Vietnam Swans

Australian Rules Football In Vietnam!

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Archive for October, 2012

Swannies swamp HMAS Sydney last night

Posted by Vietnam Swans on October 31, 2012

Last night aboard the HMAS Sydney in Saigon, the crew perform the ceremonial setting of the sun with the city lights forming the back drop.

Last night in Saigon, the captain and crew of the visiting HMAS Sydney hosted a cocktail reception aboard the guided missile frigate.

A number of Swannies were among the distinguished guests. Officially representing the Vietnam Swans were the National and Saigon Presidents (Phil Johns and Nick Shiells). Unofficially representing the Swannies were Shannon Leahy (Austrade), Ross Munn (Commonwealth Bank), Rocket (RMIT), Chris Butler (Ernst & Young), Moggy (AFP) and Mark Long (Origin Energy).

It was a great night with a great crew.

The talk of the ship was about travelling to RMIT University this afternoon for the mega clash between the Vietnam Swans and HMAS Sydney for the 4th Phoenix Cup Perpetual Trophy.

Another mega Swannies function is just hours away!

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“Great idea”, Long Tan Veterans’ Association adds support to AFL blockbuster on 2013 Vietnam Veterans Day

Posted by Vietnam Swans on October 31, 2012

The rubber plantation at Long Tan.

John Heslewood is the President of the Long Tan Veterans’ Association. Two days ago, on Monday 29 October 2012 he wrote to the Vietnam Swans regarding the proposal for an AFL blockbuster on Vietnam Veterans’ Day next year.

His email is reproduced below with permission.

I saw your recent email concerning the (proposed Vietnam Veterans’ Day) Twilight match next year.

It would be a great idea and I am sure you will receive plenty of support.

As President of the Long Tan Veterans’ Association,I would like to offer our support and if there is anything we can do to assist, please do not hesitate to contact me.

We have members Australia wide and I’m sure we could get people to attend the game if they were required to take part.

Keep in touch.

Footnote: The 2013 AFL Draw has just been announced. The Sydney Swans are scheduled to play St Kilda on Sunday 18 August, Vietnam Veterans’ Day, 2013 at 3.15pm on the SCG. Could this match be pushed back several hours to allow a live telecast of the minute’s silence at the Long Tan Cross at 6.45pm AEST?

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“This is a great idea”, AFL Hall of Famer, Graham Cornes on Vietnam Veterans’ Day Twilight Blockbuster proposal

Posted by Vietnam Swans on October 30, 2012

Vietnam Veteran and AFL Hall of Famer, Graham Cornes is quoted in Austin Robertson’s article in the Subiaco Post as saying the proposal for a match on Vietnam Veterans’ Day next year is a “great idea that will be widely appreciated”.

Last weekend on Saturday 27 October 2012, the Subiaco Post published an article by Austin Robertson about the Vietnam Swans’ proposal for the AFL to host an AFL match on Vietnam Veterans Day next year.

Vietnam Veteran and AFL Hall of Fame inductee, Graham Cornes is quoted as saying,” This is a great idea that will be widely appreciated.”

Below is a reproduction of Austin’s article.

Vietnam, is becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.

I have visited the famous Tunnels of Cu Chi, an immense network of underground structures, preserved by the Vietnamese Government and gasp in awe at the enormity of it.

Turn back the clock to the ’60s and the ’70s, and these same tunnels and firearms were the instruments of a war fought by the Viet Cong guerrillas and our brave fighting lads.

Today, of course, it is a different story… the Vietnamese people are kind, warm and friendly but, during the war, this was a place where hundreds of young Aussies died in a futile and unwinnable conflict.

Being a Vietnam Vet was a bit like winning the lottery you didn’t want to win.

During conscription, if your number came out of the barrel, you were put in a uniform, given a gun, and sent off to war. No questions asked.

