Vietnam Swans

Australian Rules Football In Vietnam!

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Archive for April, 2014

Vietnam Swans win 2014 ANZAC Friendship Match

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 28, 2014

The Vietnam Swans have won the 2014 ANZAC Friendship Match against the Malaysian Warriors on the weekend.

The Vietnam Swans have won the 2014 ANZAC Friendship Match in Vung Tau on the weekend.

The Swannies beat the Malaysian Warriors 13. 22 100 to the Warriors’ 1. 5. 11

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2014 Official ANZAC Friendship Match Record

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 24, 2014

Have you seen the 2014 Official ANZAC Friendship Match Record?? Don’t worry if you haven’t, you can download a copy and they will be available at the ground on the big day.
This weekends success hinges on the fantastic support of our sponsors so we ask that you take a look inside the 2014 Official ANZAC Friendship Match Record to find out more information about them and help us to repay that generosity by supporting them!

Click to download the 2014 Official ANZAC Friendship Match Record.

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Mixed Game and Legends Vs All Stars Players Wanted

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 21, 2014

Calling all budding players to register your interest to play in either of the big 2 curtain raiser games being played at this weekends ANZAC Friendship match.

Starting at 12:00 we have the Legends Vs All Stars, which will be a full AFL game. This years teams are full of very skilled and hard hitting players – come prepared to give it your all.

Also this year, we will be introducing a mixed, modified rules AFL game to the schedule. We will be partnering with the Saigon Gaels Ladies team, who have been eagerly practicing with the red leather and watching snippets of AFL on youtube. This game aims to promote inclusion and integration of both males and females at the club, and promises to be a fun yet competitive contest.

Both games are open to anyone that would like to join. Either those that are handy on the field or those that just want a friendly run around followed by an afternoon of guilt-free drinking.

If you are interested in playing, please email MJ () for the Legends V All Stars Match or Maz () for the mixed modified rules game. Please pass this on to any friends that are heading to Vung Tau who might also be interested.

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Official record for 2014 ANZAC Friendship Match

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 21, 2014

The Official Record for the 2014 ANZAC Friendship Match: Vietnam Swans Vs Malaysian Warriors, Vung Tau, Vietnam.

The Official Record for the 2014 ANZAC Friendship Match is out now.


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Song recalls footy played in war zone, reports today’s West Australian newspaper

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 16, 2014

Steve Butler writes in today’s West Australian newspaper, “Song recalls footy played in war zone”.

Today’s issue of the newspaper includes an article by Steve Butler about David Morgan’s hit new single, Forever We Will Run which tells the story of ANZAC footy in Vung Tau.

The article is reproduced below.

Faced with some of the most atrocious conditions in the nation’s wartime history, Australian soldiers fighting in the Vietnam War acted on instinct – and played footy.

Two WA musicians recently registered in Vietnam a song titled Forever We Will Run, honouring the Australian Rules football competition which ran from 1966 to 1971 after being started by Pte John Heaney. He decided it was a better option than the detention being offered from a commanding officer for a misdemeanour he had  committed.

The recording, written by David Morgan and sung by Steve Spouse, will be launched in Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday, four days before the wartime football games will be commemorated with the now ANZAC Friendship Match at the Vung Tau greyhound track.

This year’s match, at the same ground where the original games were played, will be between the Vietnam Swans and Malaysian Warriors and players will wear two black armbands to remember the dead from both countries.

Mr Morgan said he fell in love with Vietnam when working there for three years while building an electrical marine business. He has since written several songs including Forever We Will Run, which he hopes the AFL will adopt during next year’s 100th anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli.

“What amazed me, every time you look at the photos of the Vietnam games, was how young they were”, Mr Morgan said. “I wanted to get a theme about longevity and the healing between the Vietnamese and the Australians. The bonds are getting stronger now through these games and through the money they raise for charities and want it to go on forever.”

Mr Spouse said he became enamoured with the culture and people in Vietnam during a trip there last year and was also taken by the story of wartime football.

“Just the history of the footy there and how in the middle of this raging war, they decided to have a footy match”, he said. “It’s just such an Aussie thing to do.”

Funds raised by the Annual Friendship Match go to the Vung Tau Orphanage, Swim Vietnam and Water Safety Vietnam.

To view Steve Butler’s article online, .

Footnote: The Vietnam Swans are not financial beneficiaries of this project either directly or indirectly.

