Vietnam Swans

Australian Rules Football In Vietnam!

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Archive for November, 2012

Nat Payne’s farewell match brings out the best of Saigon’s lookalikes

Posted by Vietnam Swans on November 30, 2012

Who looks most like our outgoing champion, Natty "Shinboner" Payne? Exhibit A, B, C or D? Vote below.

Who looks most like our outgoing champion, Natty “Shinboner” Payne? Exhibit A, B, C or D? Vote below.

Tomorrow, Nat Payne, in a Gus-like performance for the Swannies, will play his last game as a resident of Vietnam – for the second time. Tomorrow, of course, is Saigon’s blockbuster Grand Final between the Saigon Reds and Saigon Whites. This match was hastily invented just two days after our previous last match of the season, the Indochina Cup, when the hard core Swannies discovered they couldn’t go cold turkey any longer.

Tomorrow’s local derby Grand Final has created a lot of interest amongst the best of Saigon’s expat community. Tomorrow will be our last chance to see the mesmorising, untouchable, Shinboner bamboozle and befuddle his opponents once again as he reduces the fast paced tempo of our game to the speed of a slo mo replay. The punters have been coming out of the woodwork and crawling out from under their rocks in celebration to salute the outgoing champion. Many, have even tried to dress and look like him.

This afternoon, Swannies’ super sporting columnist and now photographer extraordinaire, Dave O’Shea (is there anything this man can’t do?), went out onto the streets of the ‘Gon snapping the best of the lookalikes which appear above.

Check out the photos and then vote for your favourite lookalike below on Polldaddy.

STOP PRESS!! It has just been confirmed that tomorrow shall also be Qui Le’s last game for the Swannies.

Quote of the week: During the year, Qui has played for both the Reds and the Whites. He then asked Reds’ Hard Man, Billy Cranger which team he should play for. Controversially, Billy replied with a question, “Last time you cut yourself, what color was the blood?”

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Saigon’s 2012 Reds Vs Whites Grand Final Preview – by Dave O’Shea

Posted by Vietnam Swans on November 30, 2012

“Put up your hand if you love quoting Billy Shakespeare.” Dave O’Shea controversially opens this Grand Final Preview by quoting Billy Shakespeare.

Dave O’Shea, Chief Sporting Columnist for the Vietnam Swans’ website, for what seems like a really long time condensed into a really short time, finishes off a brilliant season of prose with an unbelievable preview of Saigon’s 2012 Grand Final between the Reds and Whites.

Dave, arguably, one of the greatest writers of the 21st Century, kicks off this incredible footy preview by controversially quoting one of the greatest playwrights of all time, Billy Shakespeare (no relation to Swannie, Billy Cranger).

With this, we charged again: but, out, alas! 
We bodged again; as I have seen a swan 
With bootless labour swim against the tide 
And spend her strength with over-matching waves. 

William (Billy) Shakespeare

According to Billy Shakespeare’s poem above, he has seen a swan swim against the tide. Well, if he was watching the Vietnam Swans this year he would have seen a Swan swim with the tide.

It’s been a great year for the Swans both on and off the field. The Vung Tau Boot Camp run by Matty Smashalotto; beating China in the ANZAC Friendship Match clash; finishing a tight 4th at the Asian Champs; smashing the competition at the Indochina Cup, starring on Vietnamese Television Shows in Hanoi and Saigon – as well as Harry – here I am – Hodge in some top Vietnamese drama, and celebrating some mega awesome Grand Final Parties at the tick-tick Boomarang and Intercon (in Hanoi) have been just a few of the many highlights of the year.

But ladies and gentleman, just when you thought the year was over, more Swannies’ Awesomeness pops up. This Saturday, bitter rivals, the Saigon Reds and Saigon Whites will meet at Thu Duc in our own Grand Final blockbuster. The Mighty Whites lead the series 5 – 2 but all scores will be wiped clean for this duel between the two very exciting Saigon teams.

In what has been a great year for the Whites, they will be looking for one last effort to really stamp their authority over the two Saigon team competition. The Reds, on the other hand, will be looking for redemption after clearly being outplayed all season.

The Shinboner of Reason, Natty Payne, will, for one last time, show poise for the boys in his farewell match. No wonder no place is Thu Far to come from on Saturday to say, “I was there.”

Quote of the Week

“The only time available at Thu Duc this Saturday is from 3-5pm as they are rolling the field in preparation for the biggest event in Thu Duc’s history. It will mean there will be more time for all the fans to get through the traffic jams and get to the game, I’m expecting it to be a sell out!”

