The Vietnam Swans have closed out a massive year with Presentation Dinners in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, announcing a new leadership group to take the club forward in 2015.
On Saturday 6 December a fantastic turnout of around 60 players, supporters and families of the Vietnam Swans and Ladies Saigon Gaels gathered at Al Fresco’s restaurant at Thao Dien, HCMC, enjoying the fantastic spit roast and first class hospitality provided by the club’s long-term supporter.
Significantly, this was the first ever Presentation Dinner held jointly with the Gaels, ending a successful first years partnership between the two clubs and further reinforcing the Swannies claim to the most inclusive footy club in Asia. The Gaels were simply outstanding in their first year on the park, bringing home silverware at the Asian Gaelic Games in Malaysia and the South Asian Gaelic Games in Hanoi. Most Valuable Gael (with several impressive performances with the Swans also to her name) was Penny Wilmott, winning the Gaels vote count just ahead of Runner-up Siobhan Synnott. Kelli Trinidad was awarded the Gaels Clubman of the Year and Juliet Schneeman the Most Improved.
For the Swans, hard working club stalwart and Saigon cheesecake baron Nathan Milner (check out his amazing work at ) finished the night with the most bling, winning the the Luke Creamer Best and Fairest vote count and then confirming his highly respected standing amongst the playing group by backing it up with the Rick Trewavas medal (as voted by the players).
James Bairstow also impressed throughout the year with his attack on the ball, particularly in the big ANZAC Day and Asian Champs games and was a worthy recipient of the Runners Up BnF.
No one has been working harder on their game in 2014 than every Swan’s favorite Vietnamese American Tuan Nhan, with Coach Glendinning and Captain Billy Crang having no trouble in rewarding his efforts on and off the track by naming him their Most Improved Player. Tuan will no doubt be an important player going forward for the Swans and the new IndoChina Bulldogs team, with an impressive showing in their first ever game at the IndoChina Cup.
The last award of the night was an emotional one; the new Nick Shiells award being presented by outgoing President Josh Lee. Following Nicko’s death earlier in the year, it was agreed amongst Swans committee and Nicko’s family that a new medal be struck in his name. The criteria being:
“To be awarded to the clubman who, throughout the year, was seen to further the entire club more than any other while promoting its values and ethos. This could have been done either on or off the field or by a combination of both with no weighting provided to either area. The award will be selected by the national president and received only once a year.”
Selected by Josh and presented by Nick’s partner Buddy, a very chuffed Andy Marr was awarded the inaugural Nick Shiells Award in recognition of the efforts he has put in for the Swans on and off the park throughout the year. Andy was a driving force behind the ANZAC Day and Grand Final Parties, the establishment of the IndoChina Bulldogs team and rarely missed a training session let alone a tour all year. His positive can-do attitude and love for the Swans making him a very worthy recipient, and his on-tour dancing is second to none.
Hanoi Presentation Dinner
The following Tuesday in Hanoi, a modest but talented group of Hanoian Swans, with a smattering of Viet Celts, also got together at The Republic to relive a few moments from the year. Small forward goal sneak and high mark specialist David Skowronski was named the Best and Fairest Hanoian, finishing the highest in the National Vote Count.
The other Hanoi award was the Hanoi President Dan Hopkin’s Clubman of the Year, with Joe Vile receiving the honors. Joe was another consistent contributor up forward throughout the year for the Swans, with his infectious enthusiasm at Xuan La training sessions and ability to bring a few heads along to make up numbers being a great asset to the boys up north.
The night finished with a symbolic ‘hand over’ presentation of the original Hanoi vs Saigon Anzac Friendship trophy, currently held by Hanoi, by Dan to incoming National President Grant Keys. While stepping down from the President’s chair, ‘Crazy’ Dan will be “focusing on his footy” in 2015, with all of Vietnam looking forward to seeing the hard hitting backman back on the field. Dan has been the driving force of Hanoi footy over recent years, with the huge annual Grand Final party at the Hanoi Intercontinental a great legacy of his. We thank him greatly for his contributions as Hanoi President.
Preceding the National Awards Dinner in Ho Chi Minh City was the Swans Annual General Meeting, where positions on the new Swans Leadership Group were confirmed. Thank you and congratulations to the following people who will be taking up the following roles:
National President – Grant Keys
Football Operations – Tim Clements
Finance and Governance – Rowan Luke
Sponsorships and Tours – Andy Marr
Events and Marketing (& Gaels representative) – Mairead (Maz) Scanlon
It is intended that each of the positions will be supported by more flexible “Key Position Players” or committees appointed throughout the year or as required. An overview of the agreed new structure for the club can be found . The new leadership group very much welcomes approaches from anyone that would like to get involved in any particular area club activities.
2014 had been a great year for the Swans and the Gaels, with the Swans really cementing themselves as a powerhouse in Asian footy, while the Gaels have developed in to a serious and accomplished club in only 12 months. We are very excited about what is to come in 2015, and are looking forward to seeing you all back on the field!