Vietnam Swans

Australian Rules Football In Vietnam!

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Archive for the ‘BOG’ Category

Report on Swannies and Gaels on St Paddy’s Day

Posted by Vietnam Swans on March 19, 2012

Nat Payne takes a screamer in Saturday's clash between Gaels and Swannies on St Patrick's Day in Saigon. Photo, Asha Phillips.

The New Willy, Dave “Wotcha” O’Shea, from Binh Duong, reports on the latest Swannies’ function: the Inaugural Combined Aussie Rules and Geaelic Football Match that was held on Saturday – St Patrick’s Day – in Saigon.

Is it just me or do the Swannies functions seem to get bigger and better each week?

To celebrate St Patrick’s day, the Vietnam Swans combined forces with the Irish Gaels to take part in a football match. This was no ordinary Swannies’ Football Match. Well, half of it was; the other half was some strange game played in Ireland called “Gaelic Football”. What a way to celebrate St Patty’s Day.

With a large number of Swannies and Gaels turning up to RMIT in Saigon, the teams were split up evenly before the match.  We had the Australian-Irish Swans against the Irish-Australian Gaels. With a huge crowd of about 200 at RMIT, we were set for a blockbuster.

Before the Bounce

The warm up consisted of a quick stretch with a debrief from one of the Irish boys about the rules of Gaelic (no tackling and you must solo or bounce the ball every four steps); and then a debrief on the rules of Aussie Rules from one of the Swannies and we were ready for the first bounce.

First Quarter – Gaelic

Some of the action! Photo, Asha Phillips.

The first quarter was with the round ball and the standard was quite good considering it was a new game to the usual brand of Aussie Rules that the Swannies are used to. From the Aus-Irish Swans team, Damo Judd and Phil Jordan were getting a lot of the pill and were using it effectively. From the Irish-Aus Gaels team, Nick Moger was controlling the goal square and not letting anything through. He has obviously been a “goaly” before in a previous life before the Swans. By the end of the quarter, the teams had worked out the rules and strategy of the game known as Gaelic Football.

Second Quarter – Aussie Rules 

The second quarter was played with the egg shaped ball. The Swans’ team was getting a lot of the pill early but not making the most of their opportunities. The Gaels’ team finished off the quarter a bit stronger with the likes of Dukesy and Nick Shiells finding targets up forward. By the end of the quarter and the first half, the scores were locked at 15-15. The crowd was certainly getting their money’s worth, with an exciting evenly matched contest.

Third quarter – Gaelic

The third quarter was played with a lot less confusion than the first quarter as we all had a better understanding of Gaelic Football. The game was free flowing from one end to the other and the score continued to be close. Again The Gaels finished the quarter a little stronger and nosed ahead by kicking a “super goal” late in the quarter. Nick “Goaly” Moger continued to dominate in the goal square not allowing one goal through all match.

Fourth Quarter – Aussie Rules

The Gaels went into the final quarter with a 1 goal lead. The Swans’ team was getting a lot of possession at the start of the quarter and clawed their way back into the lead with a few behinds and a great goal from “New” Josh, who came to Vietnam to study University, however, has since found the Swans and has been on a constant high from Swannies’ Functions ever since stepping foot in this country.  He has learnt nothing at university but has learnt a lot about the Vietnam Swans. Again, it was the back end of the quarter that saw the Gaels finish better, with late goals from Timmay and Nick (I can do it at both ends) Moger. The gaels edged in front and never looked back.

Well done to the Irish-Australian Gaels who ended up winning the match by a couple of goals.

Post Match

Perhaps due to the hot weather, all the water ran out by half time and therefore we had no water to drink after the match. But that doesn’t matter on St Paddy’s day, because Murph, the president of the Irish Gaels brought an esky full of Guinness. So we drank that instead.

At the presentations, Billy Cranger cleaned up winning two prizes in the raffle. Phil Jordan was awarded Best on Ground for the Swannies. If Phil continues to win BOGs he will need to work on his skulling. He needs to realize that the beer needs to go into your mouth and not all over your face.

Bring on the next Swannies’ Function…

Posted in BOG | 1 Comment »

The Rick Trewavas Medal – “Butter up Bloods”.