- Vietnam Swans and Saigon Whites’ Skipper, Luke “Dukes” Creamer who has booked the venue at Thu Duc. Dukes unnecessarily adds that “Thu Duc is never Thu Far for an MSF (Mega Swannies’ Function)”.

Where it will be won

The battle of the ruck will be crucial in the match. Big Lukey Miller has been dominant in the ruck and has been able to tap the ball wherever his midfield has asked for it. The Whites will be looking for a similar display from big Luke in the final, whereas the Reds will be looking to find a way to stop his dominance at the centre bounce.

The injury toll from both teams must be adding up. It has been a grueling season for the Swannies and only three weeks after the Indochina Cup, there will surely be some sore and wounded bodies from both teams.

The back line of the Whites’ team has been solid all season. The Reds will need to find a way past the likes of Travy, Phil G and Heater to have any chance of winning the match.

Nat Payne thought he had retired after the Indochina Cup, but like John Farnham, he will be having another farewell gig. If John Farnham is “The voice of reason”; Nat Payne is “The Shinboner of Reason”.

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Mick “Frank” Francis – the first inductee into the Swannies’ Hall of Fame (2012)

Posted by Vietnam Swans on November 29, 2012

Mick Francis holds centre court after the Swannies’ first ever international, the Hanoi Invitational Cup, Hanoi, November 2003.

On 11 November 2012, the Vietnam Swans Hall of Fame was launched. Three outstanding Swannies were inducted. Inductee No.1 was Michael Francis.

The  Swannies have been playing footy for nine years. But the Pied Piper of Hanoi, Mick Francis, has been playing his footy tune in Hanoi for close to eleven.

Initially, Mick, the entrepreneur, had a problem: Mick had to work at Pepperonis Pizza Bar in Hanoi when the AFL was being telecast on Friday nights.

“I was trying to sell some pizzas and wanted to watch the footy while I was working”, he explained last year during a popular segment on this website, Five minutes with the Flyer.

“I got a few boys around (where I offered pizzas, beer and footy) and there it was; footy on a Friday!”

And the beginnings of the Hanoi Swans Football Club began to take root.

With the Swannies, Mick has had a lot of firsts. One of them was being the Hanoi Swans’ inaugural President.

Reflecting upon the Hanoi Swans’ first international, the Hanoi Invitational Cup in November 2003, Mick said, “The lead up was amazing. Everyone was pumped for it. All we wanted was to be the greatest hosts possible. We wanted the visiting teams to love us and to love coming to Hanoi.”

The desire to be great hosts still very much permeates the Swannies’ thinking. We treat hosting very seriously. While we play to win, we also recognise that we are also playing for and within the ‘spirit of Asian footy’ where the overriding priority is that all teams, spectators and sponsors have a great weekend and want to return. And that means being excellent hosts. That philosophy is proven to deliver us better times and more games the following year.

The social beginnings of the Club are interwoven into the Club’s fabric – and this has underpinned the Swannies’ impressive growth. For example, every new person to the Club is still generously welcomed by everyone, just as they were when Mick was offering pizzas, beer and footy. Mick say that you know you have done well when the new arrival says, “You had me at hello”.

Micky Francis – 1st Swannies win (2006, pictured left); first Melbourne golf day (2005) and first Swing to Swim Charity Golf Day, Hoi An (2011 pictured right) where he was also auctioneer and $25,000 was raised for Swim Vietnam.

Another first by Mick was to have Jaac’s (now known as Jaspas which is a club sponsor) in Hanoi, host a function for the AFL Grand Party.

Initially, the Swannies were not the hosts but in 2005 when we attended the Jaac’s Grand Final Party, a whisper went around that Mick Francis had somehow organised for an article, to be published the previous day in the Herald Sun newspaper! What the??

It was a crystallising moment. The exotic appeal of playing Aussie Rules in Vietnam suddenly seemed a whole lot more apparent. The article Mick organised gave the Swannies confidence that what we had was special. And that we could do more of the same, but bigger and better.

And why wouldn’t the Hanoi Swans footy club host our own Grand Final Party in conjunction with Jaac’s? Why are we only guests at a Grand Final Party?

Since then, there have been many articles about the Swannies in newspapers in Australia and Vietnam. There have also been radio and TV interviews. Vietnam Swans’ Official AFL Grand Final Parties are now run in both Hanoi and Saigon.