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Listen to “Forever We Will Run” as played on ABC Radio

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 16, 2014

Listen to David Morgan’s hot single, “Forever We Will Run” which tells the story of ANZAC Footy in Vungers.

Would you like to hear David Morgan’s hit new single, “Forever We Will Run” which tells the story of ANZAC Footy in Vung Tau?

It was played on Macca’s “Australia All Over” last weekend on ABC Radio.

. Then click onto the “8am to 9am” time slot.

Fast forward to 14.30 minutes and you will hear it.

The song has been officially launched in Australia. David will launch it in Vietnam next Tuesday 22 April at the Spotted Cow in HCMC.

Footnote: The Vietnam Swans are not financial beneficiaries of this project either directly or indirectly.

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Lagler Australia raises money from Australia for Vung Tau Orphanage on ANZAC Weekend

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 15, 2014

Cameron Luke, seen here with Alex Jesaulenko in 2012, is once again raising money for the Vung Tau Orphanage.

Cameron Luke is the Managing Director of , a Gold Sponsor of the Vietnam Swans. Each year, Cameron travels from Australia to Vung Tau for the ANZAC Friendship Match.

Below, the Vietnam Swans are very pleased to reproduce an email Cameron has forwarded to supporters.

With my upcoming trip to Vietnam later this month I would just like to thank the following people for their kind donations-

  • Marg Baker
  • Ray McCann
  • Portugal Cork (QLD)
  • Oxford Imports
  • Clint Borthwick
  • Guidance Financial Services
  • Loba Australia
  • Frankston Floors
  • Red Door Rugs Ballarat
  • Fresh Floors
  • Nev HartcherSynteko
  • Lloyd & Mary Lobbe
  • AJ Floors

If you would like to donate to this cause your last chance will be Thursday 17th of April.

The Vung Tau area in Vietnam is where the ANZAC’s were based during the Vietnam War. Many Veterans are now returning to the area and providing ongoing support and raising necessary funds as a way of ‘giving back’ and ensuring that the children are supported so that they have all the necessary life skills to lead productive lives in their community.

The Long Hai centre assists children with basic education, work/life skills such as sewing, motorbike and mechanical repair as well as providing basic health care such as the provision of toothbrushes and toothpaste. The visit to the centre was an incredible experience, seeing firsthand the real life situation of children who, in many cases, simply cannot be cared for by their parents. The Long Hai centre receives little (if any) support from the Government and relies on the generosity of others through donations. For more information about the orphanage centres please go to their .

The personal life story of My Huong Le is an incredible one. I encourage you to read her story by . No doubt you will be moved as I was in her story. The work of My Huong Le and the orphanage centres she is involved with does change the lives of the children in a very positive way.

I will be leaving for Vietnam on 22 April and will be meeting with My Huong Le during my visit. The children from the centres will be attending the Anzac Day football match being played in Vung Tau between the Vietnam Swans v Malaysian Warriors. Once again I will be ‘playing’ in the reserves match – hopefully with all hamstrings attached at the end of the game!

If you would like to donate money for the centres and the amazing work they do please make a deposit to our account below:

Lagler Australia
BSB: 063-245
Account: 1020-0951

Please include your name and “Vietnam” in the reference. Credit Card and cash payments also welcome at either Branch.

I will present My Huong Le with all donations when I meet with her. Last year I was able to raise $3,500 through the generosity of friends, family and business colleagues. Mark and I were able to witness the incredible amount of supplies that this modest amount of funds was able to provide. I invite you to donate to this very worthwhile cause.

If you would like any further information about my trip, the work of the orphanages or the charitable work of the Vietnam Swans I would be more than happy to speak with you.

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Sagion Girls to play Hanoi this weekend before training.

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 14, 2014

Sagion Girls to play Hanoi this weekend before training.

Come on lads get down to training nice and early this Saturday and provide some support to the Girls in their match against the Hanoi team. It’s only 1 weekend before the ANZAC Friendship Match so we hope that we’ve got the whole club out in force.

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ANZAC Friendship Match FAQs

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 12, 2014

The 2014 ANZAC Friendship Match – FAQs

The 2014 ANZAC Friendship Match

Vietnam Swans Vs Malaysian Warriors

Lam Son Stadium (Lord Mayor’s Oval), Vung Tau, Saturday,26 April 2014


1. What is “ANZAC Day”?

ANZAC Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations” and “the contribution and suffering of all those who have served”.