I was lucky. My number didn’t come out and while men, exactly my age and younger, were running around in uncompromising jungles and dodging bullets, the toughest thing I had to do was to face Mal Atwell on a bad mood day.

Austin Robertson’s article in the Subiaco Post on 27 October 2012 supporting a dedicated AFL match on Vietnam Veterans’ Day next year.

For many years, the Vietnam Vets were ignored – they simply did not get the recognition they deserved.

Now the Vietnam Swans Football Club has formally approached AFL Chairman, Mike Fitzpatrick, to consider dedicating an AFL game at the MCG, or the SCG, to those young Australians killed in the Vietnam War (Ed’s note: the proposal would see all veterans from all of Australia’s wars and peace keeping operations be recognised with this match).

I discussed this idea with Vietnam Swans’ President, Phil Johns, on my last visit to Vietnam, and who knows, it may actually happen.

There are many expats living in Vietnam, where AFL games are televised each week, and there is a growing interest in the game.

Mike has undertaken to put the proposition to the AFL administration and hopefully, the decision will be positive. Certainly, it is deserved.

Anyone remotely interested in our national game will tell you, how special the blockbuster ANZAC Day match is between Collingwood and Essendon at the MCG, commemorating our soldiers who contributed so much in both World Wars.

What I am suggesting to Mike, and the AFL, is that a Vietnam Vets blockbuster match be held in Melbourne, or Sydney on the August 18, next year, to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Australia.

Former South Australian football star, Graham Cornes, who was inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame last season thinks it is a good idea.

Most people would not know Graham was a Vietnam Vet.

“The Battle of Long Tan was one of the most heroic actions in Australia’s military history,” Graham said.

For a time, Cornes pitched his tent 50 kilometres down a dusty road from the now picturesque seaside town of Vung Tau, at a place you didn’t want to be, called Nui Dat.

“They (the AFL),” he continued, “have for so long reflected many of Australia’s social issues.

“This is a great idea that will be widely appreciated by all Vietnam Veterans, the majority of whom have suffered severely and have largely felt unappreciated since their war service.”

Hear, hear.

Go get ‘em.

  • To read the original article in pdf format, click onto
  • To read a “Message from Phil Johns”, the National President of the Vietnam Swans, regarding the proposal, which also appeared in the Subiaco Post, click here.
  • To read other articles about the Vietnam Swans that have appeared in the media in both Australia and Vietnam, click here.

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Subiaco Post publishes article by Swans’ National President on Vietnam Veterans’ Day Blockbuster idea

Posted by Vietnam Swans on October 30, 2012

The Subiaco Post’s article.

On 27 October 2012, the Subiaco Post ran an article by Austin Robertson titled, “Kick a goal for Viet Vets”, which looked at the Vietnam Swans’ proposal for the AFL to consider hosting an AFL Match next year on Vietnam Veterans’ Day that would be dedicated to all veterans. The Subiaco Post also ran a side column by the National President of the Vietnam Swans, Phil Johns.

The side column is reproduced below.

While we don’t have the scale of the AFL, the Vietnam Swans do have a level of substance with respect to special games.

For example, we do host an annual ANZAC Friendship Match here in Vietnam – in Vung Tau, where the Diggers used to run a Vietnam Football League competition from 1966-1971.

And we do play the Royal Australian Navy for the Phoenix Cup Perpetual Trophy each time one of its ships makes an annual visit to Saigon. The next match will actually be played next week against HMAS Sydney IV.

Further, our players do live and work in Vietnam, often in quite senior positions in government, business and non government organizations.

The Vietnam Swans have used Australia’s signature sport as a vehicle to effectively act as Australia’s unofficial sporting-cultural ambassadors.

With the proposed Vietnam Veterans’ Day Twilight Match, the AFL has an opportunity to create a match of national significance.

The inspiration for the event is the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Australia and Vietnam.

The glue that would hold it all together would be Australia’s signature sport, Aussie Rules.