Other firsts for Mick include being:

  • A member of the first Swannies’ international tour (to Malaysia in 2005)
  • Part of the first Swannies’ Golf Classic in Melbourne (now known as the Ryan Jeffery Golf Classic which is in its 8th year)
  • A member of our first ever international victory (against Jakarta in Hanoi, 2006)
  • A member of the Swannies’ team that made its first appearance at the Asian Champs (2007)
  • A member of the Swannies team at the inaugural Indochina Cup (Hanoi, 2007).
  • A member and auctioneer at the inaugural Swing to Swim Charity Golf Day in 2011 at which nearly $25,000 was raised.

The Herald Sun reports on the Hanoi Swans in 2005 – the first article.

It’s easy to follow; it’s challenging to improve and it’s difficult to build something from nothing. Mick has been there since the very beginning and has laid an amazing foundation for this Club. Work commitments at the , as well as family commitments, mean that Mick is no longer as actively involved in the Club as he would like.

However, Mick continues to run a very supportive and encouraging eye over the Club as the rest of us develop and improve what he started.

And, the Pied Piper is still always there when it matters – usually with a crowd in tow.

Mick’s legacy is strong. He gave us a beginning. He gave us the confidence to build something bigger and the freedom to sculpt.

Mick, congratulations on being inducted into the Vietnam Swans Hall of Fame. Not surprisingly, you are the Swannies’ first inductee! Deservedly so.

Still to come: Profiles on fellow inductees, Dave Kainey and Scott Stacey.
Tomorrow: Dave O’Shea previews Saturday’s Grand Final Blockbuster in Saigon between the Reds and the Whites.

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Swannies’ Summer Sports Show, Melbourne, one month from today. Book now and win!

Posted by Vietnam Swans on November 28, 2012

Summer starts to sizzle for Swannies’ annual Melbourne events that are now just a month away. Also, win 2 nights’ accommodation with breakfast at the Novotel Nha Trang – or win a $100 VIP Cabs voucher in Australia.

It’s 28 November today – and that means it is exactly one month before the Swannies’ Summer Sports’ Show, comprising a triple header, rolls into Melbourne for the 8th consecutive year.

And this year we have some great door prizes on offer thanks to the and VIP Cabs Australia.

1. Friday, 28 December, Swannies’ 8th Annual Ryan Jeffery Golf Classic, Melbourne

That’s right, the Annual Ryan Jeffery Golf Classic will be held again for the eighth year (!) at , Heidelberg.

Given the intention of the day is to get as many Swannies playing together as possible, we will play rules. Thanks to the very social format of ambrose where each team plays the best ball, every golfer has a great fun day, irrespective of their playing ability.

Last year we unveiled the new ‘Red Ryan Jeffery Jacket’ for the winning team and we enjoyed some free drinks courtesy of Ivanhoe golf course’s manager, Shane Rice. Shane is an ex player for the Tokyo Goannas (click here for details).

Friends, brothers, sisters etc are very welcome. .

2. Friday 28 December, Swannies’ 2nd Annual Twilight Celebration Soiree, , 644 Rathdowne St, North Carlton ()

After the golf, we will adjourn to the Great Northern Hotel in North Carlton. A number of people, including Vietnam Veterans, friends, partners, families etc are expected to meet us there.

The Swannies’ Celebration Soiree initiative was introduced to the calendar last year. Given the growing number of Swannies who have returned to Melbourne, we wanted to introduce an event in Melbourne that was a bit more formal and would give the alumni a much better feel for what has been happening with the Club during the previous 12 months and what we might expect in the coming 12 months.

Novotel Nha Trang will donate two nights’ accommodation at the Swannies’ Celebration Soiree.

Accordingly, we will hang up some Ross McRae designed banners from various events during the year; we will have a slide show ticking over in the background of things we have done during the year and we will also have a couple of presentations to update everyone.

The function will be held from 4.30pm – 7pm. Being an informal event, people will just “pay as you go” for any drinks and food that are consumed.

And this year, as well as it being another Swannies’ mega chance to mix ‘n’ mingle, we will also have a mega chance to win…

Lucky Door Prizes – and VIP Cabs Australia

In a really exciting development for the Swannies’ Summer Sports Show in Melbourne, we are delighted to announce that two great prizes will be given away at the Celebration Soiree:

  • is offering one (1) voucher for a two (2) nights stay in a Standard Room for two (2) guests including breakfast. The Novotel Nha Trang offers resort style accommodation in the renowned seaside town of Nha Trang. Looking out on to the sea and close to transport and the city centre, this stylish 4 star hotel is centrally located on the main street. The Novotel has 154 modern rooms. Each has a terrace with stunning sea views. If you prefer the pool, there is also an outdoor swimming pool and a spa.
  • Kurt Walker will donate his $100 VIP Cabs Australia as a door prize. Book VIP Cabs and 10 per cent goes to the Swannies.