Posted by Vietnam Swans on March 13, 2012

The Rick Trewavas Medal. "Butter up Bloods".

It’s official. We do have a real Rick Trewavas Medal – see photo to the side with Rick Trewavas in front of a picture of Bobby Skilton outside the entrance to the Bobby Skilton Room.

Originally, this medal was to be awarded to the best Swans player, as judged by the Swans, against the Cambodian Eagles.

However, it has been decided that having Cambodia pick our best player and then having the Swans pick our best player, starts to become a bit awkward. They become two competing awards.

So, the decision was made to change the Rick Trewavas Medal to one that reflects courage and an ability to keep giving during the game. And while not everyone can win Best on Ground, anyone can put in all day if they have the commitment.

It also better reflects Rick’s stoic battle against cancer.

We spoke to Rick about the idea and he liked it. So, instead of the “Bloods Breed BOGs” on the Rick Trewavas Medal, we will now have “Butter up Bloods”. Rick says he has always loved that expression which means, “Get up and have another crack!”

The Bobby Skilton Room

So where did the Bobby Skilton Room come from? Rick explains:

“The Bobby Skilton Room was christened just after 9/11 in 2001. To that point there was a smallish group at Mick’s (Swannie, Micky Francis who was managing Pepperonis in Hanoi), including Bubbles (Wayne Tinlin), who gathered informally for a telecast (of the AFL) …if we could get reception and depending on Mick’s satellite driving skills!

“From memory, my beloved bedside photo of Bobby Skilton was then affixed to the wall of Pepperonis in 2002.”

Rick adds that “History is important. And you blokes (at the Vietnam Swans) do a hell of a job in keeping bods like me involved.”

Speaking of history, Rick concludes by saying, “I have a 1.5 x 1 metre photo of Skilts which was removed from the Lakeside Oval’s rooms in 1984 (the Lakeside Oval being the home ground of the then South Melbourne Bloods). Bob signed it for me up here in Queensland a couple of years ago and it dominates my office.”

Go you Bloods!

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Where do we start this week??

Posted by Vietnam Swans on March 12, 2012

16 Vs 18. "That's the problem!" Fabbo at the post match formalities. Photo Joe Garrison.

National President, Phil Johns, gives another energetic update on all the big happenings around Vietnam with the Swannies.

Dear Swannies, Sponsors and Supporters

  • The Cambodian Cannonball Run
  • Hanoi – Battle of the Codes
  • Hoi An/Danang – Swing to Swim
  • Saigon – Gaelic Aussie Rules Football Match etc
  • Nha Trang – Auskick
  • Wotcha Binh Duong? Footy business as usual in the Binh
  • Memberships
  • Supercoach
  • Final thought

The Cambodian Cannonball Run

Sometimes, it’s a game of two halves and Saturday a week ago against Cambodia, it was a game of five quarters – with the first three being declared null and void. It was originally advised that each team would field 18 players. However, a week prior to the game, Cambodia advised yours truly that it would be reduced to 16. I failed to communicate that message to the coaching panel on the day which could possibly be described as a basic footy mistake. Meanwhile, all the holes in the layers of Swiss cheese lined up beautifully and we therefore entered the game playing 18. Just prior to the three quarter break, Cambodia discovered we had the two extra players. The Cambodian President proposed that we just continue the game – with 16 a side – as “we’re not playing for sheep stations”. The Swannies’ counter offer was to wipe the scores of both teams and play a new game of 2 x 15minute halves which we did and the Eagles won comfortably. It was a nguyen-nguyen result out of a poor situation.

There’s lots of reasons why the above happened. Collectively, they are the single reason why our preparation for the Club’s next international, the biggest of the season, the 2012 ANZAC Friendship Match on 21 April, will be razor sharp.

In Cambodia, we also awarded the Rick Trewavas Medal. However, the medal has now transformed from “Bloods Breed BOGs” to “Butter up Bloods” which translates to “Get up and have another crack”. Rick has done that with his fight with cancer and that’s exactly what Micky J did all day against Cambodia. Congratulations, MJ (see medal attached).

