Vietnam Swans

Australian Rules Football In Vietnam!

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Archive for January, 2012

DOS sends urgent Footy SOSr in Binh Duong (near SGN)

Posted by Vietnam Swans on January 31, 2012

Dave O'Shea, Best on Ground in last year's Indochina Cup Final, sends out a footy SOS.

Dave O’Shea picked up a Best on Ground award in the Grand  Final of last year’s Indochina Cup Final. He lives and works in Binh Duong Province (north of Saigon) and the footy break for Christmas and TET is killing him. So, he’s sent out an urgent SOSr (Save Our Sausage Rolls) to the troops.

He’s now running training drills out in Binh Duong. And it all starts on Thursday at 5pm. Sharp!

Dear Swannies,

If anyone else is starving for a kick, I have good news. We will be having a kick at Binh Duong on Thursday 2 February at 5pm. This will continue throughout the year, if we have enough numbers.

of where the field is.

For those coming from District 1, you just have to drive straight from Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street. The road changes name, but you just keep going straight for about 30-40 minutes, then turn right at VSIP 1.

Also you can call me on 0120 378 4332 if you have any problems finding the ground.

Hanoi, Hoi An/Danang, Saigon, Vung Tau and now Binh Duong. Swannies have gone viral!

Go you Swannies!

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DT spends 5 Minutes with the Flyer. Pt 1

Posted by Vietnam Swans on January 30, 2012

The Flyer (2011 Asian Champs) says to the former - and very regal - Hanoi Prez, DT (pictured on first Swannies tour, KL, May 2005), "I want to talk to you for 5 minutes!"

Dave Kainey is “The Flyer”. And he’s just asked the former President of the original Hanoi Swans from 2005-06, Daryl “DT/Smooth” Taber for 5 Minutes…

1. Smooth, you arrived in Hanoi (you thought as a teacher at the UN International School (UNIS))  to have a run with the original Hanoi Swans outfit and set up an Auskick  Program. How did this all happen from your point of view?

Our Elementary Principal was a Hanoi Swans fan and Ambassador of the club, Colleen Breheney. She proudly told me about the Swans as did you on my first official work day.

DT with his Auskickers at UNIS in 2006 - all dressed in Swannies' tops.

Auskick was fun. I’d been involved with it in many schools in Aus. You were the most enthusiastic of all, Dave, and I just enjoyed the assistant’s role initially.

We had kids from all over the planet and they were as keen as mustard. In my 2nd year, I arranged to meet Dan ‘the man’ Hogarth, who was working in an AFL store in Melbourne and he gave me a real good deal on some kids footies (nudge, nudge; wink, wink!) to take back to Hanoi!

The highlight was our boys and girls playing before the main games at UNIS. The lowlight was Phil “Fabbo” Johns ‘taking out’ a skinny 10 year old in a scratch match. For an awful few seconds I really thought Fabbo had taken the killer instinct pep talk a tad too far!

It was also very satisfying representing the Swans and donating goods to very needy street kids and also to some of the kids in the orphanages around town. We also got to play footy with them but they thought the shape of our ball was a bit strange.

(To read a summary of the Hanoi Swans involvement with the Warmhouse Orphanage and the beginning of the interest in supporting swimming initiatives, click onto Hanoi Swans help local kids.)

The Swans take on Thailand next to the National Stadium in Hanoi, November, 2005. (Proposed venue for 2012 Indochina Cup)

2. You took over the President’s role in 2005,  a time when the club was emerging as a serious participant in Asian Football. What was your biggest challenge? And on a lighter note – what were some of the funny things that happened?

There are many fantastic memories, particularly of the people I worked closely with and others that would just walk in off the street and want to join us.

I inherited a great committee that was very generous, both with time and cash.  Scott Stacey, Josh Magennis, Micky Francis, Big Trav Fennell, Michael Johnston and Phil Johns were great to work with. We needed to boost our numbers by attracting the many tourists and volunteer workers in Hanoi so we kept everything very affordable.