    $100 VIP Cabs Australia, donated by Swannie, Kurt Walker. VIP Cabs Australia has the contract for Qantas – and is also a sponsor of the Vietnam Swans. VIP Cabs Australia operates around Australia and every time the Swannies’ name is mentioned at the time of booking, 10 per cent of the fare will go directly to the Swannies!

    VIP donated a $100 voucher for the Swannies’ 2012 AFL Grand Final Party in Saigon and it was won by Kurt Walker. Kurt has very kindly donated it back to the Swannies to use as a lucky door prize at the Celebration Soiree. Meanwhile, if you love the Swannies and need a cab in Australia, follow the VIP Cabs Australia link to find out how to book and make 10 per cent for the Swannies.

3. 29 December, Swannies’ 6th Annual Test Cricket Match, MCC Members Pavilion, MCG Melbourne

If you love the cricket, you already love Melbourne’s Boxing Day Test Cricket Match which, this year, will be played between the Australians and the Sri Lankans.

If you love catching up with current and former Swannies at the MCG, this one is for you. We will again be in the MCC (Melbourne Cricket Club) Members Pavilion. Being in the members is just how the Swannies’ roll.

Derrin Limbrick and Josh Little are currently surveying pubs in Richmond for us to meet at en route to the MCG.

All are welcome and bookings are essential. Incidentally, the Celebration Soiree will be a great place to pick up your tickets.


It’s a Who’s Who of the Swannies yet again.

Big names attending some or all of these events so far include: Derrin Limbrick, Josh Little, Ryan Jeffery, Kev Dacey, Danny Armstrong, Nick Shiells, Dave Kainey, Phil Johns, Rick Gaffney, Michael Growder, Mark “Willy” WIlliams, Stan & Sinh Middleton and Chris “Snags” Canty. Plenty more mega names to be added.

To book your tickets for any of these events, or, for further details, please contact .

Photos from last year’s events

Click onto the links to see photos of last year’s , and .

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Francis, Kainey and Stacey inaugural inductees into Swannies’ AFL Hall of Fame

Posted by Vietnam Swans on November 27, 2012

Mick Francis, Dave Kainey and Scott Stacey – inaugural inductees into the Vietnam Swans’ Hall of Fame on Sunday, 11 November 2012, Hanoi. Now, immortalised in bronze…

On Sunday, 11 November, 2012, the Vietnam Swans inducted three outstanding servants of the Vietnam Swans Australian Football Club into our, just launched, Hall of Fame.

While a formal selection criteria is still to be determined (click here for full details), the presence of these three at the 6th Annual Indochina Cup in Hanoi (which is where the Indochina Cup was born in 2007) and at the National Awards the following day was too good an opportunity to miss.

Next year, after the formal selection criteria has been determined, we can reasonably expect a few more amazing Swannies to be inducted into the Swannies’ Hall of Fame. And, what better time to do induct those superstars than next year when the Club celebrates our 10th anniversary??

But we digress; back to Francis, Kainey and Stacey. You can read why the National Committee approved their nominations on Thursday, 29 November, 2012.

Where can you read that? Only on

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Shakespeare also swooned for Swannies

Posted by Vietnam Swans on November 27, 2012

Swannies superstar and chief footy columnist for the Swannies website, Dave O’Shea, has discovered Shakespeare during this post Indochina Cup blues…

With the lack of recent Swannies’ functions, I have been having withdrawals so I have done some research and discovered that William Shakespeare wrote more about birds than any other poet in Western literature. (If National President, Phil “Fabbo” Johns, was a poet from the 17th century, Shakespeare would have written the second most).

But Fabbo and Shakespeare both share something in common. Their favourite bird is the glorious swan. Featured below are a couple of Shakespeare’s poems about the swan.

Sample #1

An earl I am, and Suffolk am I call’d. 
Be not offended, nature’s miracle, 
Thou art allotted to be ta’en by me: 
So doth the swan her downy cygnets save, 
Keeping them prisoner underneath her wings.
Yet, if this servile usage once offend. 
Go, and be free again, as Suffolk’s friend. 
(1 King Henry 6, 5.3.54-60)

Sample #2

With this, we charged again: but, out, alas! 
We bodged again; as I have seen a swan 
With bootless labour swim against the tide 
And spend her strength with over-matching waves. 
(3 King Henry 6 1.4.19-22)

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The Vietnam Swans launch Hall of Fame

Posted by Vietnam Swans on November 25, 2012

The Swannies launch our Hall of Fame (medal for illustrative purposes only).