Hanoi – Battle of the Codes Quiz

Next Thursday, 15 March, the Vietnam Swans will co host the 2nd Annual Battle of the Codes Charity Fundraiser, together with the gaelic, netball and rugby clubs. Last year, collectively we raised $2,500. This year, all money raised will be donated to Swim Vietnam (swimming) and Little Tigers (orphans). Sponsored items for raffle/auction are welcomed.

Hoi An/Danang _ Swing to Swim

Next Saturday, 17 March, the 2nd Annual Swing to Swim Charity Golf Day and Evening will be held at Montgomerie Links, Danang. $25,000 was raised last year and was shared between Swim Safe (Royal Life Saving Society of Australia) and Swim Vietnam. It’s only a week away and there’s still time to sign up for this amazing tournament and cause that has been co organised by Montgomerie Links, Royal Life Saving Society of Australia, Auscham and the Vietnam Swans.

Several schools have offered to help support the initiative of an unofficial “Water Safety Week” by running their own swimming programs in the next week to help raise awareness. They include Danang’s Singapore International School and HCMC’s International School of HCMC. How big will it be next year??

Saigon – Gaelic Aussie Rules Football Match and more

Next Saturday 17 March, Saigon’s Inaugural Bi Annual Combined Gaelic Aussie Rules Football Match will be held at RMIT. Sponsored items for raffle/auction are welcomed. It will be a mega St Patrick’s Day in Vietnam.

On Saturday, 7 April, the ABC School Day in District 7 will host a Family Fun Day. It will run from 8.30am – midday and they’re keen for Aussie Rules to be represented through an Auskick session. If you would like to help out, please advise.

The feel good story of the week: Swannies’ skipper, Dukesy has reported that congratulations are due to his friends, Laurie and Beth, who have just had a baby. What makes Laurie and Beth special is that they met each other at the Swannies’ 2010 AFL Grand Final Party in Saigon. As former Australian Treasurer, Peter Costello once said, “It’s fine to have a baby for mum and for dad but just make sure you have one for the Swannies”. How good are those Swannies’ babies?

Nha Trang

On 1 April, an Auskick clinic will be run in Nha Trang – and it would be awesome to have any Swannies in Nha Trang help out.

Robert Costabile is a friend of one of the Southern Dragons, Tung. Robert lives in Nha Trang where he runs a restaurant and works with eight local orphanages to provide food, support and school fees. Robert is putting together a day where they will bring together all the children from the orphanages in the province for a lunch and sports day, with local games and activities for kids of all ages.

If you can help out with the Auskick, .

Wotcha Binh Duong? Footy business as usual in the Binh

Dave O (I need another Swannies’ function) Shea continues to run training sessions on Thursday nights in Bing Duong.


Player’s memberships are now available. Details of social memberships will be announced this week.

We’ll give you the tip, wearing a Swannies’ top is the most fun you can have between Swannies’ functions.


For all your Supercoach needs and application forms, please contact (Ah McRae, you’ve done it again). Ross is also trialling twitter for Supercoach as the Swannies move towards the 21st Century.

Final thought

It’s been a big week: another big week in Asian football and, with the teachers not being on holidays, a big week in education (as Nat reminds us).

Honk! Honk!

Posted in BOG, Fundraiser, supercoach | Leave a Comment »

Cambodian Eagles triumph against Swannies

Posted by Vietnam Swans on March 3, 2012

Congratulations to the Cambodian Eagles had too many answers for the Swans this afternoon.

The Swannies were looking good in the first three quarters – when it was discovered that the Swans had 18 players and the Eagles had just 16. In a miscommunication on the Swannies’ side, the coaching panel believed we were playing 18 in this match as originally discussed. But, a critical email from the Swannies President to the coaching panel that the numbers had been reduced to 16 on the field wasn’t received.

So, the result up to 3/4 time was declared null and void and a new match of two 15 minute halves was then started. And Cambodia turned it on.

Swannies’ BOG was Skipper Dukes.

Winner of the Rick Trewavas Medal was Michael Johnston.

Congratulations again to the Cambodian Eagles.

