Vietnam Swans

Australian Rules Football In Vietnam!

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Archive for April, 2012

McMillan Dinner and Middleton Address video

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 30, 2012


The China Reds travelled to Vung Tau to play in the 3rd ANZAC Friendship Match on 21 April 2012. The video above, filmed and produced by Steve Drummond, captures the short speeches from the China Reds and Vietnam Swans at the post match function, now known as the McMillan Dinner.

A letter from Veteran and Official Historian of the Vietnam Football League, Stan Middleton was then read to the audience. That was followed by Veteran, Peter Taylor, who delivered the Inaugural Middleton Address which centred on fellow Veteran, and our close friend, Kev McMillan, who is stoically fighting cancer with great dignity.

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300 new photos of 2012 ANZAC Friendship Match added!

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 30, 2012

Adrian and Nicko in action; SOS flies high again!

Thank you to Mark Stennett for his great photos. And to Ross McRae who took this photo.

was the Official Photographer for the 2012 ANZAC Friendship Match. He has just provided us with an additional 300 incredible new photos of the match!

To view all the photos, click onto the Swannies’ .

Ross McRae also took 100 great photos which can be .

Wanted: Photos of Legends’ Match and McMillan Dinner!

Do you have any photos of the Legends and All Stars Match?

Or the McMillan Dinner?

Please .

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AFL Footy Record writes about Vietnam Football League during war

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 30, 2012

The ANZAC issue of the AFL's Footy Record has included an article about the Vietnam Football League which was played during the war - including the Vung Tau Greyhound Racing Track which was then known as the Lord Mayor's Oval..

Last week’s ANZAC Issue of the AFL’s Footy Record included an article by Michael Lovett titled, .

The article looks at the Vietnam Football League which was played during the conflict. Below is an extract.

Many Australian tourists would be familiar with Vung Tau, often described as one of the most beautiful cities in Vietnam. Located on the coast of southern Vietnam, Vung Tau boasts pristine beaches, a world-class golf course, resorts and even a theme park. It’s a different place to the one thousands of Australian soldiers knew when Vung Tau was home to Australian army support units during the Vietnam War.

Despite the hardship the Australians faced, in rare moments of downtime they wanted to continue the trappings – and traditions – of home. A game of cards, with an ample supply of beer, was a popular pastime, as were makeshift golf courses and impromptu cricket matches. However, Australian Football was not high on the agenda, certainly not in any organised form, until one digger found himself in trouble with his commanding officer.

Private John Heaney, a National Service conscript, from 1 Transport Platoon RAASC (Royal Australian Army Service Corps), ran foul of his CO. Private Heaney was given two choices: organise a game of Australian Football or face detention and other penalties. “He thought about it for a second and chose the first option,” said Stan Middleton, now the Vietnam Football League’s official historian and himself a returned Vietnam veteran. Private Heaney and others found a soccer ground that became fondly known as the ‘Lord Mayor’s Oval’ and the first organised game was played in late 1966, using 14-a-side teams

A full-scale competition between various Australian units based in Vung Tau was established in 1967
and ran through to 1971.

  • To read the rest of Michael Lovett’s article from the AFL’s Footy Record, .
  • To read a detailed history of the Vietnam Football League which was written by Stan Middleton, click onto the Vietnam Swans’ (2012).
  • To read other articles related to the Vietnam Swans that have appeared in the media, click here.

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Stan Middleton speaks on the “Middleton Address”

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 29, 2012

Stan Middleton (centre) with the late John Carey (Veteran) (left) and former Hanoi President, Willy, at the MCG at last year's Boxing Day Test Match.

Stan Middleton was a “Nasho” who served in Vietnam – and played in the Vietnam Football League (VFL) for 2 Composite Ordnance team in the second half of 1967 and in the 2AOD team in the first half of 1968. 

Two weeks after the Vietnam Swans’ Inaugural ANZAC Friendship Match in 2010, Stan contacted the Vietnam Swans via our website and informed us about the footy during the conflict (see Aussie Rules in Vietnam). Carefully organised photos with captions were already on line together with a written history and numerous contacts. Stan was effectively the VFL’s unofficial historian.

Importantly, thanks to Stan, there was now a direct bridge of relevance between our footy club’s ANZAC Friendship Match and the period  of the conflict, via the VFL. Together with other veterans, Stan has also attended a number of functions with the Vietnam Swans.