Very early on, we strived to ‘sell’ tours to Vietnam in Asian Footy circles. We couldn’t be the best team but we aimed to be the best hosts.  We laid it on thick right from the start including transport for visiting teams, outstanding playing venues that included the Vietnam National Stadium, and plenty of local cuisine and culture.

A younger, quieter and fitter Phil Johns emerged and one of the challenges we faced together was getting the website up and running. We’d wait in my classroom for hours for the ‘techy’ to arrive and in the meantime we discussed how to put some of our grand plans into place in what became our office at times.

The Swannies win the 2005 AFL Grand Final at Jacc's (now JASPAS), Hanoi!. Inset, DT catching flies at the 2006 GF.

Of course, the good times in Hanoi included fantastic AFL Grand Final functions, held on the 4th Floor of Hanoi Towers, then known as JACC’s (now known as JASPAS). We put in a lot of work to ensure people had a great day.

In 2005, the Sydney Swans, wearing our strip, triumphed over the West Coast Eagles, just. That was the ‘Leo Barry Mark’ year. West Coast got their revenge the following year winning by a point in another classic.

Another GF had our own stalwart, Bubbles, ‘popping’ everywhere when his very own Port Adelaide won (Bubbles ended up blowing bubbles when he found himself having an unscheduled swim in the pool). A lot of guests commented that our GF function had been the best day of their Asian trip.

Another highlight was the look on Gus McEwin’s face was pretty funny when I genuinely asked him to be skipper after Jarrod Dale did his knee the game beforehand!

Going to the salubrious Barracuda Bar (owned by Swannies Mick Francis, Trav Fennell and Clint Lambert) early mornings to watch the AFL Finals was surreal as the Bar and staff had barely recovered from a typically huge night.

The Swannies take on the AFL ALL Stars at Dead Cat Stadium in Hanoi, Oct 2006.

I also remember playing an AFL All Stars tour group at Dead Cat Stadium (players included triple premiership player Clarke Keating and single premiershippers Aaron Keating and Craig Starcevich. There was also the late Rob Dickson and St Kilda’s Sammy Gilbert who went on to become an infamous photographer).

They were on a tour through Vietnam with CARE Australia to raise money and awareness for HIV/AIDS prevention). We had about 20 players in Swans jerseys on the soccer pitch at once, in the ‘dark’, all trying to get a stat against the stars.

When the footy went over the fence we’d sprint to get it as quick as possible before it was whisked away by a passing motorbike (actually, on one occasion the motorcyclist won).

(Read on the trip including the footy match against the Swannies.)

Part II of DT’s 5 Minutes with the Flyer will appear in the next couple of days when we’ll find out how the  Hanoi Swans recruited players as well as “Taber Talk” and what it’s like living in Bandung, Indonesia.

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Hanoi training starts on Tuesday!

Posted by Vietnam Swans on January 29, 2012

Hanoi Coach, Ado Enright at last year's Asian Champs in Bangkok.

It may only be the last day of the first month of the year, but Hanoi Coach Adrian Enright says that’s perfect for Hanoi’s first training session of 2012…

Hi Swannies (in Hanoi),

With the impending games versus Abu Dhabi in Saigon and Cambodia in Phnom Penh in March, and the big calendar event of the ANZAC clash coming up in April, it’s time to hit the track again and get ready for another fun year.

With our growing numbers, there is also talk of us hosting another internal game with our Southern brothers in between.

Training will resume at the special time this week of Tuesday 31st @ 6:00pm @ the Oz Embassy. This session will be a fitness/weights circuit designed in a similar fashion to Dan K’s sessions last year to get us straight back into it. Can you if you can make it so I know numbers, and please bring any new faces keen to play for our mighty Club.

(Hanoi President) Crazy (Dan Hopkins) will soon be in touch about a Committee meeting to put in place a few structures for the year.


In Saigon, the Swannies’ first training session will be on Saturday, 4 February 2012.