Final Score: Cambodian Eagles 4. 6. 30 def. Vietnam Swans 1. 6. 12

More to follow.

Posted in BOG | 7 Comments »

Swannies BOG in Cambodia this weekend to be awarded Rick Trewavas Medal

Posted by Vietnam Swans on March 2, 2012

Tomorrow, the Swannies/Bloods will play the Cambodian Eagles. The Swans’ best on Ground (as judged by the Swans) shall be awarded the Rick Trewavas Medal (designed by Ross McRae).

*** Please not that the line on the Rick Trewavas Medal at this Cambodia trip was changed from “Bloods Breed BOGs” to “Butter Up Bloods”. It was decided to award it to the Swannies most courageous player rather than “best” player on the  day. For the full story, click onto Rick Trewavas Medal – “Butter Up Bloods”. ***

Since July 2010, each time the Swannies play Cambodia outside of tournaments, we award our best player the Rick Trewavas Medal.

Rick, who has had a stoic battle against cancer was involved with footy in Jakarta – prior to the Jakarta Bintangs – as well as the original Hanoi Swans where he played a major role in the establishment of our Club.

This morning, on the eve of the Swannies’ match against the Cambodian Eagles in Phnom Penh, we unveil the new Rick Trewavas Medal, specially designed by Ross McRae. 

Also this morning, Rick spends “5 minutes with the Flyer (Dave Kainey)”. Incidentally, the Flyer is not completely dissimilar to Rick as he has also played major roles with both the Jakarta Bintangs and the  Swannies.


The Flyer: The Flyer here, Rick. Proud and passionate about all things Swannies, as no doubt are you. I have a series of questions for you to answer.

Rick: Missed you in Indonesia, Dave. Started there in ’82. I believe you might have played in a game I once observed at the Bintang’s ground around the early nineties. Can’t say too much about your performance but you are a legend for those who follow international aussie rules.

On air

The Flyer: Good morning, Rick. Big occasions are all about timing. This is a great time to have you spend 5 minutes with the Flyer.

Rick: ‘Tis an honour to spend time with the Flyer. There’s a little bit of Plugger in you.

1. Gee Rick, where do we start? Probably at the beginning… How did the connection with the Vietnam Swans / Hanoi Swans kick off?

Had come off 10 years in Indonesia having started the embryonic Bintangs with the JARS (Jakarta Aussie Rules Society) and was looking for same in Hanoi. Swannies! It just seemed natural with the lakes  and my heritage in South Melbourne. Besides, Mick Francis had the best looking Em Dep (Yen, who later became his wife) in town so we all ended up at his establishment, Pepperonis, and it grew from there. In between some Bubbles of Dreams you might say.

2. The key players in those initial stages are still very much a part of the Swans. How have you enjoyed following the journey and their involvement?

Gobsmacked. Particularly the fund raising stuff – I live in Queensland. Honk honk! (see AUD36116.06 remitted to Queensland Floods Appeal which later totalled $45,000)

Mick Francis in the Bobby Skilton Room at Pepperonis, Hanoi, circa 2002.

3. The Swans hold a very dear place in your heart mate. You have overcome some documented tough personal times also. From Mick Francis, through to Phil Johns, the Club has made efforts to keep you very much a part the Swans’ community and all things football in Asia Pacific. It is pretty special isn’t it?

Very, very, very (with apologies to VVS Laxman) Phil Johns and the crew, since I forget how long, because the Swannies are now indelibly etched inside as they have built an amazing aussie rules + village.

My personal battle has been all the easier in part because of the Swannies’ success and in part because of that Medal.

Chuffed beyond words when words didn’t matter.

“There are many things to life other than football. I just can’t think of them.” (The Supreme Master.)

4. OK Rick, the Swans are off to Cambodia this weekend, where would you slot in? Carrying the clip board with the magnetic names? Hoping for a sneaky run on the forward line? Have done a hammy in the warm-up? or watching with a cold Tiger from the sidelines?

The board sounds good; I like magnets. Directing transitions through the middle – in my dreams. Probably violently massaging Hun Sen on the boundary and trying to let him forget history. Celebrating a victory at the Heart of Darkness. Go you Bloods! (Ed’s note, Rick prefers calling the Swannies the Bloods just as people referred to the then South Melbourne football club.)