The  Vietnam Swans have therefore decided to recognise Stan and his ability to communicate and share information by naming the keynote address at the McMillan Dinner the “Middleton Address”. Below, Stan responds in a letter that was read out to the people attending this year’s McMillan Dinner:

I would like to thank the Vietnam Swans Football Club for bestowing the honour on me of naming the guest speaker’s speech the “Middleton Address”! It is an awesome honour for me, one that I am very proud of!

A younger Stan Middleton.

It is less than two years ago that I made contact with the Swans. Since that time we have developed a wonderful relationship. The Vietnam Veteran Footballers who played in the VFL (Vietnam Football League) during the war have been delighted that the Vietnam Swans have taken such an interest in our war time competition. We feel you have picked up from where we left off when the Australian Military left Vietnam in 1972. To play the ANZAC Friendship Match on our old home ground in Vung Tau makes our relationship even more special! I also sense you all feel the same about that too!

Last year, you remodelled the ANZAC Friendship Shield to match the one we played for during the war. This was a very special gesture for us Vets who played in that competition. Then, to have Glenn Nolan present me with a replica at the Noble Park RSL (Melbourne) just blew me away!

Us old Veteran Footballers that attended the MCG for the Vietnam Swans & Sydney Swans Past players function in 2010 were all stoked that you wanted to include us! Some of us also attended  the Vietnam Swans day at the Boxing Day Test last year which we enjoyed very much. As for the Hanoi Swannies that looked after us (Sinh & I and another couple) in Hanoi last April when we passed through, thank you very much for a wonderful night! Also likewise when Michael Johnston looked after us in Hoi An and gave us the opportunity to see Jo Stewart (Swim Vietnam) and her work with the kids at the pool.

Stan's wife, Sinh.

We are all very impressed at the fundraising work the Swannies do for charities such as Jo Stewart’s swim program in Hoi An, the Orphanages run by My Huong (Vung Tau) and the Flood Disasters in Queensland. As I said before, I am very proud to have this honour bestowed on me but even more so knowing what a fantastic organisation the Vietnam Swans are. They are not just another Football Club but a very “Special” one!

I hope the game played today was a huge success and whatever the result I am sure everyone is having a great time. And to the China Reds, welcome to the beautiful city of Vung Tau (the home town of my wife Sinh)!

Go Swannies!

Stan Middleton

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Swannie to coach ANZAC Day Challenge tomorrow at AAMI Stadium

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 28, 2012

Swannie, Rod Campbell, is to coach the Australian Combined Emergency Services team (pictured above) in tomorrow's 9th ANZAC Day Challenge which will be the curtain raiser to the AFL match between Adelaide and Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium.

Rod Campbell was travelling through Vietnam back in 2008 when he met up with the Swannies in both Hanoi and Saigon.

Tomorrow, Rod will be coaching ACES (the Australian Combined Emergency Services team) in the 9th ANZAC Day Challenge.  The ANZAC Day Challenge is played between ACES – which is made up of the best footballers from the fire, police and ambulance services in Australia – and the Australian Defence Force All Stars. The match will be played prior to the game between Adelaide and Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium.

Rod has extensive coaching experience in Australia working with coaching greats such as Denis Pagan. His father, Graham, was a former player and coach for Fitzroy. Rod gave those of us in Hanoi tips, insights and ideas into game strategies and training drills and then he did it all again for us the following week in Saigon.

Rod is also very good friends with Darren McRae who sings the incredibly moving song, .

To learn more about ACES, .

And good luck to Rod and his team tomorrow from all the Swannies.

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2012 ANZAC Friendship Match Report and Photos

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 27, 2012

The China Reds take an exciting mark in a tightly contested ANZAC Friendship Match. Photo, Mark Stennett Photography.

UPDATE: 29 April 2012. New match photos have been added. .

Ross McRae has prepared the Match Report for the 3rd ANZAC Friendship Match. Further, the first instalment of photos from Mark Stennett Photography of have arrived.

You can view the first instalment on the .

On another sweltering Vung Tau day, two hugely talented teams were about to contest the 3rd ANZAC Friendship Match.  The China Reds, comprising of players from the Beijing Bombers and the Shanghai Tigers were about to face one of the strongest Vietnam Swans squads I have had the privilege to bear witness to.  With a depth of players spreading across Vietnam; Hanoi, Saigon, Hoi An, and Binh Duong, the leadership group had assembled a highly skilled squad of 22.  It would have not been an enviable task to decide on who was to line up today, to bear the honour of the two black armbands in this historic ANZAC Friendship Match versus the China Reds.

