Vietnam Swans

Australian Rules Football In Vietnam!

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    August 16th, 2014
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    16 July, 8th Annual Indochina Cup, Thailand. Includes the Inaugural Indochina All Stars team coached by West Coast Eagles Norm Smith Medallist, Andrew Embley.

    AFL Asia - Asian Footy's umbrella organisation.










About Us

Channel 9’s Peter Harvey reports on the Vietnam Swans’ 2011 ANZAC Friendship Match, Vung Tau.

[Updated September, 2013.]

The Vietnam Swans become a founding member of at the Presidents’ meeting in Bangkok on 27 July, 2013.

The Vietnam Swans’ National President, Phil Johns, becomes AFL Asia’s inaugural President.

The Vietnam Swans’ event manager, Mark Stennett becomes AFL Asia’s inaugural secretary.

Click here for media release: AFL Asia formed by Asian footy.

*** To get a better understanding of what makes the Swannies tick, click onto the short presentation, .

The Vietnam Swans are now based in Hanoi, Hoi An / Danang, Saigon, Binh Duong and Vung Tau.

The original Hanoi Swans played our first international match in Hanoi in November, 2003.

Four years later, August 2007, the Hanoi Swans went national as the Vietnam Swans and debuted at the Asian Championships in Bangkok.

Highlights of our year include the ANZAC Friendship Match in Vung Tau, the Asian Championships, the Indochina Cup, the Swing to Swim Charity Golf Day (raised money used to reduce the number of child drownings in Vietnam), friendly matches, AFL Grand Final Parties, Christmas Parties etc, etc.

Click here for contact details of the Vietnam Swans.

Objectives of the Vietnam Swans

  • To play regular competitive, international matches to:
    • Create the reason for the Club to exist
    • Appeal to players who like competition, travel and being part of a Club
  • Improve the general level of fitness of members
  • To develop and maintain a Club culture that is social, family friendly and welcomes a far broader group than just hard-core footballers
  • To give back to the local community; eg supporting swimming initiatives that reduce the number of drownings in Vietnam
  • To create special and significant functions / events that provide attendees with a richer experience than otherwise would be possible
  • To use Aussie Rules – Australia’s Signature Sport – as a vehicle to promote Australian causes/interests where appropriate
  • To use our Club as a vehicle to promote our sponsors to ensure they receive fair value for their sponsorship

Aussie Rules is marginal and fringe in Vietnam. By doing the above – as well as it being good to do –  it increases our relevance to a wider community. In turn, that supports our need to continually recruit new players to play footy – our raison d’etre.

The 2011 Indochina Cup, November, Vientiane, Lao.

Key achievements of 2011

(To see a review of the year in pictures and a window into 2012, click onto .)

  • Key role in raising $45,000 for victims of Queensland floods
  • Support role in assisting Kiwis raise $100,000 for victims of Christchurch earthquakes
  • Key role in establishing Annual Swing to Swim Charity Golf Day which, in its first year raised $25,000 to reduce the number of drownings in Vietnam.
  • Raised additional $5,000 for other local charitable causes
  • Played abroad in Malaysia, Bangkok and Lao
  • Played matches at home in Hanoi, Saigon and Vung Tau
  • Won the 3rd Annual ANZAC Friendship Match
  • Had our most successful campaign yet at the Asian Champs, reaching the Semi Finals
  • Won the Indochina Cup for the second consecutive year.
  • Remain undefeated for each of the three Phoenix Cups we have played against the Royal Australian Navy
  • Further developed relationships with Vietnam Veterans
  • The 2011 Awards and Christmas Party, Saigon.

    Forged closer relationships with Australian Consulate, Austrade and Australian Chamber of Commerce (eg viewing of ANZAC Friendship Match video at Consul General’s residence with Consul General, Austrade Commissioner, Board of Auscham and Swans’ Committee in attendance.

