broadsides Pies in Vietnam

Posted by Vietnam Swans on July 19, 2011

Stan Middleton with 1958 Brownlow Medalist, Neil Roberts, at the Vietnam Swans / Vietnam Veterans / Southern Dragons / Sydney Swans MCG function last year.

Official historian of the Vietnam Football League during the War, Stan Middleton, has responded to an innocuous email from the Swannies that acknowledged the improvement of his Essendon Bombers this year.

Stan then replied with an extraordinary and stinging attack on the Collingwood Football Club. Read below!

Yes very happy after Essendon’s mid-year slump! The future looks good!

Would be good to have a draw like Collingwood! Recently they played their first game out of Melbourne after 21 games (18 played at the MCG and 3 at Etihad). Even then they played Sydney at the ANZ Stadium which Sydney hate! Their home ground is the SCG and they play their best there.

Two more interstate games only for them this year (3 in total). A holiday at the Gold Coast and Fremantle in Perth! No wonder they like going to Arizona as they would rarely get to travel otherwise!

Are you aware that whenever Collingwood play an away game at the MCG, the home team has to use the visitors’ rooms? Collingwood never has to change rooms at the MCG! I went into the Hawthorn rooms last year for the Collingwood v Hawthorn game and my friend John explained why Hawthorn were using the “away” rooms for their home game!

Carlton had the home game last Saturday but as well as the change rooms could not use the functions rooms of the home team because Collingwood get them for all their games; not just home games!

So every game for Collingwood at the MCG is totally a home game for them! I don’t think it is very fair and is even worse now they have a good team!

The AFL even has arranged for the Grand Final to be on the 1st October as Collingwood can’t win Grand Finals in September (last one they won was 1958!). 1990 they won in October because of a drawn final and same last year! So to make sure they win this year, the AFL made Grand Final day in October as well!

I wonder if a player from another club would have had the last 6 weeks of a suspension suspended so that the player could play in the finals (Heath Shaw)! I don’t think so!! I would bet on that!! Shaw had to own up because they told him he was on CCTV when the bet was made! So they suspended part of his suspension for being honest!!

There you are Swannies; a bit of stuff for you to stir all the Collingwood supporters up in Vietnam about!

Stan’s comments have indeed proved controversial sparking a number of emails to this website:

Could this be Stan's letter box? We all hope not.

Reader 1

Mmmm… Stan’s dealing with some baggage… Did a Collingwood supporter break Stan’s letterbox? Run off with his wife? Or maybe Woodsmen just smashed his team!! Again!!!!

Reader 2

It just may be that Stan cares and is worried about all the travel the little ‘Pies have to do as it could affect their performance at the end of year. The poor little ‘Pies could get tired!

Reader 3

I asked Greg to explain the horrible inequity that was outlined in Stan Middleton’s email. He replied, ‘It’s common sense’. (Greg happens to be a Collingwood supporter.)

Reader 4

Loved the Swannies’ new logo but loved Stan’s letter even more… It is not fair and it is not a level playing ground in the AFL. Give the Pies a bit more stick…

With News Corp somewhat preoccupied with its own issues at the moment, the Swannies Blog pledges to continue being hard hitting – even if controversial –  just so that we can break the stories that you need to know.

Do you have a comment to make re Stan’s email? Leave it below!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Southern Dragons need Swannies help. Now!

Posted by Vietnam Swans on July 18, 2011

John Hong (front row, far right) with Swannies, Vietnam Veterans and Bobby Skilton at last year's Sydney Swans pre match function at the Melbourne V Sydney match at the MCG on 25 July.

John Hong, of the is seeking help for his footy club. Currently a Blood Oath competition is running where the Club that is nominated the most times will win $30,000. And, the Dragons are sitting in 2nd place at the moment trailing by just 180 votes. See below for John’s plea.

Family and friends, please help my footy club, the Southern Dragons, by searching for Blood Oath on Then, go to the app, take the oath and nominate Southern Dragons as your club.

We are 2nd on the leaderboard trailing by just 180.

If we win, the club gets much needed funds (30k) to further our cause of multicultural inclusive footy club, “Many cultures, one game”. Bloody oath… Thank you…

To nominate the Southern Dragons .