With the opening ceremonies concluded; including a welcome from Felicity Sims of the Australian Consulate and national anthems from Vietnam, New Zealand and Australia, a minute’s silence was observed to reflect on the lives lost. Veteran and ex-Vietnam Football League player, Ron Vernon together with Peter Taylor representing his mate, Kev McMillan, took the ball out to umpire Adam McDonald, to begin the match.

The tenacity that the teams attacked the ball from the first bounce, was defining the story that was about to unfold.  This game was going to be tough, both physically and mentally. As dependable and reliable as the heat in Vung Tau, the Swans were in familiar territory, on the back foot.   The Reds had brought their best, and the long kicking, physically strong players were giving the Swans the match that the previous weeks of training had prepared them for.   The backline was working hard shutting down leads and cutting off the penetrating kicks coming in from the Reds midfield, while the Reds accuracy failed them. It was Timmy Clements (who was playing his last game for the Vietnam Swans) who opened the scoring for the Swans.  Nick Shiells then closed the gap towards the end of the first quarter, capping off great team play from the mid-field, that had him fist pumping the air and the Swans went into the first break trailing by six minors.

It was now time for Swans Coach, Scotty Turner to organise the now finally warmed up Swans. The white board was like a sail in the Vung Tau harbour as it flashed in the sun as all Swans players drew their attention to it.  The crowd was anxious; as the Reds were looking strong and the score line was worrying, as scoring shots were in the favour of the Reds.

China deflects what SOS thought was his.

Both teams were about to distinguish themselves in the second term. They were hungry and determined, with neither team backing down from hard balls or big hits.  One such big hit was between teammates Nick Shiells and Adrian Enright as they clashed in a mark, Ado came down with the ball, hitting the ground heavily after hitting the wall which is Nicko.  Ado a true battler was soon on his feet in no time. Blood was surely pumping in both teams, so the slip in communication could have been forgiven.  The Reds were finding their aim and were keeping the Swans at bay, though Kevin Hornblower was becoming a pest for the Reds in their backline.  Bill Crang came straight on from a Scotty masterminded interchange, that had him mark strongly and then awarded extra metres after the Reds player lost his cool. Bill kicked wide for a minor, though quickly redeemed himself when the ball came back to him from the kick in, and he was able to convert.  Ryan ‘Revo’ Evans was about to lift and after a crowd pleasing goal, which was a preview of his play yet to come in the third, the Swans went into the half time break two points up. A second term that had a combined total of seven goals kicked by both teams and had the crowd buzzing.

The halftime break allowed the crowd to refresh on drinks and take a breather from the game that was more than just some AFL game played on the inside of a dog track.  Both teams retreated from the Vung Tau heat into the Stadium with Coach Scotty once again rallying his troops.  Captain Luke Creamer showed why he is once again an inspirational leader both on and off the field; he was not going to have his men’s momentum waver during the break, as they took on water and kept their offensive mind set during the break.

Looking around the crowd, you could see them on edge, not just from having to crane necks around the pillars in the stadium, but with anticipation of the final half of the game.

If the second quarter tactics for the Swans were genius, the third was a masterstroke.  The ball moved fluidly around the field, as the defenders led by Sam Conroy and Craig Hewat were shutting down their players and getting under their skin, the rebounding ball found passage through the mid-field led by Captain Dukesy, Heath Ellis, Adrian Enright and Dave O’Shea who were silky, each knowing where each other were and passes were pin point.  As the ball moved forward it was ‘Revo’ who was on the ends of these passages. One of his highlight goals coming on an acute angle, from an out on the full free.  Not to be left out, Michael ‘MJ’ Johnston would crash through a pack in the goal square to take a strong mark and convert.

Going into the final break, it looked as if the Swans were in control.  Whether the heat was having its toll on the Beijing players who had just flown down from snow in their home city; the decisions and player changes of tactician Coach Scotty; or the honour of playing in this prestigious match, the Swans had a firm grip on this match and weren’t looking at slowing down.

Micky J embraces and Dan Hopkins handshakes a former Hanoi Swan, Growds, now of the China Reds.

