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Australian Rules Football In Vietnam!

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Footy Flashbacks, 27 October 2006 – 5 AFL Premiershippers travel to Hanoi

Posted by Vietnam Swans on September 21, 2011

Clark "Crackers" Keating attempts to break free from the Swannies' Growds. Sam Gilbert in the background

On 27 October, 2006, AFL CARE Australia brought a group of AFL players to Dead Cat Stadium in Hanoi to play the then Hanoi Swans. They had been riding bicycles through northern Vietnam to promote HIV /AIDS awareness.

Amongst the crew were players who had won five AFL Premierships; namely, Clark Keating (three  with Brisbane Lions), Aaron Keating (one with Port Adelaide) and Craig Starcevich (one with Collingwood). The late Rob Dickson (see Former Hawthorn player dies in car crash) was also there as was St Kilda’s Sam Gilbert (who didn’t seem to be taking any photos back then).

Below is a summary of the night which was written the day after on 28 October 2006.

Guys, what an absolutely sensational evening last night was!

For those who couldn’t make it to Dead Cat, we did a couple of training drills led by DT and MJ. Then the AFL Giants took a training run.

This was followed by “Game On” which consisted of two 10 minute halves. Everyone played wherever they wanted and there was no such thing as “Pagan’s Paddock” as we had opted for the flooding technique. Someone said the Swans had 28 players (which included a number of rugby players which was great). But that’s fair.

Pete Westwood signals another goal. Presumably it would have been for the Swannies...

That may have helped with the score line which was very respectable considering who I have to play with. The visitors kicked 4.2.26 to our 2.6.18. For our team, it was APEC Growds who kicked AGOAL followed by another. Tragedy occurred after the second goal when the footy cleared the fence and ended up in the lap of a passing motorcyclist.

Then it was off to the Australian Embassy for a couple of refreshers where we were met by the netballers who had just finished a match.

The Director of CARE gave a short speech about the role that the AFL players had played in promoting HIV/AIDS awareness which was backed up by a couple of the players. Then triple premiership player Clark Keating got up and spoke about the 2007 Grand Final in which the Hanoi Swans would play. He described the week and the feelings and the emotions that we would face – right through to the final siren.

Then it was off to the Dragon Fly and the New Century nightclub. If we weren’t in the land of the midgets, you might not have noticed the 190cm (average height) of the AFLers on the dance floor.

This morning, Chan the Fruiterer received a visit from Clark Keating, CARE, MJ and Craig Dylan to buy some bananas and cabbage – and to have their photo taken (see ). Chris Canty had organised “Chan the Fruiterer” to be an AFL tipster in the Herald Sun each week. There were regular reports of her tipping skills in the paper. (Check out the year 2006 on the Swannies’ Media Page.)

For those in Melbourne, Channel 9 will have a story in tonight’s news. There will also be a story on the Footy Show when it returns (Ed’s note: we ended up on the floor of the cutting room. Doh!)

It was an absolutely cracking night (Ed’s note: Interesting language given the reason we were bumped from the first episode of the Footy Show in 2007 was the breaking story on Ben Cousin’s drug taking).

Meanwhile,  a Vietnam/SE Asia team may enter the VAFA next year (Ed’s note: the former Elgar Park Dragons who have since moved to a different . league as the Southern Dragons) And, the Shellbourne Swans have found the Hanoi Swans thanks to Gerry who was holidaying through Hanoi during the finals and was seen at the Barracuda Bar buying drinks from the celebrity barman.

It’s been another big week in football.

Related photos

Check out , Hanoi, 26 October 2006.

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The Vietnam Swans inaugural ANZAC Friendship Match

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 23, 2010

Vietnam Swans National President, Phil Johns

A messge from the Vietnam Swans National President, Phil Johns.

For full details of ANZAC weekend, click .

Dear Swannies, Supporters and Sponsors

In Australia, Australian Rules Footy is very closely aligned with ANZAC Day – the anniversary of that terrible dawn back in 1915 when the ANZACs landed on the beaches of Gallipoli. In Asia this weekend, ANZAC footy matches are being played in nine countries, in memory of Australia’s and New Zealand’s fallen.