The day after the Indochina Cup in Hanoi a fortnight ago on 11 November 2012, the Vietnam Swans held a function for our 2012 National Awards. In addition, there was a surprise for all but four members of the National Committee comprising the National President, Hanoi & Saigon Presidents and the National Treasurer. The National Committee decided that the timing was right to launch the Vietnam Swans’ Hall of Fame.

Despite the Club having been in existence for nine years, just three very worthy Swannies were inducted: Mick Francis, Dave Kainey and Scott Stacey. The National Committee believed it was far better to deliberately under represent than over represent the Hall of Fame at this stage.

Members of the Swannies, at various stages, have often remarked that we needed to set up a Hall of Fame – but until now, we have never “got around to it”.

With two club stalwarts, Scotty Stacey and Dave Kainey set to return to Hanoi for the 2012 Indochina Cup and the Annual Awards the following day, Saigon President, Nick Shiells proposed that we should seize the day and use their return as a trigger to launch the Swannies’ Hall of Fame.

It was decided that, initially, we needed to under represent the Hall of Fame because, quite simply, we have not established the all important and critical, selection criteria. To be admitted into the Swannies’ Hall of Fame is to bestow the highest honour that the  Swans can on an individual.

National annual awards recognise excellent performance and contributions over a 12 month period. For inductees of a Hall of Fame, inductees must have made regular, consistent and outstanding contributions over an extended period of time. But how do we measure that?

For the Sydney Swans, the is that inductees must have had a “profoundly positive influence on our Club”. Further, to be eligible for selection, the Sydney Swans state that:

  • An individual must have been retired for at least two seasons
  • It is not purely a simple formulaic exercise
  • It is not purely about statistics
  • It’s also as much about character, passion, leadership, courage and a host of other personal traits that invariably separate the great players and contributors from the rest

“The Selection Committee has to weigh a range of factors up in its deliberations.

“For instance, such things as the importance of one player’s longevity and durability compared with another player’s brilliance over a much shorter period of time has to be considered. As does how much emphasis should be applied to a player who is part of a successful era, compared  with an outstanding  player who played in a period of far less on-field success by the team.

“In the end while it is a subjective exercise we are confident that no individual worthy of inclusion will be overlooked.”

As well as needing to decide the Vietnam Swans’ selection criteria, we didn’t have enough time to assemble the right props, symbols and ceremony befitting such an occasion where we honour our Club’s most important. This year, all we had was a symbolic club t shirt to offer Dave, Scott and Mick!

This year was about starting a new, proud, tradition. Next year, will be about adding the class and dignity commensurate with the occasion.

But why kick off with Dave, Scott and Mick? Well, there wouldn’t be much point having a Hall of Fame if it didn’t include those three. And that’s not a bad starting point for the Vietnam Swans Hall of Fame. (More detail to follow on the three inductees.)

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“A tale of two cities” and Glenn Nolan (from a third city) in “Age” newspaper

Posted by Vietnam Swans on November 24, 2012

HCMC’s signature shot, the ao dais on bicycles. Photo, The Age.

No, we’re not talking about the Sydney Swans’ tale of two cities with respect to Melbourne or Sydney. And we’re not talking Swannies’ footy with respect to Hanoi and Saigon.

newspaper has just published a travel article by Mark Dapin who has the tough job of deciding whether Hanoi or Saigon is more worthy of a visit…

“Hanoi has the beautiful, other-worldly Lake Hoan Kiem, but Ho Chi Minh City, nee Saigon, has the disturbing, confronting War Remnants Museum. Hanoi has graceful, stately French colonial public buildings, but in Ho Chi Minh City, old Saigon’s historic hotels overlook the Belle Epoque Opera House.

“To compare the capital of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam with the first city of the vanished nation of South Vietnam is as absurd as contrasting, for example, Sydney and Melbourne. And who doesn’t love that?”

The article compares hotels, food, day trips, opera houses, water, museums, the Australian / American / Vietnam War, Ho Chi Minh, shopping and bars before finally and diplomatically declaring that he would like to spend more time in both cities.

Of special interest to fans of the Vietnam Swans, is when Mark adds a third city to his tale of two, and heads to Vung Tau where he meets Glenn Nolan, owner of and sponsor of the Swannies. Glenn takes him on a battlefields tour.

The article provides a good snap shot of both Hanoi and Saigon, however, there is one glaring omission: where is an in depth study, or even a mere mention of the Swannies?? As Steve Waugh may well have said, “Mark, how does it feel to have just dropped the World Cup?”*

Go you Swannies!!