With the final term beginning cheers went up from the crowd and Kevin Hornblower the ultimate forward who had been bringing down some sensational grabs all game, presented the ball to the crowd and then fired home a goal. Another mention is suitable deserved to Phil Jordan, who, with the calls from his team mates, snapped at goal to put the nail in the coffin.  He must have caught his cheek with the hammer, as the medical staff from International SOS had to give him seven stitches for his injury from his wayward swings.  The Swans were home, over the Reds by 23 points.

As the final siren faded out across the track, the crowd had just witnessed two teams that had honoured not only the Vets that had first played Australian Rules Football in Vietnam at the Lord Mayors’ Oval back in 1966, but also the participants of those years of conflict. For those Vets that were there on the day, and the men lost over the years, the Swans and Reds had surely just showed the comradeship, mateship, fairness and true grit that those soldiers from both sides of the conflict epitomised those many years ago.

Best on Ground was awarded truly to Ryan Evans for his performance on field that turned the game around and inspired his team mates.  Other performances of note were no doubt Captain Dukesy and his Hanoian counterpart Ado, and Sam ‘Hound’ Conroy’s work in defence.  It was no doubt a great game to play in and to witness standing in the stadium. I feel my words cannot do true justice to such an event that is the ANZAC Friendship Match and you really had to be present to feel the emotion and spirit that embodied the day.

The Scores:

Vietnam Swans            Vs        China Reds

Q1   2. 0. 12  (12)                     2. 6. 18 (18)
Q2   4. 3. 27  (39)                     3. 1. 19 (37)
Q3   4. 1. 25   (64)                    1. 4. 10 (47)
Q4   2. 3. 15   (79)                    1. 3. 9   (56)

Final Score:     12. 7. 79           7. 14. 56

*** For more photos of the match from Mark Stennett, .

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Swannies lay wreath at Long Tan after 2012 ANZAC Day Dawn Service

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 26, 2012

The Swannies' Tim Clements and National President, Phil Johns, lay a wreath on behalf of the Vietnam Swans, Thailand Tigers, China Reds and Hong Kong Dragons at the Long Tan Cross, after the 2012 ANZAC Day Dawn Service. Photos: Asha Phillips.

Yesterday the ANZAC Day Dawn Service was held at the Long Tan Cross with a number of Swannies in attendance.

The wreath from the Vietnam Swans, Hong Kong Dragons, Thailand Tigers and China Reds. Lest we forget.

Cracking the minute’s silence with dramatic effect was a clap of thunder.

National Club President, Phil Johns and Tim Clements lay a wreath after the Dawn Service. The wreath was laid on behalf of the Vietnam Swans, Hong Kong Dragons, Thailand Tigers and China Reds and came with the words, “Lest we Forget”.

The Thailand Tigers established a tradition where wreaths are laid on behalf of all clubs that have played in their ANZAC Match. The Swannies have picked up on that tradition and accordingly had the Dragons and Reds included on the wreath. The Thailand Tigers are included as a mark of respect for establishing this wonderful tradition and in recognition that their permanent ANZAC Match, which we had the honour of participating in back in 2009, will prevent them from travelling to Long Tan in future years.

After the Dawn Service, it was back to Club Sponsor, for a gunfire breakfast. Following the breakfast, we watched a telecast of the AFL’s ANZAC Day clash between  Collingwood and Essendon.  It was another classic ANZAC Day thriller between these two teams with the Pies winning by a point.

Special thanks to Glenn Nolan for organising the wreath.

Items of interest

  • To see some video footage of the Long Tan Dawn Service that was taken by the Swannies’ Asha Phillips and used by ABC Australia, .
  • More photos of the Dawn Service can be seen by .
  • Match review of the 2012 ANZAC Friendship Match between the Swannies and China Reds – written by Supercoach, Ross McRae – to be posted tonight. Ah McRae, you’ve done it again…
  • Farewell drinks for Alex and Anna Polson at Phatty’s Bar in Saigon tonight from 6pm. Come along and give Alex and Anna the send off they deserve.

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AFL ANZAC Day Umpire reflects on MCG and ANZAC Friendship Match in Vietnam

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 24, 2012

Adam McDonald receives the ball from veterans Peter Taylor (representing Kev McMillan) and Ron Vernon at the 2012 ANZAC Friendship Match. Photo: Mark Stennett Photography.

Adam McDonald umpired 200 AFL games, including two ANZAC Day clashes between Collingwood and Essendon as a boundary umpire.

Last Saturday, we were lucky enough to have him as our field umpire for the 2012 ANZAC Friendship Match at the former Lord Mayor’s Oval in Vung Tau, Vietnam.