This year, for the first time, Vietnam will host an ANZAC match, played between the Hanoi Hawks and Saigon Saints. Commemorating ANZAC Day in this place will have particular significance for those of us fortunate enough to be here today: we will be reminded first hand that wars end long before the pain and suffering they cause – to all involved.

The Vietnam Swans is just an Aussie Rules Club made up of ordinary people from different backgrounds who are living in an extraordinary country. We are humbled by the generosity shown to us by those who have so warmly welcomed us into their country, and we share together our sorrow and mutual respect for the sacrifices of our peoples.

While we are daunted by the prospect of hosting our first ANZAC Friendship match, we are strengthened by the knowledge that sport is a formidable force in building relationships. The Vietnam Swans hope that this match will help build the ever strengthening friendship between two friends: Australia and Vietnam.

Dress Code for those attending Dawn Service

Swans Players: Our new collared club shirts tucked in, pants and shoes (or dress shorts and sandals).
Others: For males, dress pants, shoes and collared shirt tucked in (or sandals and dress shorts). For women, a similar standard.


For full details of the weekend, including some history, click onto the . But, in summary:

Today, Friday 23 April

Afternoon – Swannies to tour Vung Tau Orphanage. Hold a footy clinic, teach some English and spend time.
Evening –

Saturday, 24 April

Morning – Nui Dat Tour
Afternoon – Vietnam Swans ANZAC Friendship Match, Hanoi Hawks Vs Saigon Saints
Evening – Vung Tau Dog Races

Sunday, 25 April

5am – ANZAC Day Dawn Service and Minh Dam Memorial to pay respects to Vietnamese fallen
11.30am – ANZAC Day Match, Collingwood Vs Essendon,
Afternoon (various times) – Return to Saigon and Hanoi


Over the weekend Tommy’s 3 Sports Bar and the Vietnam Swans will be raising money for two local charities. In addition, the Vietnam Swans will conduct a silent auction for:

An Essendon jumper signed by Essendon Captain, Jobe Watson
A football signed by Nathan Buckley and Gary “O’Donnell when they recently visited the Vietnam Swans on their ANZAC trip
A Vietnam Swans kit comprising footy jumper, shirt, hat, shorts, bag etc.

All money raised will be donated to a charity in Hoi An, Central Vietnam which conducts “train the trainer” swimming lesson. In Vietnam, more children die from drowning than road accidents.

And so…

A special weekend is about to begin.

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Hanoi Hawks unveil new kit

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 22, 2010

The Hanoi Hawks show off their new players' kit

The Vietnam Swans in Hanoi who will play in our ANZAC Friendship Match on Saturday as the “Hanoi Hawks” have just unveiled the new players’ kit.

Looks schmick.

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Dress Code for ANZAC Day Dawn Service 2010

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 21, 2010

The new Swannies shirt, as worn by Dave "Flyer" Kainey

Tonight, this photo to the left has been peeled off the fax machine and immediately placed on the Swannies website.

Dave Kainey in Singapore has just picked up our new Club shirt.

It’s the same base shirt as we used for the 2009 Asian Champs in Malaysia. But on the front, as well as the red “V”, we now have the running man on the right breast. On the back of the shirt is the “Angry Swan” that adorns the front of our footy jumpers.

The Vietnam Swans will wear this shirt to the ANZAC Day Dawn Service at Long Tan on Sunday 25 April.

Together with the Club shirt tucked into dress pants, we shall wear shoes (or dress shorts and sandals).

It is not acceptable to wear singlets, thongs, t shirts or board shorts to the Dawn Service.

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Swannies to visit orphanage in Vung Tau

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 19, 2010

Former Swans President, Dary Taber and Eddie "Gowwld" Smith at the Warmhouse Orphanage, Hanoi, after giving small gifts for TET in 2007

On Friday 23 April 2010, the Vietnam Swans will visit an Orphanage in Vung Tau.

David Hadley of the Swannies, who is organising the visit, has advised that the orphanage we will visit is located at 96 Tran Hung Dao, Ward 1, Vung Tau City.

He adds that they are very excited about welcoming us and there should be approximately 25 children in attendance. Initially, we will hand out some small presents.

Then, the real stuff begins – a footy clinic and a handicrafts session so we really will have something for everyone.