2. Why is ANZAC Day commemorated on 25 April each year?

25 April is the anniversary of when members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) landed on the beaches of Gallipoli (Ottoman Empire (Turkey)) in 1915. The ANZACs were met with fierce resistance from the Ottoman Army and suffered heavy casualties.

3. What is the history of the ANZAC Friendship Match?

In 2009, the Vietnam Swans were invited to play in the Thailand Tigers’ 2009 Commemorative ANZAC Match in Kanchanaburi which is near World War II’s infamous Thai Burma Railway.

The following year, 2010, the Vietnam Swans played the inaugural ANZAC Friendship Match. Players were divided into two teams that were named after previous playing clubs, the Hanoi Hawks and Saigon Saints.

The Friendship Match was designed to:

  • Thank our hosts, the Vietnamese Government and Vietnamese people for warmly and generously welcoming us into their country
  • Encourage emotionally wounded people from abroad to return and experience the New World of Vietnam
  • Learn from those who had been here 40 years before us
  • Show those from abroad, through our eyes, what an amazing country Vietnam is to live and work in
  • Focus attention on the number of children drowning in this country (more children die from drowning than road accidents)
  • Raise money for local causes supporting the future, the kids, via Swim Vietnam and the Vung Tau Orphanage.

4. Why do players wear two Black Armbands?

This is the ANZAC Friendship Match. It is about bringing people together. It’s about recognizing that in times of war, people on all sides suffer.

We who live here in Vietnam are very grateful for this privilege.

Typically, only one armband is worn to commemorate the loss of life. By having all players, from all teams, in all matches wearing two black armbands, it becomes very clear that we are explicitly recognizing the losses suffered by all.

In every photo taken on the day, every player will be wearing two black armbands. This is the ANZAC Friendship Match.

5. What is the Vietnam Football League (VFL)?

In 1966, Private John Heaney was given the call: organize a game of Aussie Rules Football – or face detention for a minor disciplinary issue. He chose the latter!

The following year, 1967, a full scale competition was organized between the various Australian units based in Vung Tau.

The competition, known as the VFL (Vietnam Football League) ran until 1971. There were two premiership seasons played most years.

6. What is the Lord Mayor’s Oval?

Most of the Vietnam Football League’s games were played at Lam Son Stadium which is now the Vung Tau Greyhound Racing Track – and home of the ANZAC Friendship Match.

This is the same oval that the diggers used to play on but they fondly referred to Lam Son as the Lord Mayor’s Oval.

7. Who is Stan Middleton?

In 2010, the Vietnam Swans were very aware that footy had been played by Australian diggers during the War – but we had been unsuccessful in tracking down any of the players or any detail of its history.

So we went ahead aand played our Inaugural ANZAC Friendship Match on 24 April 2010.

Then, just two weeks later, on 10 May 2014, a guy named Stan Middleton left a comment on the Swans’ website:

“I served in Vung Tau in 1967-68. A full scale Aussies Rules Competition between Australian units was conducted (twice a year). The Competition commenced in either 1966 or 1967 and I believe went through to 1971.”

It turned out that Stan had albums of photos, historical documents, contacts – and we were away. The Vietnam Swans had played our Inaugural ANZAC Friendship Match just two weeks earlier – but, suddenly, we had more than 40 years’ of incredibly rich history!

8. What is the McMillan Dinner?

In 2010 and 2011, we enjoyed cracking post match functions. But they were the same type of events as every other post match event we have during a standard year.

But this was a post ANZAC Friendship Match function. It needed to be different. And it needed a name.

The Vietnam Swans in 2012 named the function the McMillan Dinner. It was named in honour of Kevin “Kev” McMillan.

Kev did two tours of Vietnam: one from 1969-1970 with the 6th Battalion Royal Australian Army Regiment and the second from 1970-1971 with the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam.

Some years later, Kev returned to Vietnam in Vung Tau where he married Le. They now have two children. Together with long time friend, Peter Taylor, they played a key role in forming the Vietnam Veterans and Friends Charity. They renovated the Da Bak School and raised $40,000 to put in new toilets and classrooms for the new school at the end of the Luscombe airfield strip at Nui Dat.

Glenn Nolan at the time said that Kev is “a man that gave Australia two years of his life and has come back and helped to rebuild a country he fought in. But it’s in a true ANZAC tradition. They may have been foe but are now friends and this, Kev, has proven.”