  • Recorded 85,000 hits on our website – up 32 per cent on 2010
  • Received increased media coverage which included Channel 9 News and two separate articles in the Australian Football League’s (AFL’s) weekly Footy Record.
  • Welcomed the Australia Network as the Official Media Sponsor for our AFL Grand Final Parties in Hanoi and Saigon
  • Added our 600th name to our database
  • Welcomed our 16th National Sponsor
  • Unveiled our new club logo

  • 7 minute video of the Swannies after winning our first tournament – the 2010 Indochina Cup in Saigon (Nov, 2010). .
  • 1 min 48sec promo video of the former Hanoi Swans (now Vietnam Swans). to watch it on You Tube.

Hanoi / Vietnam Swans – A Brief History

The (former) Hanoi Swans Football Club were renowned for their passionate supporter base which split into two camps – the Bloody Army and the famous Swanettes.

“The Bloods” were formed in 1998 under the confusing name of the Hanoi Hawks. In their inaugural game they came out swinging against the Hong Kong Dragons to such an extent that old timers were quoted as saying, “I haven’t seen a battle like that since 1973!”

Disaster Strikes

The next game was a trip down south to Saigon where disaster struck. Not only did we lose the game but we lost all the jumpers which virtually wiped the club from the pages of history. With a 0 – 2 record, support waning and a membership of 3, the new club was in trouble – all in its first year!


The Hanoi Hawks were put on ice, to one day be proud again.

2001 – Pepperonis Pizza Parlour / ABC Asia Pacific TV

The year was 2001, the footy was back on the TV, the beer was cold, we had a home on the roof top, the Pepperonis Pizza oven was on the ground floor – and the people came.

The footy panel began, footy tipping comps mushroomed and we wanted to play.

Andy Wall brought in some jumpers, which happened to be those of the Sydney Swans (SFC is still hunting him). Rick Trewavas, a mad Bloods supporter, seized the day and named the clubrooms after his idol, “Bobby Skilton” (Skilts is still hunting him). The panel was rockin’ and the supporter base was growing. We were away.

New name, new team, new desire, and our only goal was to play in the Asian Champs.

For the next 2 years we practised eating pizza, drinking cold beer and watching footy on the tele.

2003 – Big Bucks, Big Difference

In a coup, the Hanoi Swans Board recruited the Bogor “Kainey” Flyer, a Lifetime Member of the Jakarta Bintangs, to share his secrets about loyalty to one’s team and “the cause”. He instilled in us a discipline for regular training before some of our drinking sessions.

In Q4 2003, we threw caution to the wind and jumped in at the deep end. We launched the Hanoi Swans as a going concern with a double-header against the Thailand Tigers and Hong Kong Dragons.

History recorded the Swans debut as a brave but plucked performance.

2003-2006 Hanoi Swans on the rise – and fall?

Between 2003 and 2006, Hanoi was hosting internationals and travelling to neigbouring countries to get our footy fix. We even managed a few victories. It was all good – but there were worrying signs. With our small pool of players, it was becoming increasingly difficult to get the required number of players to travel. And if we wanted to continue hosting a regular stream of home games, we needed to be returning tours.

2007 – The Swans go National and become the Vietnam Swans

In 2007, the switch was on and Hanoi went to the fat side of the country to court Miss Saigon. And soon thereafter, a new National Club, with a National Committee, was formed which provided us with a bigger player pool and bigger possibilities. Bring it on!

And they did.

It was the 2007 Asian Championships which provided the stage for the debut of the new National Club, the Vietnam Swans. It was a major milestone for the Club. Finally, we were at the Asian Championships. All the big pizzas, bold plotting and pleasant beers at Pepperonis hadn’t been in vain. The Pepperonis’ Panel of Pumper, Bubbles and Potsy were proud that they had inspired us to greatness.

2008 – Current

The move to the National structure has been extremely successful. It has greatly increased the size of our player pool which has enabled us to become a genuinely active member of the Asian footy community.

Now, we can book tours with certainty that we will get the numbers to travel. By touring the region, we also get the teams returning to Vietnam which makes footy a regular feature rather than a rare occurrence.