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Vietnamese magazine: Aussie Rules is “Mon The Thao Sexy…”

Posted by Vietnam Swans on January 28, 2012

Dave Skowronski speaks to the Vietnamese media about footy.

In November of last year, the Vietnamese magazine, Nam Cham caught up with the Swannies’ David Skowronski (SOS) to learn about Aussie Rules. It’s always interesting to listen to a lay person’s impression of Aussie Rules and how they explain it to another lay person.

The article takes an in depth look at Aussie Rules: the rules and what differentiates it from other sporting codes, the team mascots, the excitement, the atmosphere, the  “festival” of the finals series etc. Importantly, the article concludes that “Aussies Rules players are always very attractive in women’s eyes.” (The Swannies encourage all readers to forward this highly informative article to all women…)

Below is an edited extract of the translation.

“Aussie Rules developed in Melbourne in the 19th Century. It is the leading sport in Australia so as in Victoria, it is almost like a religion…

“Basically, Aussie Rules is very similar to Rugby (Vietnamese name of football) because they both use oval ball and two teams compete for the ball with high degree of collision, violence, fast movement speed and excessively high ratio…

“Each game has 18 players with the same position as defender, midfielder, forward but the stadium is oval with each side plugs 4 vertical poles…

“Aussie Rules can attract viewers from beginning to end. It contains characteristics which ensure that viewers will not feel bored. The thrilling extends into the final seconds. The game also has extreme surprise element together with the continuously change minute by minute of the ratio…

 “In Aussie Rules, there is no concept of boredom…

SOS in full flight.

“Aussie Rules also create crowd effects, friendly and cheerful colour atmosphere.  In Melbourne, there are two big stadiums which are Telstra Dome and MCG with a capacity of more than 80 thousand people..

“During weekends, the festival atmosphere becomes vibrant than ever. The area around the stadium is full of people..

“However, the valuable characteristic of the sport is that it provides ‘sex appeal’. First of all, because of the strength and speed requirement, all of Aussie Rules players have a perfect shape. Besides, the tight fit uniform of the game helps to show the powerful muscles of the players. Because of that, Aussies Rules players are always very attractive in women’s eyes.”


  • To read the full translation, click onto
  • To see the original article (low resolution), click onto
  • To see other articles about the Vietnam Swans that have appeared in the media, click here.

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Tick, tick… Swannies’ Australia Day goes off at the Boom-arang!

Posted by Vietnam Swans on January 27, 2012

Trav (Tra Vy Butcher Shop), Shag, Matt, Sam and Fabbo at the Boomarang last night..

Tick, tick… The Swannies’ Australia Day went off at the in Saigon yesterday.

It’s TET Lunar New Year in Vietnam and so everyone has cleared out of the cities. So, Adam Zakharoff suggested to the Swannies that we defy the odds and have an Australia Day Party.

Trav Fallon from in District 7 provided the meat including a meat tray for the raffle which was won by departing Swannie, Mark Pleiter. (Mark is about to take up a new job in the Philippines and will fly out tomorrow. So why he’s winning our meat trays, none of us understand!).

The Boomarang organised San Miguel and the Swannies cranked up some numbers. The party started at 5pm and finished at 9 – which stretched out to 10. Meat, salad and beers for $20 or, if you were a Swannie wearing your colours, it was just $10. Fantastic value.

Those who were part of the Swannies’ event, used Australia Network stubby holders. You will recall that Australia Network was the Swannies’ Official Media Sponsor at last year’s Swannies’ AFL Grand Final Parties in Hanoi (JASPAS) and Saigon (at the Boomarang Bistro).

Rowan Luke (left) and incoming Australian Consul General, John McAnulty and wife, Michelle.

Click here to view the 15 second video promo that Australia Network did for our Grand Final Parties.

As well as all the usual suspects, we welcomed the incoming Australian Consul General, John McAnulty and his wife, Michelle. Wayne Bannon, President of Auscham also attended. And we welcomed a few new recruits.

Thirty people in an empty city, with minimal promotion, was a great result on a great night. Swannies’ Australia Day is already locked in for next year.