* Footnote

According to an article by the , “the trouble with Steve Waugh’s infamous put-down to Herschelle Gibbs is that he never actually said it.” for the full story.

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2012 Annual Awards to Hanoi’s best

Posted by Vietnam Swans on November 23, 2012

The towering Italian, Edo, knows no boundaries. This time he has picked up Hanoi’s Coach’s Award. Photo, Asha Phillips.

On Sunday, 11 October (the day after the 2012 Indochina Cup), Hanoi Coach, Adrian “Ado” Enright awarded the Coach’s Award and the Most Improved Player’s Award for Hanoi. Below, Ado reports on teh two awards (still to follow: Hanoi’s 2012 Clubman of the Year, Trent Mears)

Coach’s award: Edoardo Davide

Awarded to Club favourite, Edo, for his continuous positive attitude and willingness to learn the game of Aussie Rules. Since joining the club over a year ago, Edo has also shown incredible commitment to the team, touring after just one training session, and earlier this year returning from Italy to play in the Asian Championships. Despite fracturing his jaw mid-year, Edo remained committed to training which saw him put in an impressive tournament at the 2012 Indochina Cup. A pleasure to coach!

All the best back in your new home, and the home of AFL, Edo.

Most Improved (Hanoi): Matt Carr

Matt joined the Swans with already a solid foundation of skill and knowledge of the game. However, in the last six months, Matt’s improvement has been outstanding and underpinned his elevation into the A-squad for the Indochina Cup. His accurate kicking ability and strong hands will see him continue to make his mark at the Swannies.

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Digger’s Rest Cafe opens in Vung Tau

Posted by Vietnam Swans on November 22, 2012

Ms Cam Chau, in a Swannies’ hat, beneath a commemorative poster for HMAS SYDNEY II, at the new Digger’s Rest Cafe in Vung Tau. Outside, patrons enjoy some drinks, food and views. How’s the serenity?

The growing emporium in Vung Tau that is Swannies’ Sponsor, , has just grown some more.

On 7 November, owners Glenn “It’s a hoot!!” Nolan and wife Trang, opened the latest addition to their family, Digger’s Rest Cafe.

Digger’s Rest is actually located on the former site of Tommy’s Sports’ Bar at 3 Ba Cu Street. The cafe sits opposite the park which has just completed a magnificent restoration and you can even catch glimpses of the ocean through the trees. It’s not just the Kerrigans who would appreciate the serenity.

Inside Digger’s Rest Cafe, the walls are lined with posters and artefacts from WWI and WWII.

In the photo above,  waitress Ms Chau (wearing her Swannies’ hat), stands beneath a commemorative poster of HMAS SYDNEY II which sunk off the West Australian coast in 1941 claiming the lives of her entire crew of 645.

Interestingly, since 2010, the Sydney Swans and West Coast Eagles now play an annual commemorative match for SYDNEY II. Also, HMAS SYDNEY III was known as the Vung Tau Ferry after making 25 trips to Vietnam during the war. And, last month, the Vietnam Swans played SYDNEY IV for the 4th Phoenix Cup Perpetual Trophy in Saigon (click here for full details on the SYDNEY ships).

In summary, if you’re in Vung Tau, be sure to say hello to Glenn, Trang and Ms Chau – and check out the new Digger’s Rest Cafe.

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Adrian “Ado” Enright awarded 2012 National President’s Trophy

Posted by Vietnam Swans on November 21, 2012

Adrian “Ado” Enright is awarded the 2012 National President’s Trophy. Photo, Mark Stennett Photography.

Last year, graphic design artist extraordinaire, Ross McRae was awarded the “Most Outstanding Contribution” trophy. Hanoi President, Dan Hopkins, was awarded the trophy for the Most Outstanding National Contribution.

This year, the National Committee resolved that the National President, Phil Johns, would award the “National President’s Trophy” to the Swannie that he, as National President, deemed “most appropriate”.

In Hanoi on 11 November, the day after the Indochina Cup, Phil awarded the 2012 National President’s Trophy to Adrian “Ado” Enright. Phil explains below.

Casting my eye around the Club, I feel a great sense of excitement as I am reminded of the depth of talent we have on and off the field. There are candidates aplenty for the National President’s Trophy. It then dawns on me what a big responsibility I have to make the “right choice”. But how do I choose? What is the criteria? Or, in recognition that the whole of our Club is greater than the sum of its parts, do I use the award like a spotlight to highlight different aspects of the Club each year?