As the Club has grown, so too has our confidence. Together with the Bali Geckos, for example, in 2009 we played a Black Saturday Bushfire Match and Fundraiser in Saigon. All proceeds were donated to the Yarra Valley Mountain District Football League which is where most of the devastation happened. In 2010, we launched the Inaugural ANZAC Friendship Match in Vung Tau (near Saigon) under the banner of “Two black armbands; one bright future”. Vung Tau is where the Australian Logistics Base was located during the Vietnam/American War.

At the ANZAC Friendship Match, the Vietnam Swans played a Heritage Round match between Hanoi and Saigon at the Dog Racing Track. The Dog Racing track was formerly known as the Lord Mayor’s Oval – and that’s where the Australians played during the War back in 1967-68. We are actively developing our relationship with the Vietnam Veterans and in July 2010, the Sydney Swans invited a number of Vietnam Swans and Vietnam Veterans to a pre match function at the MCG. On 23 April, 2011, the Vietnam Swans will play the Hong Kong Dragons in Vung Tau for the Inaugural ANZAC International Friendship Match. A big crowd is expected including many Vietnam Veterans some of whom will have played there during the War.

In Hanoi, the Swannies have run Auskick for three years. In Saigon, we now have players who have children at the age where they are keen to do Auskick, so, at the beginning of 2010, Auskick started in Saigon. It’s also spread to teh KOTO Kids.

In Vietnam, more children die from drowning than road accidents so, the Vietnam Swans are actively supporting local swimming programs. We believe it’s a good fit with our Club. In Australia, swimming is a sport, a recreational/leisure activity and a fitness activity. Just like Aussie Rules in Vietnam.

The Vietnam Swans and Aussie Rules are well and truly taking root in Vietnam. After all, if Vietnamese road users didn’t love the footy, why else would they honk their horns?

For more information on the Vietnam Swans, try or email [email protected]

See the attached for more detail. It was prepared for the Asian Champs.

Contact details of the Vietnam Swans in 2012:

  • National President, Phil Johns – .
  • Saigon President, Sam Conroy –
  • Hanoi President, Dan Hopkins, .

Sponsors of the Vietnam Swans

37 Responses to “About Us”

  1. Le Hoài bao Long said

    Hey guys, my name is Long and I’m half Vietnamese half French I’m 17 years old now and I been to Australia twice and I play footy in streaky bay (700km from Adelaide ) and we won the grand final.
    I love to play footy but I can’t find any team in Saigon :(. I would love to train with you guys if I can :)

    • Hi Long
      For a bloke who can’t find any team in Saigon, you’ve done well to find the only team in Saigon!
      Nice work. Will be great to have you on board the Vietnam Swans!

  2. Hazza said

    Hello, I’m harry

    Ive been studying in melbourne for quite a while now and i just realised i like the australian rules football however i didnt have many chances to play or watch it due to my busy studying.

    Now im spending my 2 month holiday in saigon and would love to learn to how to play it professionally. So is there any training sessions or classes for such an beginner like me or is there any way that i can play this sport in saigon?

    Any ideas and information would be very much appreciated.
    thank you all:)

    • Hi Harry
      When will you arrive in Saigon?
      We’ve just played the Indochina Cup and now we hang up the boots – until next year. But only until 7 January 2012 when we will be back to play the Southern Dragons from Melbourne.
      We also have plenty of events happening during this time as well – in Saigon, Hanoi and Melbourne.
      The Swannies look forward to finding out when you’ll arrive.
      Phil Johns
      Vietnam Swans

  3. South Melbourne lives On said

    Where is your home club will be visiting Saigon, end of this month and would love to see a game!

  4. Richard Bolt said

    My family is hoping to see one or both prelim finals (late notice I know) in Hoi An. We’d be grateful for any info on whether and where they might be screening.

  5. Roo Dog said

    Bloody AFL bullshit! Go the mighty Manly Sea Eagles! Roo Dog, Sapper in Vietnam 1969/70, and one eyed Silvertail.

    • GTphase111 said

      lol Roo Dog, Sydney Swans member here.

      I’m an AFL convert, I was raised in Manly and played RL/RU in that area until my mid teens. I played rep footy (SG Ball) and state footy with the greats such as Eric Groathe snr. Yes I love my RL and The Mighty Sea Eagles but AFL is a TERRIFIC game as well.

