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Sydney Swans website: Vietnam Swans prepared for ANZAC clash

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 21, 2012

The Sydney Swans report on today's 3rd Annual ANZAC Friendship Match.

The Sydney Swans website has just run a story on the Vietnam Swans and the 2012 ANZAC Friendship Match entitled .

The story is written by Jordan Laing and appeared on 20 April 2012. Below is an extract.

Two guys, a signed Bob Skilton photograph and a pizza place was all it took for the first ever AFL club to be born in Vietnam.

Known as the Vietnam Swans, the team was formed one memorable Friday night while a group of Australian ex-pats were watching, of all things, AFL on television at a local pizzeria in the nation’s capital, Hanoi.

Eleven years later and the team is preparing to take on the China Reds in the third annual ANZAC Friendship Match at their local playing field.

“During the [Vietnam] War, there was a Vietnam Football League where the diggers used to play for two premierships each year on the then Lord Mayor’s Oval in Vung Tau,” president of Vietnam Swans, Phil Johns said.

“That Lord Mayor’s Oval is now the Vung Tau Dog Track which is where we play the ANZAC Friendship Match.”

  • To read the rest of the article, .
  • To learn more about the ANZAC friendship Match, click here.

7 Responses to “Sydney Swans website: Vietnam Swans prepared for ANZAC clash”

  1. Rocket Nguyen said

    The writer has stuffed up BIG time!

    The Swans were NOT the first AFL club in Vietnam…
    that honour belongs to the Saigon Saints who were formed in the mid-1990s.
    Also the Hanoi Hawks were formed before the Swans.
    To the Vietnam Swans credit hat information is captured on the club’s website.

    It is always a shame to see history not acknowledged in the search for a story that is factually incorrect………..

    Shame – because the Anzac Friendship match is such a significant event.

    • Another admirer of the Vietnam Swans Football Club said

      Dear Rocket Nguyen – To be factually correct; the first Australian Rules Football Club or should I say clubs in Vietnam were the numerous armed forces teams that played in the Vietnam Football League in the late 60′s and early 70′s. So a journalist made an honest mistake and didn’t mention the first football clubs in Vietnam were formed during the war period. At least he was right about the Saigon Saints and Hanoi Hawks not being the first Australian Rules Football Club in Vietnam. The Vietnam Swans is a great club which respects all the clubs that came before it. I suggest you get your facts correct before you start tacking pot shots at some journalist for misquoting who was the first Australian Rules Football Club in Vietnam.

      • Rocket Nguyen said

        Thanks Admireer – good point – you’re absolutely right – footy was first played in Vietnam back in the 60s by the troops.

        And you’re about the Vietnam Swans acknowledging and respecting that tradition – it was done wonderfully at the ground and at the dinner.

        And you’re right about the main focus being on the Anzac Friendship match.

        However, my MAIN point is that history should not be re-written. The online reporter in seeking to get a Sydney Swans angle got his facts wrong. You might not think that important but I think it is important to honour the work people have done before them – both by the Saints and hawks – and as you point out, by the Army boys.

      • Pago Nguyen said

        The first Australian Rules Football played in Vietnam was played by the troops with games organised between battalions. This information is freely available to all who would like to research it. As an Australian I mean no disrespect however I think it is a stretch to call them clubs. There were no after match events (for obvious reasons) and I accept that the conditions at the time were prohibitive in terms of establishing a club. Australian Rules Football did exist in Vietnam during the conflict.

        However Rocket Nguyen is absolutely correct and the Swannies have been disrespectful in trying to rewrite history. Whoever wrote the below has no idea and is more caught up in the emotion of the idea than in the facts.

        “Two guys, a signed Bob Skilton photograph and a pizza place was all it took for the first ever AFL club to be born in Vietnam”.

        Wonderfully romantic but absolutely false. Why would the Swannies allow this to be republished on an AFL website when those that know, know that it is wrong?

        The first Australian Rules Club formed in Vietnam was The Saigon Saints in 1998. Shortly after the Hanoi Hawks were formed. The first Asian Champs were held in Saigon on 6 June 1998 between Hanoi, Saigon, Hong Kong, and Thailand.

        I am very happy to provide the photos of some games if you wish.

      • Coming at the end of a busy and emotional ANZAC Week, the timing of a claim that the Vietnam Swans have been “disrespectful in trying to rewrite history” is quite disappointing.

        The Vietnam Swans have never claimed to have been the first footy club in Vietnam. Preceding the Vietnam Swans were the Hanoi Swans, Hanoi Hawks and Saigon Saints. We were aware of some Aussie Rules being played during the war but did not have any details, until 2010, of all the footy clubs/units/teams that played in the Vietnam Football League from 1966-71.

        Rather than “rewriting history”, the Vietnam Swans tried to recognise history by honouring the contribution of earlier clubs in 2010′s Inaugural ANZAC Friendship Match. The Vietnam Swans fielded two teams in this internal match which was played between the “Hanoi Hawks” and the “Saigon Saints”. The results of that match are recorded on the ANZAC Friendship Shield which hangs on the wall in Tommy’s Sports Bar, Vung Tau.

        Last week, the Sydney Swans published an article on its website titled, “Vietnam Swans prepared for ANZAC clash” (by the way, how exciting is it that an AFL Club is interested in what is happening in Asia and the ANZAC Friendship Match??). Unfortunately, the article incorrectly referred to the Vietnam Swans as the “first ever club to be born in Vietnam” and this is the sentence that has upset several people.

        The original question asked by the journalist was “How did the Vietnam Swans come about?”. Rather than wandering off and describing the history of Aussie Rules in Vietnam, I answered the journalist’s question – which was about the Vietnam Swans. Just as a busy journalist has made an incorrect assumption in a minor article for his AFL Club’s website, others have also made an incorrect assumption – that the Vietnam Swans have “tried to rewrite history”.

        The Vietnam Swans have written to the Sydney Swans and requested that the article be corrected.

        The Vietnam Swans have a stand alone history and a profile that continues to grow – not just in Vietnam but also regionally and back in Australia. This month, for example, this website has recorded more than 11,000 hits for the first time. It reflects the growing interest in what the Vietnam Swans are doing.

        With the above clarification, hopefully everyone can get back to recognising the magnitude of what has been achieved in the last 7 days during this ANZAC Week.

        Phil Johns
        National President

  2. Dan Kindness said

    Have a great day today Swannies! Wish I could be in Vietnam to enjoy the week and all the work that’s gone into it. Im seriously proud at how huge the ANZAC clash has become as its not just about footy. Its about so much more!

    Carn the Swannies!!

  3. Admirer of the Vietnam Swans Football Club said

    The first Australian Rules Football teams played in the Vietnam Football League during the war long before the Saigon Saints or the Hanoi Hawks. Pity to see the point is lost on some. This is much more than football. This is about the ANZAC legend and mateshhip.

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