Afterwards, we will informally “teach” the children some English. And maybe we can throw some stuff in like, “Oh, what a screamer…!”

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Swans to Hong Kong; Ashened ANZACs grounded

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 18, 2010

Swannies to tour Hong Kong on Cathay; travellers to ANZAC services in Europe grounded due to volcanic ash

Last week at Hong Kong Airport, a couple of Aussie pilots (perhaps Hong Kong Dragons?) were hailed as heroes after the of their Cathay Pacific A330 (although there were a few popped tyres). This week, the Vietnam Swans  confirmed that we will fly Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong on 21 May for a match against the Hong Kong Dragons the following day.

Back in 2003, the Hong Kong Dragons played in the then Hanoi Swans first ever match in Hanoi. Four years later, in 2007, the Dragons returned to Vietnam to play the newly formed National Team, the Vietnam Swans in Saigon. Now, it’s the Swannies turn to travel to Hong Kong for the first time.The trip will also serve as the farewell match for Monkey, JD and Jerry, Jerry, Jerry.

In more aeroplane woes, the recently erupted Icelandic volcano has brought air traffic in Europe to a stand still. This is causing big problems for Australians wishing to attend ANZAC Day Dawn services in France and Gallipoli (if their flights are via Europe (see ).

Fortunately, Vietnam is outside the volcanic ash zone and plans are continuing unabated for the Vietnam Swans inaugural ANZAC Friendship Match to be held in Vung Tau on 24 April 2010.

Yesterday it was confirmed that an additional group of 300 from the RSL will be in Vung Tau on ANZAC weekend.

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Vietnam Veterans’ Day 2007, Long Tan

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 17, 2010

A very wet Kev Dacey at the 2007 Asian Champs in Bangkok, writes about his trip to the Long Tan Cross in the same year

Kev Dacey, a Swannie who no longer lives in Vietnam but remains very much a part of the team, has forwarded this article to the Blog reflecting upon his attendance at the Long Tan Cross Service on 18 August 2007.

The Australian Embassy in Hanoi and the Australian Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City co-ordinate the Vietnam Veterans Day each year on the 18th of  August, the anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan

Click for background on the actual battle.

HCMC Consulate staff members were invited to attend and I took some visitors from Australia and HCMC along with me to the ceremony.

The actual site is in a private rubber plantation about two hours drive from HCMC. The memorial consists of a simple white cross first erected in 1969 by 6th Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment, which fought in the battle, during its second tour of duty. Unfortunately the original cross disappeared after the War.

It has since been replaced by representatives of the Australian Veterans Vietnam Reconstruction Group with the consent of the local authorities and the owners of the rubber plantation.

The Long Tan Cross has become an extremely important site for veterans and others who seek to recognize Australians who served in Vietnam.

Prior to the commencement of the ceremony some of the Vets who were involved in the battle gave an impromptu talk of what conditions were like on the actual day. Horribly wet and muddy, with extremely low visibility and leading up to dusk.

The ceremony started at 3.30pm and right on cue there was an enormous rumble of thunder, much to the consternation of some of the Veterans in attendance. Happily it did not rain like it did 41 years ago.

The service was very solemn and low key, in deference to the Vietnamese who fought in the war. No medals allowed, even for the current serving Australian military in attendance.

The speech by the Australian Ambassador, the prayer by the NZ Consul General and the recitation of the Ode by the rep from Dept of Veterans Affairs were all very moving.

Unfortunately the playing of the Last Post and Reveille was done using canned music but in the eerie silence of the rubber plantation under leaden skies, it was extremely emotional. The sound of 250 Aussies and Kiwis singing their respective National Anthems brought tears to the eyes of many people in attendance.

To me personally, it was extremely emotional and moving as I reflected that over 40 years ago I was called up in the first draft and had service deferred whilst I was studying. My thoughts were for the families of the fallen on both sides, and on the long term effects that this particular war has had on people both in Australia and in Vietnam. Quite chilling to be standing on the actual site with some of the Vets.

A sombre drive back to HCMC by all concerned.