The signature moment that would catch the breath of a nation would be the minute’s silence at the Long Tan Cross beamed live to the stadium’s scoreboard during the pre match formalities.

The Vietnam Veterans’ Day Twilight Match would be inclusive, dedicated to all veterans, irrespective of the war or peace keeping operations in which they served.

By being inclusive, we would avoid making the same mistake that caused so much pain for some veterans upon their return from Vietnam.

The women and men returning from Afghanistan, Rwanda, Iraq and too many other theatres must also be recognized by the event held together by Australia’s signature sport, Aussie Rules.

  • To read Austin Robertson’s article, Kick a Goal for Viet Vets, also published in the Subiaco Post on 27 October, 2012, click here.
  • To read the original article in pdf format, click onto
  • To read other articles about the Vietnam Swans that have appeared in the media in both Australia and Vietnam, click here.

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Swannies’ private tour on HMAS Sydney and match day banner

Posted by Vietnam Swans on October 28, 2012

Ross McRae Design’s match day banner for the Vietnam Swans Vs HMAS Sydney match on Wednesday, 31 October 2012.

It’s all happening here in Saigon as the city prepares for Wednesday’s mega match between the Swannies and HMAS Sydney on 31 October, 2012 at RMIT University in District 7.

This afternoon, Ross McRae from unveiled his latest graphic masterpiece: the match day banner for Wednesday’s match.

Ah McRae, you’ve done it again!

The logo for the Phoenix Cup Perpetual Trophy uses the phoenix from HMAS Darwin‘s shield.

The relevance of HMAS Darwin‘s phoenix is that after playing a match against the Swannies in Saigon back in 2009, it donated a 76mm shell to be used as a perpetual trophy for future Swannies-RAN (Royal Australian Navy) matches. Given it was Darwin’s 76mm shell, Darwin thought “Phoenix Cup” was an appropriate name and history was made!

“Round 4″ refers to the number of matches we have played against the Navy. Previously, we have played HMAS ANZAC (2008), DARWIN (2009), a combined tour with YARRA and HUON (2011) and now, SYDNEY (2012).

The silhouette is of Saigon’s skyline and HMAS Sydney.

Meanwhile, also this afternoon, HMAS Sydney confirmed that it would offer the Swannies a private tour of the ship on Monday evening, 29 October, at 6pm. the ship will be berthed at Saigon Port in District 2.

For anybody wishing to attend, please with names of people wishing to attend. Children are welcome. And please bring photo ID.

A big week in footy is about to be unleashed in Saigon!

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HMAS Sydneys, Swannies, footy, WWII & Vietnam

Posted by Vietnam Swans on October 28, 2012

Left, HMAS Sydney docks at Manila’s South Harbor a week ago for the 12th Philippine-Australia Maritime Training Activity focused on anti-terrorism, illegal human and drug trafficking, and disaster response. Right, Sydney Swans co Captain Adam Goodes, aboard HMAS Sydney in April 2010, prior to the inaugural and annual HMAS Sydney II Commemorative match against the West Coast Eagles.

HMAS Sydney IV is due to arrive in HCMC tomorrow, Monday 29 October and will be here until Saturday, 3 November. While she is here, the Swannies will play a team from the Sydney for the 4th Phoenix Cup Perpetual Trophy on Wednesday 31 October at RMIT University, from 4.30pm.

So far, the Swannies lead three games to nil in the series that started in 2008 against HMAS ANZAC. However, with a crew of 35 officers and 194 sailors, Sydney will have plenty to choose from. Already, Sydney has 26 players confirmed for the match that will have 16 players on the field for each team and an uncapped bench.

The HMAS Sydney is actually the fourth ship to bear the name, Sydney

HMAS Sydney II. reports that Sydney was “sunk with all 645 crew in a mutually destructive engagement with the German Auxiliary Cruiser, Kormoran, on 19 November 1941, some 112 miles West of Shark Bay, Western Australia.  The tragic fate of Sydney and her crew remained a mystery until she was found by the Finding Sydney Foundation on 16 March 2008 sitting upright on the ocean floor at a depth of 2,500 metres.”