The Southern Dragons is a footy club from Melbourne with most players of Asian descent – especially Vietnamese descent. The Dragons recently donated one of their footy jumpers to the Swannies which is currently being framed. It will hang on the walls of Swannies Sponsor, Tommy’s Sports Bar in Vung Tau. Wow!

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Kochie supports coaches and sprays Saigon!

Posted by Vietnam Swans on July 16, 2011

Kochie gives us all a bit of a wake up call.

Paul Koch – that’s Mr Pow-ell – has just gonged the boys from the ‘Gon and told them they need to step up to the plate and lift their level of fitness. Mr Pow-ell can talk. Most mornings at 5.30am he walks the talk by riding his bicycle 30kms. His email is reproduced below without permission but does include each and every exclamation mark!

As the oldest and slowest and least skillful player in the team, I need all the help I can get. That’s why I am putting in the extra effort to get as fit as I can for the Champs!

So I say to all you young guys in the TEAM (that is everyone else from my perspective), it is time to stand up and be counted! Get to footy training! Get to Hanoi! And get your running boots on and GET FIT!!

Derrin and the coaching panel are putting a lot of effort in to this. It is time we made the effort to support them!

It WILL pay off big time in Bangkok! I personally don’t expect a lot of game time but I do expect the guys on the field to able to run out the Grand Final because they put the effort in.

As an old footy coach once said to me, “You make your own luck by hard work!”

Ed’s note: Mr Pow-ell’s email is a timely reminder that we will harvest at the Champs what we sow now. The more people overtly supporting the coaches in Hanoi and Saigon to get people to each training session and being prepared to do extra training in their own time, the better.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Saigon President’s weekly update

Posted by Vietnam Swans on July 15, 2011

Crowds queue in Hanoi for tickets to next weekend's Heritage Round match.

Saigon Prez, Dez, gives us the weekly update.

Another great run on Wednesday night.  The commitment was fantastic and I am sure that you can all feel and see the difference so far.  Let’s keep up the good work

Tomorrow training is on as usual at RMIT at 2 30 pm.  We had a lot of good feedback from last weekend and this week will be even better so please make the effort to get along.

As I said to the boys on Wednesday night, if we don’t have the footy then it is not going to be a lot of fun. If we don’t go and get the footy then the opposition will take it.  If we are not fit enough to go and get the footy then we will be chasing it all day.  The work we do now will allow us to play some good footy in Bangkok.  It is too late to start putting in the extra effort a week beforehand.  In fact ,we will be winding things down in the last week to ensure that everyone is fresh and ready to go when we arrive.

There are extra training sessions in several locations around HCMC.  In District 2, I will be arranging a running group on most mornings during the week.  Plus I can also recommend some cross fit sessions also held in An Phu at 5 45 am everyday.  These session help to build your core body strength and fitness. For those in District 1 or 4, Nick Shiells will be arranging similar sessions, so if this suits you best, please contact him directly.

Hanoi – We are go!

The trip to Hanoi on the weekend of the 23rd July is on.  So if you haven’t already, go and book your tickets now. This will be a valuable part of our preparation and will give us a chance to have a run with the Hanoi guys.  There are a few new players in their ranks so it will be a lot better than meeting them all for the first time at the Champs.  If you cannot make it but will still be in HCMC for whatever reason, we will look at trying to run some sort of session to ensure that this weekend is not wasted for you.

Dan our new Hanoi President is busy making sure everything is in place to make our trip a good one. They are also going to send me through some options for Hotels which I will forward as soon as I can.

Accommodation for Asian Champs – Bookings are now final.  

Thanks for everyone getting back to me and confirming your booking.  The Club will be paying for this in advance so if you have confirmed your booking you are locked in to pay also.  We are going to have a good touring group for the Champs which is great and will mean that the weekend is going to be huge.   If you haven’t booked your accommodation yet then you will need to contact the hotel directly to make a booking.  Remember that the bus will be leaving at 6 30 am on Match Day to go the Champs, so make sure you are in the same hotel or close by.

See you all tomorrow.

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