Next day I was persuaded to participate in a Hash House Harriers run / walk, about an hour and a half outside HCMC in a rubber plantation which looked very similar to the one at Long Tan. You guessed it, right on cue at 3.30pm, the heavens opened, accompanied by thunder and lightning and we spent the next hour and a half slogging through the rain and the mud. It gave me a better insight as to how the Diggers must have suffered in similar conditions. Many beers later we arrived back in HCMC to have a hot shower.

Thought I would share this with you as one of the highlights of working in Vietnam.

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Vietnam Swans unveil new Club Shirt

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 16, 2010

The new Vietnam Swans Club Shirt

The Vietnam Swans yesterday unveiled the artwork for their new Club Shirt.

It will be a black polo shirt with red and white trimming (not shown). On the front will be the Swans red “V” logo together with the distinctive player kicking the footy.

On the back of the jumper is the “angry swan” that adorns our playing jumper.

Jumpers will be flown in from Singapore next week in time for the ANZAC weekend in Vung Tau. Shirts are available to members as part of their membership packages. Non members may purchase a shirt for VND400,000 (approx USD21).

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Artwork for Hanoi Hawks unveiled

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 15, 2010

The Hanoi Hawks' special jumper for the ANZAC Match

In preparation for the inaugural 2010 ANZAC Friendship Match in Vung Tau, the Hanoi Hawks have unveiled the artwork for their special one-off jumper to commemorate the event.

Nine days to go…

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Venue for the 2010 ANZAC Friendship Match, Vung Tau

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 13, 2010

The Vung Tau Racing Track - venue of Vietnam's Inaugural ANZAC Friendship Match

Last Saturday, Nick, Shagger and Fabbo all went to Vung Tau in a preliminary check of facilities for the Vietnam Swans inaugural 2010 ANZAC Friendship Match between Hanoi and Saigon.

The photo above is of teh Vung Tau Race Track where the actual match will be played at 2pm on Saturday 24 April 2010. The Swannies will have full use of all the facilities including the airconditioned VIP Room upstairs for any spectators who need a reprieve from the heat while the players play below.

In the evening, the Vietnam Swans and friends will return to the race track for the Saturday night Greyhounds.

Watching the footy up the far end of Tommy's Bar: L to R - Shannon, Nick and owner, Glenn

On Sunday morning, ANZAC Day, we shall attend the Dawn Service at the Long Tan Cross. Then, we shall return to for the live telecast of the Collingwood Vs Essendon match.

Tommy’s owner, Glenn Nolan has been outstanding with the level of support provided to the Vietnam Swans.

Over the two days, money will be raised for two orphanages: Ngoc Duc Buddhist Orphanage and the Centre for the Social Protection of Children.

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Swannies footy clinic in Hanoi

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 12, 2010

The Vietnam Swans clinic in Hanoi on Saturday at the UNIS Spring Fair

Vietnam Swans man, Phil Murphy, reports on the Swannies footy clinic in Hanoi on Saturday as part of the UN International School’s Spring Fair.

We all had a great day and every child that participated got a prize , we gave away about 15  Auskick footiess  and a heap of AFL Auskick Activity books and clip-on Koalas and Kangaroos . We ran two sessions with Hanoi President Willy and the help of Dan , Dan and Dan ( yes we had three Dans at one point ) as well as Chris and myself.

Dan K got us a great Handball  Target and we all wore AFL Auskick Coaches shirts. There was great feedback from many during the day and we were even acknowledged by some parents for making sure all of the kids got involved and that we stayed “open”  the longest as other activities packed up.

Another great Swans event . Thanks to all who provided support and assistance.

More photos to follow.

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Swannies update including ANZAC Weekend, Vung Tau

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 10, 2010

The Vietnam Swans Update

The Vietnam Swans National President, Phil Johns, provides an update on what is happening at the Club, including the ANZAC weekend in Vung Tau.

Dear Swannies, Sponsors and Supporters

  • ANZAC Weekend Match, Vung Tau, 23 – 25 April
  • UNIS Spring Fair, Hanoi – Today!
  • Swimming lessons for Vietnamese children
  • Hong Kong Dragons Vs Vietnam Swans, 22 May
  • Auscham’s e-Journal

ANZAC Weekend, Match, Vung Tau, 23 – 25 April

In Vietnam, the Government allows just two countries to honour their fallen with a memorial. They are France (Dien Bien Phu) and Australia (Long Tan). In exchange, the Vietnamese Government requests that those who visit the memorials do not wear medals, uniforms, raise or display flags, or play music and that any speeches should be short and low key.