Since 2010, the Sydney Swans and the West Coast Eagles have played in an annual HMAS Sydney II Commemorative Match at the SCG. As the explained n April, 2010, “The game will be held annually, with the Swans representing HMAS Sydney’s home port and the Eagles representing the ship’s final operations and resting place. The game will be held in honour of the sacrifice made by those men and by their families.”

The Best on Ground player receives a trophy based on the casing of a 76mm shell fired by the ship.  was played in July, in Perth.

The Phoenix Cup Perpetual Trophy

HMAS Sydney III. The website states that, “During the Vietnam War, the task of moving, supplying and maintaining Australian forces in South Vietnam was shared between the Royal Australian Air Force, civilian aircraft, mainly Qantas, and ships from the Australian National Line (ANL). But the bulk of the task fell to the Royal Australian Navy and the vessel that carried out the majority of transport duties to and from Vietnam was the former aircraft carrier, HMAS Sydney.”

From 1965-1972, HMAS Sydney made 25 trips to Vietnam earning it the nickname, the Vung Tau Ferry. Vung Tau, of course, is where the Vietnam Swans host our Annual ANZAC Friendship Match.

HMAS Sydney IV. Next Wednesday, 31 October, HMAS Sydney IV will play the Swannies in Saigon. The winning team will be awarded the Phoenix Cup Perpetual Trophy which is an actual 76mm shell fired by HMAS Darwin. Darwin donated the shell after playing the Vietnam Swans in 2009. It is called the Phoenix Cup because of the Phoenix on Darwin‘s emblem.

Related news:

  • The Communist Party of Vietnam’s on line Newspaper on 24 October 2012 published an article, . It reports, in part, that, “The crew will also participate in a friendly sporting activity with cadets at the Naval Technical College and play Australian Rules Football against the Vietnam Swans at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), Ho Chi Minh City campus.”
  • The Vietnam Swans have proposed to the AFL that it consider hosting next year a Vietnam Veterans Day Twilight Blockbuster, dedicated to all veterans. AFL Chairman, Mike Fitzpatrick, has said the AFL is “seriously looking at” the proposal.

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Dave “Flyer” Kainey confirms attendance at 2012 Indochina Cup, Hanoi

Posted by Vietnam Swans on October 27, 2012

The 2007 Asian Champs in Bangkok. L to R, Dave Kainey, Phil Johns, Scott Stacey and Micky Johnston.

The appropriately nick named Flyer, Dave Kainey (Singapore), has just confirmed that he will fly into Hanoi on 9 November for the following day’s 2012 Indochina Cup.

It’s a star-studded cast of former resident Swannies that are returning to Hanoi with even Scotty Stacey flying in from Australia to be one of our umpires.

Hanoi is where the Indochina Cup was born back in 2007.

It was the first year of the, now national, Vietnam Swans (formerly Hanoi Swans) and the first ever international match for the, just out of the womb, Lao Elephants.

The Cambodian Eagles weren’t even a glint in their father’s eye at that stage.

The Old Man of Asian footy, the Thailand Tigers, were the eventual winners of the first tournament.

Welcome back to Scotty Stacey and Dave Kainey and bring on the 2012 Indochina Cup!

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Swannies transfer VND70million to Swim Vietnam

Posted by Vietnam Swans on October 27, 2012

Funds raised from the Golf Life Tours’ motorbike are transferred to Swim Vietnam.

You will recall that at the Swannies’ AFL Grand Final Party in Saigon last month, a motorbike donated by was auctioned with all funds raised to be donated to Swim Vietnam. Louise was the successful bidder putting up USD3,100. Yesterday, after a hectic schedule that has seen Louise doing a lot of travel, she was finally able to catch up with Swannies’ Treasurer, Rowan Luke, to pay the money.