On the eve of tomorrow’s Collingwood-Essendon ANZAC Day blockbuster, Adam reflects upon his experience at both the MCG and the Vung Tau Greyhound Racing Track that was known as the Lord Mayor’s Oval by the Diggers who played in the Vietnam Football League from 1966-71.

The role of AFL football being played on ANZAC Day is one that causes much discussion with many people. ANZAC day, for me, is the most special day in the Australian calendar. It is one where we stop to remember and say “Thanks” to all the men and women, and the sacrifice they made and continue to make, with current armed forces all over the world. I find it interesting that most of the debate comes from outside of Melbourne. In Melbourne the day, the game between Essendon and Collingwood, gel together to ensure the legacy is not forgotten. Melbourne embraced the concept and is very proud and privileged to host such an event. For this concept to go national and international is just fantastic.

When the game was first initiated in 1995, ANZAC Day was losing its profile. The match on a public holiday helped profile the event and ensure there was a way that people could say thanks. I attended the first game as a spectator; the game was a draw to add to the drama and was attended by a near capacity crowd. The energy created was enormous.

The 2012 ANZAC Friendship Match. Photo: Mark Stennett Photography.

I was lucky enough to umpire two ANZAC Day games. To stand there in front of 90,000 people during the Last Post and to not have a sound made is remarkable. In the middle of the MCG, all you can hear is the flapping of the Australian flag in the breeze. As I write this, I can still feel the emotion I felt then and still do now. It is one of the most memorable and proud moments of my umpiring career and I know that the players of both sides also feel this way. It holds a standing in a career alongside finals and grand finals.

Perhaps it is best written by Peter Fitzimons, a Sydney journalist and ex-Wallabie. He is a very strong supporter of Rugby and is very vocal about it. He wrote after attending the 2002 ANZAC game that he had:

“Rarely seen something so impressive in the world of sport. As they played the Last Post and the national anthem, the 100,000-strong crowd uttered not a peep, whispered not a murmur. The atmosphere was electric and the general mood in the air, one of reverence for the diggers and anticipation of the game to come… Somewhere, someone has done a superb job organising that landmark day in Australian sport.”

Move ahead to last Saturday and I felt the same pride and privilege to be part of the Vietnam Swans vs China Reds ANZAC Friendship Match. To stand on the site where previous games were played during a conflict was something that I knew I wanted to be part of, even if it was just as an umpire. To see both sides link arms during the minute’s silence and hear them sing with gusto the national anthem fills you with national pride. Both sides then showed a brand of footy to be proud of, hard at it, complete focus on the ball, competitive but played with a spirit that shows the respect they felt for the occasion.

I am very proud to have been a small part of the day and look forward to being part of a few more to come.

Coming up:

  • Photos: Sneak preview – click onto Mark Stennett’s .
  • ANZAC Friendship Match Report
  • The Kev McMillan Dinner and Stan Middleton Address
  • Overall reflections of an ANZAC Friendship Weekend

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Legends Vs All Stars Match Report, ANZAC Friendship Weekend

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 23, 2012

Matt Natalotto provides a match report for the Legends and All Stars Match which was also held on the ANZAC Friendship Weekend last Saturday in Vung Tau.

Matt Natalotto – who took us all on the ANZAC Boot Camp in Vung Tau back in February – played in the Legends and All Stars Match on Saturday, as part of the ANZAC Friendship Weekend.

The match was open to Swannies, sponsors and friends in the crowd. The story and photos below are from Matt’s blog, .

To see 100 photos, .

This is my third year with the Swans and my second ANZAC Friendship Match day involvement. It’s  a great day all round for families and footy lovers.


Since my in 2010, the only football I have participated in is the annual Legends Vs All Stars match. This fantastic concept allows many of us who are not in the firsts (the ANZAC Friendship Match) to pull on a Swans jumper and get a few kicks. It is always played in great spirit and there is plenty of laughs. Saying that, we put in a good effort and 100 per cent is expected from all players.

This year’s match started with the ALL STARS executing a perfect centre bounce tap, clearance and pass straight onto the (not insignificant) chest of Kyle ‘Blocker’ Hackenberg. Kyle duly converted and the signs looked good for the ALL STARs. Enter Danny Armstrong. The one-time Swans’ first pick, forward, ruckman, age defying LEGEND had other ideas and, as soon as he got a sniff, Danny didn’t let his team down.