Dan Hopkins, our Hanoi President, has also had another outstanding year on and off the pitch. In Hanoi, there is a real buzz about the Club which feeds nicely into the national structure. Dan has really grown into the role of Hanoi President and enjoys enormous respect from players and members from one end of the country to the other. This year’s Indochina Cup in Hanoi, the first international hosted by Hanoi in two years, was an outstanding success in terms of the organisation (and on field success). We’re keen to get more international football back to Hanoi next year.

The Treasurer, Rowan Luke, on the waters, at the 2012 AFL Grand Final party in Saigon. Photo, Ross McRae.

Our Treasurer, Rowan Luke, does an amazing job in accumulating and accounting for the money in the Club. He’s the clubman most people don’t notice because he does such a good job of seemingly making the money “look after itself”. He finds sponsors, he pays bills, he manages the Club’s finances, he plays a major role in helping organise our main events such as the ANZAC Friendship Match and the Grand Final Party (in Saigon). I am also well aware that in the wider community, as a senior executive with the Commonwealth Bank, Rowan gives our Club great credibility and confidence. Rowan also offers me greatly appreciated feedback, advice and insights into the direction of the Club. And, Rowan doesn’t even play (well, he did make a cameo appearance at the Champs and in the Legends’ match)!  He is an incredibly selfless man who gives and gives to this Club.

Mark Stennett came across to the Swannies from the Malaysian Warriors. Often, changing clubs can be difficult: the club culture will be different, and there may be a reluctance to jump in and say, “at my last Club, we used to…”. Mark has come into the Swannies and has quietly been increasing his level of involvement that makes the rest of us hungry for more because he does such a great job. As well as playing, Mark takes amazing photos of our matches that we use for promotional purposes, puts together presentations for the Best & Fairest and the Hanoi/Saigon Grand Final Parties. He also looks after the national kit and has an ever helpful attitude. Essentially, Mark is a top notch recruit from the Warriors.

Ross McRae – Saigon’s 2012 Clubman of the Year. We keep talking about the quality of this bloke and his equally impressive graphic design work that positions the club in a spectacular place. People notice Ross’ work – whether it is posters, banners or merchandise. All of it is top quality. After the presentations at the recent match against HMAS Sydney, the Sydney’s Commanding Officer approached me and requested Ross’ match banner so that it could be hung on their ship. Soon after, one of the helicopter pilots from Sydney also requested a match day banner to take back to his air squadron. Ross’ artwork brings people together around the Swannies and makes them feel proud. It also gets our sponsors’ logos into places they wouldn’t normally get access to – thereby increasing the value of a Swannies’ sponsorship. Ross’ iconic artwork for the ANZAC Friendship Match is a key reason for the growing prestige of this increasingly iconic signature event of the Swannies. Somehow, Ross also finds time to get Swannies to spend their own  time on Supercoach.

National President’s Trophy, 2012 – Adrian “Ado” Enright

This year, Ado is awarded the 2012 National President’s Trophy.

Ado has made a massive contribution to the Club again in 2012. He has worked very closely with Dan in Hanoi to really get the Swannies cranking where we are going from strength to strength.

Ado is an incredibly inclusive person. Just like our triple Best & Fairest Skipper, Dukes, our guys with the most footy skill often spend the most time with the least technically skilled in our Club making sure that they improve their skills and confidence – and always feel like a valued member of the team. Ado does an outstanding job in this respect.

Ado blitzes with his idea to organise a group of Swannies, Ois and Celts to run in the Sapa Half Marathon – and raise more than $5,000 in the process for Swim Vietnam.

On the footy field, Ado gives his all for the Club. He has a penchant for flying high before landing square on the middle of his back (click here for his amazing mark at the Indochina Cup). Ouch! No problems for this tough nugget who slowly picks himself up; dusts himself down while still sporting horizontal hair and then trots off in preparation for the next contest. And it all happens with a smile on his face. In terms of promoting the core values of Swannies’ culture and the spirit of Asian footy, Ado is a terrific ambassador.

Unfortunately for us, Ado is about to finish his two year stint in Vietnam and will return to Australia to be part of the growing Swannies’ alumni. Before he leaves, Ado wanted to say “thank you” to the community in which has felt privileged to live in. So, two months ago, Ado assembled a number of Swannies, Hanoi Oi netballers and Viet Celts Gaelic players to run the Sapa Half Marathon (near the Chinese border). In the process, they raised more than $5,000 for .

It was a great story of creating something from nothing in terms of giving back to the community and using a cause to bring other like minded sporting groups in Hanoi together.