Together with the proceeds raised from a Gerard Neesham-signed Fremantle jumper, Rowan was then able to transfer the funds to Swim Vietnam.

Rowan wrote yesterday to Swim Vietnam Director, Jo Stewart:

“Just received the last of the charity money this afternoon. The Swans have remitted VND70 million ($3,362 at today’s exchange rate) to Swim Vietnam’s account today (it was a little less than 70m but I just rounded it up). Should be in Swim Vietnam’s account either today or on Monday. Trust that this helps.

“I would like to also thank you and the team from Swim Vietnam for all of your effort and dedication to saving young lives in Vietnam. A truly worthwhile cause.”

Thank you to Phil Jordan from Golf Life Tours for donating the bike and Paddy from Saigon Scooters for decking out the refurbished bike with the appropriate colours and logos. And to Louise for buying the bike! Also to Gerard Neesham and Jo Prince for donating the Freo jumper and to Daniel for buying it for USD265.

As always, thank you to the Swannies’ Treasurer (and Commonwealth Banker), Rowan Luke, who works tirelessly behind the scenes dealing with all money matters related to the Swannies.

Finally, to Jo Stewart, keep up the amazing work at .

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Swannies and Gaels go to Asian Gaelic Games in KL this weekend.

Posted by Vietnam Swans on October 26, 2012

The Asian Gaelic Games, KL, this weekend.

Today, the members of the Vietnam Swans and the Saigon Gaels will set off to Kuala Lumpur to contest, in a combined team, the 2012 Asian Gaelic Games. Leading the charge for the Swannies are some of our favourite Irish brothers, John Redmond, Brian Farrell, Fr O’Rielly, Ben Lynch and Daniel Ryan.

And then there’s the usual suspects who include Dave O’Shea and, controversially, Billy Crang. but don’t forget the Mega Bretta Jotta, Kyle Hackenberg and Phil Ghassab! Could be a huge weekend.

According to the ,

The Asian Gaelic Games are an annual tournament held throughout Asia under the aegis of the Asian County Board.The event brings together clubs from all over the Asian region in a two day tournament in which Men’s, Ladies & Juvenile teams compete for the top honours in Football & Hurling.  Over the course of the two days up to 180 matches are played on 4-5 pitches and the number of teams & standard is increasing every year.
The Asian Gaelic Games is a 9-a-side tournament, with Matches lasting 14 mins each.  The games have been running since 1996 and move from city to city each year – they have been hosted in Manila, Singapore, Phuket, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Penang & Bangkok.
There are 8 trophies up for grabs over the weekend along with individual , & Club awards to be won. The top teams in the competition compete for the , the Ladies Cup & Hurling Cup. 
Over the 15 years the AGG has been running it has grown to be the premier Irish event in the Region and is the highlight of the calendar for the Irish in Asia & the Gulf.  Since 2007 the event has been coupled with the new .
The support of the GAA in Ireland has been invaluable in keeping the Games growing year on year – as well as the dedication and enormous effort of the clubs in the Region.  After 15 years we have gone from a tournament of about 5 teams in 1996 to a tournament of 54 teams in 2010  – – Gaelic Games are alive and well in Asia and long may the growth continue.
Good luck to all the boys this weekend!
And, in terms of promotion of Gaelic Football in the region and linking it with the Ireland Business Forum, one can’t help but be impressed with the level of professionalism.

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I almost got away with it…

Posted by Vietnam Swans on October 25, 2012

Steve Nolan realising that he’s still wearing his Swannies’ hat. Doh!

Swannie, Steve Nolan almost got away with it dressing up to look like he was in the Royal Australian Navy.

But then, just before boarding the ship, he realised he was still wearing his Swannies’ cap.


Speaking of Royal Australian Navies, Wednesday of next week, 31 October, the Vietnam Swans will play HMAS Sydney at RMIT University, D7, Saigon.