Kev was a passionate rugby man who loved to mock the southerners’ “aerial ping pong”. But while he didn’t care about the footy per se, this rugby man was passionate about what the ANZAC Friendship Match represented.

It’s always hardest to start something and Kev was there at the very beginning of the ANZAC Friendship Match in 2010.

Unfortunately, Kev was not able to be at the Inaugural McMillan Dinner on 21 April 2012. He was in Australia being treated for cancer. Stephen Drummond film the night for him, however. The footage was uploaded onto You Tube and Kev was able to watch it from his hospital bed which he loved greatly.

Ten days later, Kev passed away, “chuffed” that the McMillan Dinner had been named in his honour.

9. What is the Middleton Address?

If the ANZAC Friendship Match is about bringing people together, then, that’s what the McMillan Dinner needed to do.

For that to happen, the McMillan Dinner needed a signature event. Given the footy happens on the weekend adjacent to ANZAC Day, it is reasonable to expect that there will potentially be some amazing speakers over the coming years. And so we needed to build a spot for a keynote speaker.

And that spot was to become known as the Middleton Address in honour of Stan Middleton.

We didn’t name it after Stan because of what he did or didn’t do in Vietnam – on or off the footy field.

the ANZAC Friendship Match is about bringing people together – and that is exactly what Stan has done.

Within two weeks of our first footy match, Stan had found us and reached out; offering to help and to share his library of photos, contacts etc. He has continued to work tirelessly to help spread the word and has also been heavily involved with Water Safety Vietnam which also aims to teach children to swim.

The inaugural speaker of the Middleton Address in 2012 was Peter Taylor, Kev McMillan’s best mate.

Last year, Stan himself delivered the Middleton Address.

10. Who is Alex Jesaulenko?

Alex Jesaulenko will deliver this year’s Middleton Address.

Born in Austria in 1945, he migrated to Australia and became one of the greatest ever AFL footballers to have ever played.

He played 279 games for Carlton and St Kilda in the Victorian Football League (VFL) from the 1960s to the 1980s.

He is an official Legend of the Australian Football Hall of Fame and immortalised his reputation in the game by taking the Mark of the Century in the 1970 VFL Grand Final in front of 120,000 spectators.

Career highlights

  • Carlton premierships 1968, 1970, 1972
  • Carlton premiership captain-coach 1979
  • Carlton leading goalkicker 1969–1971
  • Carlton captain 1974–1976, 1978–1979
  • John Nicholls Medal 1975
  • St Kilda captain 1981
  • All-Australian team 1969, 1972
  • AFL Team of the Century
  • Carlton Team of the Century
  • Australian Football Hall of Fame inductee 1996, Official Legend in 2008

11. What is the Peter Badcoe Club?

The Peter Badcoe Club was a rest and recreation club for diggers during the war. The Imperial Hotel, where the McMillan Dinner will be held, stands on the site of the Peter Badcoe Club.

Major Peter Badcoe VC served in the Vietnam War and is the last South Australian to be awarded the Victoria Cross – the military’s highest honour for bravery.

Since 2004, AFL Club, Port Adelaide has presented the Peter Badcoe VC Medal to the best player on the ground as part of ANZAC Round.

12. Where do proceeds from the ANZAC Friendship Match go?

The ANZAC Friendship Match’s tagline is “Honouring lost lives; saving young lives”.

We remember and acknowledge the past and then, while we have everyone’s attention, we offer them a way forward to make a positive difference.

Children are the future of Vietnam and with more children dying from drowning than road accidents, money raised will be donated to Swim Vietnam and Water Safety Vietnam. In addition, we also support the Vung Tau Orphanage.

All proceeds from gate takings at the ground and raffles, less direct expenses, will be donated.

13. What is AFL Asia?

AFL Asia was formed in July of last year to promote and encourage the sharing of information and ideas between existing clubs. Also, it’s designed to enable member clubs to operate in a more strategic and coordinated manner.

AFL Asia comprises 22 footy clubs from Timor Leste in the south to Beijing in the north; and the Philippines in the east to Pakistan in the west.

14. How do I get there?

The Vietnam Swans will be running 2 x buses – leaving at 7pm on Thursday the 24th and Friday the 25th of April to Vung Tau. Alternatively local shuttle service runs ever 15 minutes.