Special thanks to Boomarang Bistro, Tra Vy Butcher Shop and San Miguel. And to you Swannies!

More Photos

For more grainy photos (high resolution photos coming shortly) of the Swannies’ Australia Day Party, .

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2012 ANZAC Boot Camp, Vung Tau – Details announced!

Posted by Vietnam Swans on January 25, 2012

The 2012 ANZAC Boot Camp, Vung Tau.

has put together the training schedule for the Vietnam Swans’ first ANZAC Boot Camp which will be held in Vung Tau from 11-12 February 2012.

The details are as follow:

Saturday, 11 February

First session – 9.30am

Warm Up: 21-15-9

  • PU /SU / SM / SQ /Box Jump

Stair Running – ‘Jesus and Mary’!

  • Start at back beach
  • Running up / down Jesus!
  • Run to Mary
  • Running up / down Mary!
  • Run back to beach

Second session – 4pm

Warm Up: 21-15-9

  • PU /SU / SM / Lunges with sand bag weight /Box Jump

Beach Olympics (Competitive team event. Teams of four will compete for points)

  • Beach flag races. (Red = 10 points / Yellow = 5 points / Green = 3 points)
  • 50m team mate pull – relay race (20 points / 10 points / 6points)
  • 4 x 100m Beach sprint -relay race. (10 points / 5 points / 3 points)
  • Ironman – Sprint / Swim Sprint (10 points / 5 points / 3 points)


. BBQ at Tommy’s Restaurant on the rooftop of the fort-like Museum which has an amazing collection of uniforms and guns. Stunning views over Vung Tau.

Sunday, 12 February

Third session – 9am

Warm Up: 21-15-9

  • PU /SU / SM / Presses & Dead lifts with sand bag weight /Box Jump
  • Beep test
  • Swimming session – 500m or 250m plus 500m beach run at both ends

Fourth session – 11am

  • Tommy’s Bar – Presentations (to winners) and fine session

For further information, contact .

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Swannies snag Australia Day at Boomarang, Saigon

Posted by Vietnam Swans on January 22, 2012

2012 Australia Day in Saigon at the Boomarang.

It’s official! The Swannies in Saigon are heading to the in D7 to celebrate Australia Day on Thursday 26 January 2012, from 5-9pm.

Swannie, Trav Fallon who has just opened up his new butcher shop (also in D7), , will be supplying some sumptuous snags on the BBQ.

The Boomarang will be providing free flow San Miguel and Tra Vy’s sausages for just VND400,000.

And, as a special incentive, if you’re wearing your Swannies’ top (shirt or jumper), you get it for half price. So, you will pay just VND200,000!

Tick, tick… the Boom-arang is about to go off again.

Boomarang is the home of the Swannies’ 2012 AFL Grand Final Party in Saigon.

Outside the venue, the area has been done up for TET – similar to in town with Nguyen Hue Street. Rice fields instead of bitumen and concrete.

It looks great and is another reason to come out and celebrate 2012 Australia Day in the Year of the Dragon!

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Swannie carves it up off the field in new butcher shop, Saigon

Posted by Vietnam Swans on January 21, 2012

Travy carved it up at the Asian Champs last year. Now he's doing the same in his new butcher's shop in Saigon. Photos: (L) Ross McRae. (R) Dani Moger.

Travy Fallon has always loved to slice a goal for the Swannies with the red pill. Now, this butcher by trade is slicing the red and white meat (how good are those Swannies colours??) in his brand new butcher’s shop in District 7, Saigon.

Stuck for a shop name, Travy was suddenly struck with a stroke of genius when he declared, “I will call it . And the people will come.”

And the people have been coming – despite opening just days before Christmas and now having to contend with TET Lunar New Year. Word has already spread far and wide about the quality and price of the meat sold at Tra Vy.

Tra Vy seems to think that if you see double, you might buy double!

Trav and partner, Ms Oanh, say Tra Vy offers quality foreign cuts of beef, lamb, pork, chicken and homemade sausages. More specifically, Trav can do home made chicken kiev’s, marinated chicken skewers and wings, beef and chicken mince, roast lambs and rib racks.