      I live in WA these days, have a son who played for West Coast and another who is a successful country footballer. Like all good SPORTSMAN, neither cry down rugby or other sports. Please try to understand that just because you don’t like AFL it doesn’t mean it’s a bad game or that it’s “bullshit”.

      btw, good on you cobber for doin’ your bit for your country.

  6. Dennis Pham said

    Hi I’m Dennis.

    I’m from Australia and I’m a massive of AFL fan. I’m going to be in Vietnam before xmas for six weeks and I need something to do there during that period.

    I’m just wondering if you guys have any training sessions somewhere in Ho Chi Minh City because I’m desperate to play competitive footy. Need a small crumbing forward who is also left-footed??? Then I’m the bloke that you guys may be looking for.

    As a West Coast Eagles supporter, I’m not much of much of a Sydney Swans fan (for obvious reasons) but I’ll wear the Vietnam Swans jumper with pride.

    Please reply soon


    PS. Do you guys play gaelic football aswell??? I might give a crack at that as well.

    • Hi Dennis

      And it’s OK that you barrack for West Coast…

      Thanks very much for your comment – but alas, the timing of your arrival is less than awesome. We have just finished the Indochina Cup and are now on our season’s break until the beginning of February.
      However, when you’re here, we can certainly catch up for a beer.
      With respect to the Gaelic football, they have an active presence in Hanoi. I can hook you up with them if you’re headed to Hanoi.
      Phil Johns
      National President
      Vietnam Swans

  7. Tim said

    How’s it going?
    I’m moving to Vietnam in early November for 1 year and I’d love to join up…
    I’m from a gaelic football background but I played a bit of footy when I was living in Dublin.

    • Hi Tim

      Absolutely awesome to have you join the Vietnam Swans. We’ll be extremely pleased to welcome you to the Club.
      Gaelic is also played over here, mainly in Hanoi.
      Where will you be based in Vietnam?
      Phil Johns
      National President

  8. Kerryn said


    I’m going to be in Hanoi on Friday 14 May and was wondering if anyone could tell me some places that will be showing the Pies v’s Dockers match. After 15 years of supporting the Dockers they are finally having a season that is worth watching and I haven’t been in Australia for any of it.


  9. catherine said

    Hey I’m an aussie moving to Cambodia next week for a job. I’ll likely be there for at least a year. I’m interested in getting involved in footy in Cambodia – I’m based in Phnom Penh – can you help?

  10. Tim O'Shannessy said

    Good to see you guys had a win and are well organised and going strongly as a club.
    I am in Azerbaijan for 6 months work and there is no “Footy” on the sastelite TV like in SE Asia. What a pain.

    Regards, Tim O’Shannessy. (Training coach one hot Saturday November afternoon 2009)

  11. Esther Lloyd-Taylor said

    Thank you for your prompt reply Phil,
    When would the Swans be free to play in Darwin.. they could take in a spot of Barramundi fishing while they are here..
    Look forward to continued planning,
    Kind regards,

  12. Esther Lloyd-Taylor said

    Hi there,
    Would the Vietnam Swans be interested in playing a charity match in Darwin in the Dry Season 2010? May – October.

    • Hi Esther
      With direct flights from HCMC to Darwin with our sponsoring airline, Jetstar, it is a possibility. Could you please provide more details about the proposed match, other teams etc.
      Phil Johns
      National President
      Vietnam Swans

  13. Maree said

    Hi I will be in Vietnam from 2/4/9 to 18/4/09 and am really interested in catching a telecast of any afl games. Where do I go in Hanoi. Hoi An and Saigon? Also do the Vietnam teams play in Hanoi or HCMC during this time frame.

  14. samuel said

    What are the requirement to play in your club? I’m Nigerian based footballer and love to play in your club in vietnam. my phone No: +2348033555727, .