The Thursday night bus will be combined with a tour to the Long Tan Memorial Cross and Dawn Service on Friday morning (departing Vung Tau at 4am).

Traveling time is approx. 1.5hrs.

15. How much does it cost (dinner, bus and game)?

The cost of the Thursday night bus is $15 (including Long Tan Tour on Friday morning). Friday night bus is $15.

The McMillan Dinner, including 3hrs of Free Flow beer, wine and soft drink + buffet dinner costs $60.

Entry to the ground is by donation with all proceeds going to charity.

16. How do I book?

To reserve a place on this buses or book tickets to the dinner please log onto and pay via PayPal.

17. Further Information

For further information please contact [email protected] or log onto

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Jezza meets Stan in Middle of Melbourne

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 12, 2014

Vietnam Football League historian, Stan Middleton and Alex Jesaulenko in Melbourne yesterday. Alex will deliver this year’s Middleton Address after the ANZAC Friendship Match in Vung Tau.

Yesterday in Melbourne, Official Historian of the Vietnam Football League which ran from 1967-71 in Southern Vietnam, Stan Middleton, met up with Alex Jesaulenko.

Alex will deliver this year’s 3rd Middleton Address during the McMillan Dinner which follows the ANZAC Friendship Match on 26 April 2014.

Stan writes that he “spent a very enjoyable hour with Alex. He is very excited about his trip to Vietnam and the footy game and doing the ‘Middleton Address’.

“I took an extra Swannies shirt over for him to wear and lent him my Swannies cap to wear as well!”

The 5th Annual ANZAC Friendship Match will be played on 26 April between the Vietnam Swans and Malaysian Warriors.

The McMillan Dinner, at which the Middleton Address will be delivered, will be held at the Imperial Hotel in Vung Tau which stands on the site of the former Peter Badcoe Club.

Tickets on sale now.

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2014 McMillan Dinner tickets are now available!

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 11, 2014

Tickets to the 2014 McMillan Dinner which will be held after the ANZAC Friendship Match, are officially now on sale.

What’s the one thing that’s better than bricks of Vietnamese Dong?

Bricks of tickets to the ANZAC Friendship Match’s official dinner, the McMillan Dinner!

The McMillan Dinner will be held after the ANZAC Friendship Match which will be played between the Vietnam Swans and the Malaysian Warriors in Vung Tau, Vietnam, on Saturday 26 April.

225 physical tickets – less those that have already been reserved by the Warriors and other parties – go on sale tomorrow in HCMC.

To purchase online, visit the Swannies’ Online Shop, consult with your nearest Swannies’ player, visit the Commonwealth Bank’s branch at 65 Nguyen Du Str, D1, HCMC or .

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A new generation to see the Long Tan Cross

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 9, 2014

During the week, the rubber plantation at the Long Tan Cross was harvested as part of the standard cropping cycle. Now, a new generation will grow up to see the Long Tan Cross.

During the week, as part of the standard cropping cycle for rubber plantations which have a rotation of 15-20 years, the rubber trees at the Long Tan Cross were harvested.

Rod Burgess writes that when he “first visited the Long Tan Cross back in 1996, there was no rubber trees to be seen. The farmers had pulled them out and then planted new trees.

“The trees at the Cross that visitors saw until recently were the re-planted trees.

“Rubber trees only have about a 20 year life to produce latex, after which, they then pull them out and re-plant young trees. So in the near future you will again see young rubber trees surrounding the Long Tan Cross.”

For those attending the ANZAC Dawn Service this year who notice that the trees have been harvested, it will be another reminder of the passing of time. The year after next will be the 50th anniversary of Long Tan.

Visitors to the ANZAC Dawn Service at the Long Tan Cross (5.15am, Friday 25 April, $5 buses from Tommy’s Bar, Vung Tau) are reminded that medals and uniforms must not be worn.

It is only the French (Dien Bien Phu) and Australians (Long Tan Cross) that are permitted by the Vietnamese Government to have permanent memorials. In addition, the Vietnamese Government allows the Australians to hold formal services at the Long Tan Cross on our two most significant days; namely, ANZAC Day (25 April) and Vietnam Veterans’ Day (18 August).

The Vietnam Swans thank the Vietnamese Government and people for their generosity in welcoming us to their country. The ANZAC Friendship Match (to be next played on 26 April in Vung Tau against the Malaysian Warriors) aims to build on this spirit of respect and friendship.

For more photos, .


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