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Swannies BOG in Cambodia this weekend to be awarded Rick Trewavas Medal

Posted by Vietnam Swans on March 2, 2012

Tomorrow, the Swannies/Bloods will play the Cambodian Eagles. The Swans' best on Ground (as judged by the Swans) shall be awarded the Rick Trewavas Medal (designed by Ross McRae).

Since July 2010, each time the Swannies play Cambodia outside of tournaments, we award our best player the Rick Trewavas Medal.

Rick, who has had a stoic battle against cancer was involved with footy in Jakarta – prior to the Jakarta Bintangs – as well as the original Hanoi Swans where he played a major role in the establishment of our Club.

This morning, on the eve of the Swannies’ match against the Cambodian Eagles in Phnom Penh, we unveil the new Rick Trewavas Medal, specially designed by Ross McRae. 

Also this morning, Rick spends “5 minutes with the Flyer (Dave Kainey)”. Incidentally, the Flyer is not completely dissimilar to Rick as he has also played major roles with both the Jakarta Bintangs and the  Swannies.


The Flyer: The Flyer here, Rick. Proud and passionate about all things Swannies, as no doubt are you. I have a series of questions for you to answer.

Rick: Missed you in Indonesia, Dave. Started there in ’82. I believe you might have played in a game I once observed at the Bintang’s ground around the early nineties. Can’t say too much about your performance but you are a legend for those who follow international aussie rules.

On air

The Flyer: Good morning, Rick. Big occasions are all about timing. This is a great time to have you spend 5 minutes with the Flyer.

Rick: ‘Tis an honour to spend time with the Flyer. There’s a little bit of Plugger in you.

1. Gee Rick, where do we start? Probably at the beginning… How did the connection with the Vietnam Swans / Hanoi Swans kick off?

Had come off 10 years in Indonesia having started the embryonic Bintangs with the JARS (Jakarta Aussie Rules Society) and was looking for same in Hanoi. Swannies! It just seemed natural with the lakes  and my heritage in South Melbourne. Besides, Mick Francis had the best looking Em Dep (Yen, who later became his wife) in town so we all ended up at his establishment, Pepperonis, and it grew from there. In between some Bubbles of Dreams you might say.

2. The key players in those initial stages are still very much a part of the Swans. How have you enjoyed following the journey and their involvement?

Gobsmacked. Particularly the fund raising stuff – I live in Queensland. Honk honk! (see AUD36116.06 remitted to Queensland Floods Appeal which later totalled $45,000)

Mick Francis in the Bobby Skilton Room at Pepperonis, Hanoi, circa 2002.

3. The Swans hold a very dear place in your heart mate. You have overcome some documented tough personal times also. From Mick Francis, through to Phil Johns, the Club has made efforts to keep you very much a part the Swans’ community and all things football in Asia Pacific. It is pretty special isn’t it?

Very, very, very (with apologies to VVS Laxman) Phil Johns and the crew, since I forget how long, because the Swannies are now indelibly etched inside as they have built an amazing aussie rules + village.

My personal battle has been all the easier in part because of the Swannies’ success and in part because of that Medal.

Chuffed beyond words when words didn’t matter.

“There are many things to life other than football. I just can’t think of them.” (The Supreme Master.)

4. OK Rick, the Swans are off to Cambodia this weekend, where would you slot in? Carrying the clip board with the magnetic names? Hoping for a sneaky run on the forward line? Have done a hammy in the warm-up? or watching with a cold Tiger from the sidelines?

The board sounds good; I like magnets. Directing transitions through the middle – in my dreams. Probably violently massaging Hun Sen on the boundary and trying to let him forget history. Celebrating a victory at the Heart of Darkness. Go you Bloods! (Ed’s note, Rick prefers calling the Swannies the Bloods just as people referred to the then South Melbourne football club.)

Brett Jotta wins the inaugural Rick Trewavas Medal (with a generic design) in Phnom Penh, 31 July 2010.

5. Finally mate, Australia, how is the story of the Vietnam Swans getting around to the people who love AFL from your point of view?

Bigger than GWS!

Captain Kirk took the Swannies to the rest of the World. Talk of the town(s)! And you get a good exposure at my local footy club, the and I know that you are everybody’s third team (Ed’s note: and nearly everybody’s favourite team).

My some time drinking mate Skilts (), and my part time drinking mate , are clear on everything you blokes do.

As the Guru might have once said: “If you were born under a wandering star, you were born to be wild, and Swannies, you were born to run.”

Thanks Rick for spending 5 minutes with the Flyer.


Tomorrow, the Vietnam Swans shall wear black armbands to honour the lives of:

  • Phil Ghasseb’s father, who died last Friday; and
  • John Carey, Vietnam Veteran and friend of the Swannies, who died suddenly on 18 January 2012.

To see the humble beginnings of the Swannies in the Bobby Skilton Room with the Panel, some rare archival footage can be seen on You Tube by .

One Response to “Swannies BOG in Cambodia this weekend to be awarded Rick Trewavas Medal”

  1. [...] Li won the Rick Trewavas Medal for being the Swannies’ most courageous [...]

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