It was a great story that I, notwithstanding that I live in Saigon at the other end of the country, found myself proudly relating to an increasing number of people. It was a great story about a national football club called the Vietnam Swans. Here was Swannie, Ado, working with others in Hanoi to achieve a result that was entirely consistent with the values of our Club and accordingly, it resonated equally with Swannies whether we lived in Hanoi, Hoi An, Bing Duong, Saigon, Vung Tau or overseas.

Ado’s departure is another reminder that our players, while they remain Swannies for life, keep leaving Vietnam! However, what Ado et al did with the Sapa Half Marathon, apart from being a good thing to do in itself, further promoted the culture and profile of our Club. That in turn, helps us recruit top quality people (who may or may not also be top quality players) more quickly, wherever they are, when they first arrive.

Being able to recruit effectively means that the Club is in a perpetual state of continual renewal. And that continual renewal will underpin the ongoing development and progression of the Swannies in 2013 and beyond.

Ado, congratulations on being such an outstanding recipient of the 2012 National President’s Trophy.

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Phil Jordan reflects on Asian footy with both the ‘Phants and the Swannies

Posted by Vietnam Swans on November 19, 2012

Phil Jordan’s first Asian International was as a Lao Elephant (see far right) when the club debuted at the 1st Indochina Cup (known as the Tri Nations Cup) in Hanoi 2007. Note Swannie Scotty Stacey in the background, Gus (no. 6) and Micky J (helmet).

Phil Jordan started with the Lao Elephants – at the ‘Phants’ international debut in 2007. That was the inaugural Indochina Cup held in Hanoi. Last weekend, after playing in the 2012 Indochina Cup in Hanoi for the Vietnam Swans, Phil hung up his boots.

Phil has now moved back to Melbourne to open , a company that will bring golf tours to Vietnam.

Below, Phil, a rugby man, talks about the role that footy has played while living and working in Indochina.

I originally moved to Vietnam to live in early 2005, working as a tour guide and, being constantly in and out of the country, I unfortunately did not get to spend any time with the Swannies in this two year tenure but did make some great friends where the AFL seed was planted.

In 2007, I took a job in Laos. I knew little about the country and after a few months there was questioning the decision. By chance, one night I ran into an old friend in the jazzy Brick Bar; one Marty Sharples. We had met in Vietnam many times on the road when our groups overlapped. He informed me that he and a handful of others (David Kemp, Michael “Hollywood” Hassest to name a few) were starting a football club called the Lao Elephants. Having been pretty bored for the past months, this excited me greatly – until he clarified it would be AFL and not Rugby League. This immediately depressed me again.

The months had been rough so I decided to head down to the local park (aptly named the sandpit, due to fact the field was surrounded by grass but contained none) and have a kick with the boys. From there I was hooked, not so much on the sport itself (that would come with time), but more so the calibre of the blokes playing the game, the work which would be done for charities and the community etc. I can honestly say I made some great friends and if it wasn’t for the Phants and their distinctive pink get-up, I probably wouldn’t have lasted Laos. Instead, I ended up loving the three years I spent there and made some friends I know will be kept for life.

Phil Jordan finishes off his Asian footy career in Swannies’ colours. Controversially, wearing an out of date jumper and non Swannies’ shorts! At least he was giving plenty of exposure to the Swannies’ Signature Sponsor, Pest Free.

After a brief sabbatical in Europe, I was offered a job in Vietnam and returned to where it all began. From my time in Laos at the various footballing events I had gotten to know many of the Vietnam players. They were a class act, both on and off the field, and I knew that I would definitely drag my hungover self down to RMIT (Saigon) on the first Saturday I was in town. I immediately felt welcome into the Swannies flock.

What the Club does is amazing in terms of charity work, community support and essentially just being there for each other and playing some great footy along the way. In many respects I am sure the Swannies are the benchmark for other clubs as to how things should operate. There are always key individuals which keep clubs on track, and they can suffer if they leave. At the Swans there is too many to name but Phil “Fabbo” Johns is one of those characters who does so much for the club and the community it’s just impossible to know where to start the praise.

I’d like to thank all the Swans and everyones I’ve been involved with in Footy. If someone told me seven years ago I’d be playing AFL in Asia – and loving it – I would have told them to go get their head read. Now I can’t imagine it any other way.

I’ll start a new chapter now bringing golf tours to Vietnam and I will try and tie them in with Swannies’ functions as much as humanly possible, beginning with next ANZAC Friendship Weekend.

You’re all Legends; stay tuned and keep honkin!

Footnote: At the Swannies’ 2012 AFL Grand Final Party in Saigon, Phil Jordan’s Golf Life Tours donated a restored and repainted Swannies motorbike that was auctioned for charity. The auction raised $3,100 and the proceeds were donated to Swim Vietnam.

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