  15. Nico said

    Hello, i’m Nico, the french guy playing with swans from april to july, i hope you remember me. Thanks to have made me discover football, i’m now playing football in Paris, and i had a few trainings with Peter(2 swans playing in Paris, how strange!!!).
    Next saturday, i’ll play footy european championship, and of course i’ll think about you.
    Thank you for all, and see you when i come back in Hanoi…



    • Big Bad JOE said


      We need your speed and stamina!

      When you coming back?

      • Nico said

        Hi, I’ll be in Hanoi for the Tet, from 10th to 18th february i think, I’d like to know if you’re still training in Hoang cau stadium, and which day and what time. Hope to see you for a few kicks…

      • Hi Nico
        Welcome back to Vietnam!
        Being Tet, you will be out of luck for some footy but we’ll try to find someone who is still in town when you are here.
        All good!

  16. Henry Goldstein said

    G’day Fellas,

    Great to see the club is goin’ so well; I had a ball at the Tri-nations last November! Thanks again to Mick, Daryl and the crew for having my out there.



  17. Jo said

    Great weekend of footy in Hanoi over the weekend. Good to meet the players from the south and their partners over the two days. Looking forward to the next game and hopefully a win.


  18. Hien Dao said

    Hi Phil,

    Great to hear something about footy again as I miss it so much since I left Melbourne for Hanoi a couple of months ago, after spending 5 years studying and working in Oz. Although here in Hanoi I can watch footy on the Australian channel quite often, I just can’t have the atmostphere of having some 70,000 fans screaming at the MCG. Here in VN, people are crazy about soccer (they call it football though), but know nothing about footy. I was a Western Bulldog fan, anyway. I may come to the training stadium in Hanoi one day.



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  21. Even though you’re a West Coast supporter, you are Vietnamese and you love footy. Therefore, there’s a good chance you may become a superstar of the Swans marketing department!

    Tell us when you get here and we’ll even pick you up for your first training session.

    The Swannies

  22. Daniel Tran said

    i would be interested to play football over in Vietnam, im a west coast eagles supporter, im vietnamese and i love footy

  23. said

    Ray, we need your white maggot credentials and a good set of knees to help us out at the Asian Championships next month in Bangkok!

    Glad you liked the Pho in Hanoi. It can be pretty good.

    I guess the pro you met out at Chi Linh was Lars Holden. He’s a top bloke and he’s been a very generous supporter of the Swans at our Grand Final functions.

    Thanks for your best wishes and next time you come back – whether that’s in Hanoi or Saigon, do look us up. Come out for a training session and have a beer afterwards. Or, if you go to another country, look up their local footy team because, despite what “everyone” seems to think back in Australia, footy is very much alive overseas (see ).

    Spread the word and keep an eye out for the AFL’s Footy Record in the lead up to the Asian Champs on 14 July. After initially claiming that the Champs were outside the “scope” of the Footy Record, they actually reconsidered. So we are getting some publicity (and the Geelong Advertiser wanted to write a story).

    Thanks again for your support and the Vietnam Swans hope to see you over here again some day.


    Phil Johns
    Vietnam Swans

  24. Ray Windlow said

    Hi Guys
    Congratulations on flying the “footy flag” overseas.
    Last year I spent 2 weeks in Hanoi attending Nobai Airport each day for work and returning to the hotel each evening with not much to do except fall in love with the local “PHO” served with crusty bread rolls. I managed a side trip out to Chi Linh Star Golf for a quick round where to my amazement, the local pro introduced himself afterwards and had served his apprenticeship not 3 kms from my front door (at that time) in Melbourne.
    Had I know you guys were even there I would have endeavoured to come down and watch a game and even offered my services on the weekend as a visiting “ex-VAFA Club 18 Umpire”. YES – A travelling white maggot” who if not for shonky knees would still be blowing his whistle on Saturday afternoons around the grounds of Melbourne.
    The AFL should wake up and smell the roses, no-one person, team or body is bigger than this greatest of games which saw it’s beginnings in the paddocks around Melbourne and despite the influx of soccer post world cup successes, is still first and foremost the best game in town.

    If I ever make the trip back again I will be certain to get in touch with you guys and catch up with your training, matches or post game celebrations

    Best Regards

    Ray Windlow
    Greenvale Vic 3059

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