Tra Vy can deliver to your home or business and they also cater for special occasions.

So, if you’re in Saigon and you need meat, you need to meet Tra Vy.

is located at A007 Nguyễn Văn Linh Hưng Vượng 1, Phú Mỹ Hưng, District 7, Hồ Chí Minh City, Việt Nam.

Phone Nos: 085 410 3214, 090 399 8036, 090 399 8018
Hours: Mon – Sun 8am – 8pm
Price list: For a full price list, check the .

Unquestionably, celery sticks and cabbages are good for vegetarians. And  is all good for meat lovers. Now available in Swannies’ colours…

I’m lovin’ it!

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Saigon’s 2012 Committee has the clout to get things done

Posted by Vietnam Swans on January 21, 2012

The Swannies' new Saigon Committee has the clout to get things done.

A week ago, Saigon President, Sam Conroy, announced his Committee for 2012.

The Committee is jam packed with talent that includes the heads of no less than four prestigious organisations in town, namely:

  • , Ross Munn
  • , Chris Butler
  • , Jamie Rossall
  • , Kyle Hackenberg

In addition, other members of the Saigon Committee include National Treasurer, Rowan Luke (Commonwealth Bank), Tim Clements (), Ross McRae () and Alex Polson. The Saigon President, Sam Conroy, works for and the National President, Phil Johns works for .

The fact that we have been able to attract such high calibre people is testament to the work done by the Committees and others under the Saigon Presidencies of Derrin Limbrick and Scott Stacey.

Now, back to basics: actually playing footy!

This year’s Coaching Panel is also rock solid with experienced panel members, Skipper, Luke “Dukes” Creamer;  Kevin Hornblower, Nick Shiells and Damien Judd. We welcome highly experienced players joining the Panel for the first time, Heath Ellis and Phil Ghasseb.

The rise and rise of the Vietnam Swans is well placed to continue in 2012.

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Another gem of a grab for Alex Jesaulenko! Swannies’ hats, you beauuuty!!

Posted by Vietnam Swans on January 20, 2012

Alex Jesaulenko took that grab in 1970 - and now he's also grabbed a couple of Swannies' hats to add to the collection!

Just a few days before Chrissie, there was Carlton great, Alex Jesaulenko, with a couple of Swannies’ hats in Melbourne!

Alex, and wife, Annie, met up with Swannies’ President, Phil Johns, in Melbourne. Phil says that Alex and Annie are a chance to come to this year’s ANZAC Friendship Match. If they do come out, they will certainly visit the Boomarang Bistro (home of the Swannies’ AFL Grand Final Party in Saigon) which is part-owned by nephew, Adam Zakharoff.

A summary of Aunty Annie’s conversation can be distilled down to, “If you think Jezza’s mark was a beauty, you should check out my nephew, Adam.” (“Yes, Annie. I have already. And yes, Annie, he is a top bloke. Now Alex, getting back to that mark…” )

Alex and Annie are looking at their commitments in April to determine whether a trip to Vietnam is possible so, at this stage, they are just a “definite maybe”. We’ll have to watch this space.


  • The above picture of Jezza’s famous mark in the 1970 Grand Final is from the painting, “The Game that Made Australia”.
  • To see the actual video of Jezza’s mark, .
  • To see the mark recreated in a very funny TV commercial, .

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Farewell to Vietnam Veteran, John Carey

Posted by Vietnam Swans on January 19, 2012

John Carey, pictured left, at last month's Vietnam Swans' Annual Cricket day at the MCG with Stan Middleton and Willy.

UPDATE, 20 January 2012. Funeral details: Wednesday 25 January, 10.30am, Cordell Chapel, Fawkner Cemetery, Sydney Rd, Fawkner.

The Vietnam Swans have been greatly saddened to learn this morning of the passing of Vietnam Veteran and great bloke, John Carey.