Against this backdrop of sensitivities, on Saturday 24 April 2010, the Vietnam Swans will play our inaugural ANZAC Friendship Match at the Greyhound Racing Track in Vung Tau (Vung Tau served as the Australian logistics base during the Vietnam War). It will be an internal Club match between the Hanoi Hawks and Saigon Saints. The Hawthorn Football Club has supplied us with the Match Day ball.

On the Friday, the Vietnam Swans shall conduct a footy clinic for a local orphanage. On the Saturday morning, we shall have a tour of the significant military sites in the region. At 2pm on Saturday, the footy match shall commence. Each player will wear a black arm band on each arm as a mark of respect for all who have fallen.

In the evening, people can either go to the greyhounds or to Tommy’s Bar which will also be raising money for an orphanage.

On Sunday morning, we will attend the ANZAC Day Dawn Service at Long Tan (Australian Memorial) followed by Minh Dam (Vietnamese Memorial) as a mark of respect for all who have fallen.

We will then return to Tommy’s Bar, Vung Tau, to watch the live telecast of the Collingwood Vs Essendon ANZAC Day match. For detailed draft itinerary, see attached.

Permits and Permissions: If you would like to attend the ANZAC Day Dawn Service it is essential that we provide the Local People’s Committee with your name and passport details. Please forward to either (Hanoi) or (Saigon). Permits are not required if you are only travelling to Vung Tau.
Transport to/from Vung Tau: For the 70 coming from Hanoi, return buses from Saigon Airport to Vung Tau have already been organised. People from Saigon are responsible for organising their own transport (take the hydrofoil! It takes just 90 minutes and is a very relaxed ride compared with the road). Timetable attached. ANZAC Weekend is a long weekend and all hydrofoil services will book out. You are strongly urged to buy your return ticket today.
Transport to ANZAC Day Dawn Service: The Vietnam Swans shall organise transport to the Dawn Service – but only for those people who have already submitted their passport numbers (for us to forward to People’s Committee). See “permits and permissions” above.
Accommodation: If you need accommodation, please advise by start of business Monday 12 April. After that, you will be responsible for your own hotel arrangements.
Updated details: As details are finalised/ updated, we shall directly email those who are confirmed to go to Vung Tau.

The Vietnam Swans appreciate and respect the sensitivities involved. We also know that Vietnam 2010 is an amazing country. Each of us who make up the Vietnam Swans are very appreciative and grateful for the opportunity to live and work in Vietnam. From 23-25 April we will learn, acknowledge and pay our respects – and then play a game of footy as a symbolic celebration of living life in Vietnam in 2010.

UNIS Spring Fair, Hanoi – Today

Today, the Vietnam Swans will run several footy clinics in Hanoi as part of the Australia Stand at the UN International School’s Spring Fair. It’s uncertain whether the footy clinics will be as big a hit as the meat pies…

Swimming Lessons for Vietnamese children

The Vietnam Swans are continuing discussions with a swimming school in Central Vietnam with a view to offering a level of support. The school is currently in the process of attaining its NGO (Non Government Organisation) accreditation. With more child fatalities caused by drowning than road accidents in Vietnam, the Vietnam Swans are keen to support organisations that save lives.

Hong Kong Dragons Vs Vietnam Swans, 22 May

In the next couple of days, the Vietnam Swans are expected to confirm details of a match against the Hong Kong Dragons, in Hong Kong, on 22 May 2010. It will be the Swannies first tour to Hong Kong (Hong Kong has visited Vietnam twice) and will also serve as a farewell tour for Captain Monkey, JD and Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!

Auscham’s e-Journal

The Vietnam Swans have placed an advertisement in the Australian Chamber of Commerce’s Quarterly current e-Journal (see attached). The Swannies are always keen to recruit new players and to promote our sponsors: Linfox, Loscam, Jim Beam, Jetstar, Odyssey Resources, Crown Relocations, Commonwealth Bank, International SOS and Corsair Marine.

The e-Journal is packed with useful business information from the experts and you can read a .

And finally…

Honk yer horn if you love the footy.

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