Ball will be bounced at 4.30pm sharp. Be there!

Thank you very much to Steve for emailing through this photo.

Related item

For more Swannies Classic Shots of our hats and shirts being seen in amazing places on amazing people, .

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VTV 10 interviews Swannies in Hanoi about next month’s Indochina Cup

Posted by Vietnam Swans on October 24, 2012

Hanoi Coach, Ado Enright is interviewed by VTV 10 last weekend regarding the fast approaching 2012 Indochina Cup on 10 November.

As big tournaments get closer, the media inevitably gets more interested before, ultimately, turning itself into a circus and ripping into a feeding frenzy.

It’s no different in Hanoi at the moment as we prepare to go full circle next month when the Annual Indochina Cup returns to Hanoi – its 2007 birthplace.

Last Friday, for example, Hanoi Prez, Dan Hopkins was whisked away into the salubrious studios of VTV10 for a television interview.

The next day, the cameras followed him to a Swannies’ Saturday training session where players, including our Hanoi Coach, Ado Enright were interviewed about next month’s big tournament.

Meanwhile, Ado reports that, “Alex Leonard is new to the Club but has been superb in terms of his participation at training and also taking some pics and clips.

“If you click onto you will see some shots of a few of the boys getting interviewed about the ICC by VTV10.”

Ado adds, “and for those wanting to see a really good example of a kicking action, click onto and keep your eye on Tristan and the way he guides the ball down on to his boot. It’s a good style to try and replicate if you are new to the game.”

Ado, forever the coach!

Thank you very much to Alex for the videos!

Footnote: As yet, we do not know when VTV 10 will air its segment on the Vietnam Swans. Watch this space.

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Hoi An contingent make pledge for 2012 Indochina Cup

Posted by Vietnam Swans on October 22, 2012

The Hoi An Swannies get serious about the 2012 Indochina Cup. Click to enlarge the pic to read the pledge.

The Hoi An contingent comprising Micky J, Simon Burns and Jason “I love sleeping in Asian Airports” McDonald are in serious preparation for the 2012 Indochina Cup in Hanoi. On 16 October last week, Micky J even reported that they had made a pledge…

They must have put something in the water or beer in Hoi An because the Hoi An contingent for the Indochina Cup 2012 has made a pledge!

It has decided to give up grog for three  weeks to prepare for the big event.

3 Players + 3 Weeks + 0 Alcohol = 3-Peat!!! is our new motto (it’s a bit of a long motto, but it was a spur of the moment sort of thing. So, no time to run it past the marketing gurus. It’s also average maths, but what the heck; this is Asian Footy!)

UPDATE, Last Saturday, 20 Oct from MJ:

Lat night (Friday), the three lads from Hoi An had a kick of the footy in the shin high grass behind the dustbowl being used for Friday night’s, seven-a-side soccer, on the on the ground near the Cam Chau Kindergarten and Nguyen Trai High School.

Competition for space was tight with the local farmer believing his family of three brahman cattle had equal rights to be there. No one was arguing with the bull, who looked like he was ready to practice becoming a father again.  Once the mother and calf broke their tethers and ran through the screaming teenagers doing their PE training with the farmer in chase, out came Simon’s brand new Sherrin, thank you very much!

Using the natural resources to aid our training, we did blind turns around fresh cow pats, sold the dummy to the Brahman bull, had Simon dobbing barrel sausage rolls over the rusting full-pitch soccer goals, while Jason introduced the screaming schoolgirls to the concept of give and get by handballing to them as they did their laps and MJ learned a new way to fluff a short pass by getting his shin caught in the long grass!

Tonight is (was) the last chance for the three lads to have an ale before they honour their pledge to go alcohol free for three weeks to help Swannies 3-peat ICC.

Youse guys in the north and south don’t know what youse are missing!

Go Swannies!

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