Fellow Veteran, Ron Vernon has written to say that:

“I just had a phone call from (John’s wife) Kay to say that John laid on the couch last night and didn’t wake up.

“I only spoke to him on the weekend and he was so looking forward to going back to VN and the (ANZAC) football match.”

In March/April of last year, John, with Kay, returned to Vietnam for the first time since he had served here. John was amazed with the transformation of the country over the previous four decades and was greatly impressed and touched.

His mate, Ron Vernon, also introduced him to the Vietnam Swans. Coincidentally, in 1999, John had worked with National President, Phil Johns back in Melbourne. John thought the ANZAC Friendship Match was a terrific concept and was bitterly disappointed that his pre booked tour had him returning to Australia just two weeks before last year’s match. However, John vowed to come to the 2012 ANZAC Friendship Match (which would have been his second trip to Vietnam in 12 months after a 40 year break) and to do what he could to promote the match back in Australia.

John Carey at the MCG, three weeks ago, on 28 December 2011.

John  was true to his word and did many things that included an article published in last month’s 7th Battalion’s Newsletter (see 7th Battalion’s December newsletter promotes 2012 ANZAC Friendship Match). He also came to the Vietnam Swans’ 5th Annual Test Cricket Day at the MCG just three weeks ago on 28 December.

The Vietnam Swans send our deepest condolences to Kay, their family and friends. It is very sad news.

As a mark of respect for John, the Vietnam Swans shall proudly wear black arm bands at our next match. And, playing the ANZAC Friendship Match on 21 April will now be just that little bit more special.

R.I.P. John.

UPDATE, 20 January 2012, : CAREY. – Robert ‘John’. 16.7.1945 – 18.1.2012 Passed away suddenly on Jan. 18, 2012 aged 66 Devoted husband to Kay, adored father of Matthew and Sarah and Brendan and Kylie. Loving Pa to Olivia, Annie, Sam and Oliver, Lola and Charles. Dearly loved son of Charles ‘Stanley’ and Joyce (both dec.). Loving brother of Ron, Andrew and Stephen. Our caring, wonderful man – Loved forever. Funeral details: Wednesday 25 January, 10.30am, Cordell Chapel, Fawkner Cemetery, Sydney Rd, Fawkner.

UPDATE, 21 January, 2012, from wife Kay (published in Herald Sun): My darling John – my soldier while suffering your own pain in stoic silence you cared for and loved me, our beautiful family and all around you until your last breath. Your sense of caring for others, your strong cheeky nature, your work ethic and wisdom lives on in all our angel family. I thank you and may God Bless you my love ’til we meet again. – your Kay.

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Swannies’ hat seen in AFL House!

Posted by Vietnam Swans on January 18, 2012

The AFL's Tony Woods wears his Swaannies hat at AFL House.

Just prior to Christmas last month, the AFL’s Manager for International Development, Tony Woods, was snapped while wearing a Swannies’ hat in AFL House.

Swannies’ National President, Phil Johns, caught up with him for a coffee.

Timmay Clements (black Swannies' shirt at back), with his "150 Years of Football" at last year's Swannies AFL Grand Final Party in Saigon.

Tony was saying that the AFL has set a target of having at least one player from China playing in the AFL in the next five years. He also envisages having an “AFL Asia”, similar to AFL Europe in the next 3-5 years.

Tony remarked that the AFL is very much aware of the Vietnam Swans and congratulated us on our many and varied initiatives. He also generously donated a match footy to be used in this year’s ANZAC Friendship Match which he said he was “hopeful” of attending.

The painting behind Tony in the photo above hangs in the foyer of AFL House at Docklands Stadium in Melbourne. The painting, “The Game that made Australia”, was commissioned by the AFL to celebrate 150 years of football in 2008.

You may recall that a replica of this painting, signed by Kevin Sheedy, was donated by Kenny Earney to the Vietnam Swans’ AFL Grand Final Party in Saigon last year.

The replica was bought by the Swannies’ Timmay Clements, a big time fan of Kevin Sheedy.

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