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Two inductees into AFL Hall of Fame have Vietnam links

Posted by Vietnam Swans on June 17, 2012

Last week, on 13 June 2012, the AFL, inducted six former players into its Hall of Fame and announced the Game’s 24th Official Legend.

Graham Cornes and fellow Veteran, Normie Rowe at Legacy House, Adelaide, last week.

reports that the Official Legend was Barry Cable (Perth, North Melbourne, East Perth). The inductees into the AFL’s Hall of Fame were Graham Cornes (Glenelg, North Melbourne), Glenn Archer (North Melbourne), Shane Crawford (Hawthorn), Robert Harvey (St Kilda), Chris Grant, (Western Bulldogs) and Nola Johnson on behalf of her late husband ‘Big’ Bob Johnson (Melbourne/East Fremantle).Interestingly, two of the six Hall of Famers have links with Vietnam: Graham Cornes is a Vietnam Veteran and Glenn Archer is the son of a Vietnam Veteran.

Cornes was asked to comment on how football had helped him move on from his time when he was in Vietnam. He replied,

“It was the most important thing in my life. I often say the Glenelg footy club saved my life. I’d been away for seven months in an infantry battalion so didn’t have much time to train. (When I got home) I was able to get home with the infrastructure and discipline of the footy club around me but there were a lot of guys who came straight back … into the suburbs or the farm and a lot of them had difficulties and continue to have difficulties so I’m sad about that. But I’m so grateful to the Glenelg Football club and football in particular.”

(Also, read Cornes’ which was published in Adelaide Advertiser in 2009.)

Glenn Archer meets Swannie, Adam Baird, at Tommy’s Bar, Vung Tau on ANZAC Day, 2009.

Glenn Archer said, “I don’t think I played one AFL game without fear. It was the fear of failure. I never thought I was good enough to play the game at the highest level. I played 311 games and I don’t think before any one of them I wasn’t feeling sick in the stomach, worrying what my opponent was going to do to me, worrying about losing. I had a coach (Denis Pagan) on the sidelines for most of my career who hated losing – more than me in lots of ways – I worried about what he was going to say as well.”

Archer attended the 2009 ANZAC Dawn Service at Long Tan (that was the year that the Vietnam Swans travelled to Hellfire Pass in Thailand for the ANZAC Day Match). Afterwards he returned to Tommy’s Sports Bar (a sponsor of the Vietnam Swans) where he caught up with, among others, Swannies Glenn Nolan and Adam Baird.

The Vietnam Swans congratulate Graham Cornes and Glenn Archer on their magnificent achievements.

In “The Castle”, the Kerrigans thought that jousting sticks were a good idea. Could a dedicated AFL match on Vietnam Vets Day next year, in the 40th anniversary, also be a good idea?

A jousting sticks idea?

Each year, Australia celebrates Vietnam Veterans’ Day on 18 August. Next year marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Australia.

Next year, Vietnam Veterans’ Day will fall on a Sunday. As occurs each year, a memorial service will begin at the Long Tan Cross in Vietnam at 3.30pm – which is 6.30pm at the SCG / MCG. No doubt, there are probably many reasons why it would not be possible to dedicate an AFL Match to the Vietnam Veterans at this time on that day.

But, gee, there must be a few good reasons why it would also be a good idea.

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