The LEGENDs answered with three very quick goals and turned the game on its head. With the heat of the day at its peak now, the ALL STARS steadied and added a second goal shortly before the first break which limited the LEGENDS to a 1 goal, 1/4 time, lead.

Matt, sporting his new Swannies training top, with another super star from the club, Sammy Stevens.

The game was played with a good level of intensity throughout the second quarter and the ALL STARS managed to regain a slight lead into half time. Youngsters, Nathan and Quy, were particularly good for the ALL STARS and their centre bounce work was invaluable. I managed a couple goals, Kyle continued to menace down forward, Alex Polson was also starting to win the ruck although long time Swannies veteran, Paul Koch, was winning his own share of taps for the LEGENDs. Swans veterans, Matt Townsend, Shannnon Leahy, Peter Roche and Sam Stevens all played very well and threatend to break the game open for the LEGENDs.

At half time, the ALL STARS were asked by coach MJ if they wanted to play just 10 minute final quarters or continue with the 15 minute format. With many guys not completely match fit the initial vote was a majority in favour of 10 minutes. With that, I decided to interrupt our coach and mentor for the day MJ, and ask the team “why they would opt for an easy option when this may be the last and only time they ever play on this ground”. I suggested many of them would have great pride in reciting this day to their family and friends in the future and expressing  their great pride in playing for the Swans ALL STARS  team.

We voted again and a unanimous count concluded we would play out 15 minute quarters. This gave me, and I think most of the team, a new burst of energy. We pushed hard in the third quarter and consolidated our lead. The LEGENDs kept in touch right through but a three goal, ¾ time buffer, was enough for us to hold on to victory.

WIN, LOSE or DRAW the game is an out and out triumph! Final scores were barley even acknowledged as the two teams came together to congratulate each other and thank their team mates for the small part we played in the day’s event.

Well done SWANS on another great ANZAC Friendship Match day event.


ALL STARS      10.10.70           def.              LEGENDS                    8.7.55

  • Quy 4 (Goals)                                         Danny Armstrong, 3 (Goals)
  • Kyle Hackenberg 2                                 Adam Corrall, 2
  • Matt Natalotto 2                                   Minno, 2
  • Jon Hopper (from China) 2                      Shannon Leahy, 1

Field umpire: Patrick Stringer

Still to come on :

  • Match report: ANZAC Friendship Match
  • Photos
  • A letter from Stan Middleton at the McMillan Dinner
  • A wrap up of the entire weekend
  • And more!

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Download official magazine of 2012 ANZAC Friendship Match. Free!

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 22, 2012

The Official Magazine of the 2012 ANZAC Friendship Match.

The Official Magazine of the 2012 ANZAC Friendship Match is packed full of interesting articles. Download it now by .

See below for a list of contents:

Messages from all those involved and those with a past history with the ANZAC Friendship Match. Contributors include:

  • John McAuulty, Australian Consul General
  • Phil Johns, National President, Vietnam Swans
  • Will Abbott, President Shanghai Tigers and Mic Mittasch, President Beijing Bombers
  • Stan Middleton, Official Historian of the Vietnam Football League (1966-71)
  • Ron Vernon, 1967 Premiership Player, RAAF Team
  • Kev McMillan, 6th Battalion, Royal Army Regiment and Australian Army Training Vietnam
  • Tony Woods, International Development Manager, AFL
  • Tony Morwood, Player of the Century and General manager Business Development, Sydney Swans
  • Derrin Limbrick, former Saigon President, Vietnam Swans
  • Richard “Ossie” Osborne, former AFL player and player in 2011 ANZAC Friendship Match
  • Alex Jesaulenko, former AFL player
  • Josh Little, former coach, Vietnam Swans

What it all means, and who we honour.

P13. Farewell to John Carey
John Carey was a Vietnam Veteran and a Vietnam Swans supporter

The schedule of the weekend events.

The curtain raiser.

The Vietnam Swans vs The China Reds.

Read up about the players of this historic match.

Stan Middleton tells us about the Vietnam Football League.

The young lives we are supporting at today’s ANZAC Friendship Match.

*** Download your free copy by .

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Swans triumph in gritty ANZAC Friendship Match

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 21, 2012

Left: the Swannies managed to get up against the China Reds in the 2012 ANZAC Friendship Match. Right: the China Reds after the match.

The Swannies have managed to get up against the China Reds in a gritty ANZAC Friendship Match at the Vung Tau Dog Track this afternoon.

The Scores:

Vietnam Swans             Vs      China Reds

Q1   2. 0. 12  (12)                                  2. 6. 18 (18)
Q2   4. 3. 27  (39)                                 3. 1. 19 (37)
Q3   4. 1. 25   (64)                                 1. 4. 10 (47)
Q4   2. 3. 15   (79)                                 1. 3. 9   (56)

Final Score:     12. 7. 79                                           7. 14. 56

Ryan “Revo” Evans was judged Best on Ground.

Afterwards, a weary and limping Nick Shiells, when asked to comment on playing the China Reds in the 4 x 20 minute quarter ANZAC Friendship Match in the Vung Tau heat replied, “Yeah, I feel like I have just played in an ANZAC Match”.

Mega day.

Tonight: McMillan Dinner and Middleton Address.

Much more to follow.

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Official welcome to today’s 2012 ANZAC Friendship Match, Vung Tau

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 21, 2012

The cover of today's Footy Record for the ANZAC Friendship Match. On sale today!

Vietnam Swans National President, Phil Johns welcomes people to today’s 2012 ANZAC Friendship Match in Vung Tau. The welcome address comes from the event’s Footy Record.

Dear Friends

From all the Vietnam Swans, it is my great privilege to welcome you to the 2012 ANZAC Friendship Match here in Vung Tau, on the hallowed turf of the former Lord Mayor’s Oval.

In just its third year since being born, the ANZAC Friendship Match is developing a tradition and momentum that has surprised many but not all. Its history is short but rich; its intent is nothing but honest.

The gestation period has been considerably longer. We readily recognise the influential role of the Thailand Tigers’ 2009 ANZAC Day Match Weekend in Kanchanaburi, a few tortured screams away from WWII’s infamous Hellfire Pass. That year, there were three, rather than four, ex POWs at the match. The 90 year old, Ernie Redman, who suffered a heart attack a week earlier, died just four days later. That weekend in Kanchanaburi was one we wanted to freeze in time.

Contemplating the issues and sensitivities associated with hosting an ANZAC Match in Vietnam the following year sometimes felt like we were standing before the fall out of Brigadier Stuart Graham’s minefield in Phuoc Tuy Province. But armed with good people and that honest intent, we seem to have been able to negotiate the terrain to establish the ANZAC Friendship Match as a permanent fixture.

By next year, an eye opening 40 years will have flowed since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Australia. During this time, while “Vietnam” has been frozen in the minds of some, it has been busily writing its next chapter: one of becoming a modern, vibrant country that has warmly welcomed all of us who choose to live and work here.

Last year, a hesitant veteran, John Carey, returned to Vietnam after a 40 year absence. He was deeply impressed with what was, to him, the “new Vietnam”. He liked it so much that he booked a return trip to be here in Vung Tau this weekend – two trips in 12 months! Alas, last January, John lay on the couch and closed his eyes for the last time.


At the ANZAC Friendship Match, each player will wear two black armbands to symbolise that the pain associated with loss is universal. We shall reflect from a common base – and we shall look forward to blue sky.

We shall shine the spotlight of the “new Vietnam” back into Australia. We shall warmly thank our Vietnamese hosts for generously welcoming us to their country.

We shall use this match to raise funds for the local orphanage, the Centre for the Protection of Children in Vung Tau and Long Hai. In a country where more children die from drowning than road accidents, we shall raise awareness and funds for Swim Vietnam. But we want to do more than “just” reduce the number of drownings; we want to unlock Vietnam’ s long coastline and extensive network of internal waterways to the Vietnamese kids . Bring on a wonderful water world of swimming and laughter!

The ANZAC Friendship Match is not perfect. Unquestionably, we need greater Vietnamese engagement but its current trajectory is reassuring.

To the China Reds, thank you sincerely for coming to our special weekend. We are confident that the significance of the entire weekend will provide you with a lifetime memory that you will want to share.

To the Vietnam Swans and friends, congratulations to each of you playing in today’s Legends and All Stars Matchand the ANZAC Friendship Match.

To the officials, sponsors, friends and Swannies who have worked tirelessly to make today happen, thank you.

To the spectators, thank you for showing your support by attending today’s ANZAC Friendship Match. Enjoy the day, spread the message – and tell people aboutthe 2013 ANZAC Friendship Match.

“Weary” Dunlop once predicted that Hellfire Pass would assume “a significance equal to that of Gallipoli”. So will Long Tan. Time does not stand still.

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