Brett Jotta wins the inaugural Rick Trewavas Medal (with a generic design) in Phnom Penh, 31 July 2010.

5. Finally mate, Australia, how is the story of the Vietnam Swans getting around to the people who love AFL from your point of view?

Bigger than GWS!

Captain Kirk took the Swannies to the rest of the World. Talk of the town(s)! And you get a good exposure at my local footy club, the and I know that you are everybody’s third team (Ed’s note: and nearly everybody’s favourite team).

My some time drinking mate Skilts (), and my part time drinking mate , are clear on everything you blokes do.

As the Guru might have once said: “If you were born under a wandering star, you were born to be wild, and Swannies, you were born to run.”

Thanks Rick for spending 5 minutes with the Flyer.


Tomorrow, the Vietnam Swans shall wear black armbands to honour the lives of:

  • Phil Ghasseb’s father, who died last Friday; and
  • John Carey, Vietnam Veteran and friend of the Swannies, who died suddenly on 18 January 2012.

To see the humble beginnings of the Swannies in the Bobby Skilton Room with the Panel, some rare archival footage can be seen on You Tube by .

Posted in BOG, Legend | Leave a Comment »

Danny Armstrong reviews the ICC and farewells Dezza n Dan

Posted by Vietnam Swans on December 3, 2011

Danny Armstrong retired after last year's Indochina Cup. This year, the now resident of Shanghai, returned for the ICC to see his mate, Dezza, and another Club Legend, Dan, play their farewell matches.

Danny Armstrong retired after the Swannies won last year’s Indochina Cup. Now living in Shanghai, he flew in for this year’s ICC and to see off his mate, Dezza and another Club Legend, Dan Kindness.

Game 1

Game 1 was a tough encounter against the Cambodian Eagles.  The Eagles came out hard at the ball  and were committed and focused early, which led to them leading at half time.  The Swannies were slow out of the blocks, had chances early on, but were not executing well on the ‘one percenters’ – shepherds, tackles, talk – particularly telling team mates having shots on goal to steady and that they had time.  As a result, our shots at goal were rushed and while we had plenty of opportunities, our kicking was wayward.

In the second half, following a spray from Dez at half time, the team was a lot more focused and coordinated beautifully to overrun the Eagles and run out comfortable winners.

Skipper, Dukes was in everything and was a clear best afield.  Horn had plenty of it and together with Phil Jordan showed a terrific attack on the ball and ‘never die’ attitude with fantastic second, third and fourth efforts inspiring their team mates around them.  Dez was solid down back as always and Nat was rebounding brilliantly with Phil Jordan off half back.

Game 2

Game 2 against Lao was a relatively close encounter, but this time the Swannies came to play from the outset.  Dukes, Balla, Ryan and Dave O’Shea were dominant in the middle the entire first half and didn’t give their opponents a look in.  As a result the Swannies built an early lead and we managed the bench to the end of the game to give our key onballers plenty of rest and recuperation time in preparation for an anticipated tough encounter against Thailand.

Our Skipper, Dukes: sometimes looks like Skippy; and always looks awesome in a Swannies top.

Dukes was again best afield and in everything – shovelling it out of the middle, putting his body on the line and kicking goals.  Dez was again solid down back.  Big Edo came on and did a solid job in the ruck, laid some tackles and was also good in general play.  Dan Lucardie belied his years to show strong attack on the ball and keen footy ‘ball sense’ a number of times to hold the ball in our forward line and exert real pressure on the Lao defence.  Unfortunately Paul Koch dislocated his elbow and Tim Riordan broke his nose and had to be sent off to hospital for a precautionary check up.  He later returned to the field in the final and Paul managed to ‘self-administer’ a ‘re-location’ of his elbow….they breed ‘em tough in banana-bender country.

Game 3 – The Grand Final

The boys were up and ready for the final.  We had a long break in preparation, hit the ball hard from the first bounce, built an early lead and were never headed.  We closed the game out strongly with 3 goals to none (including one that Fabbo plucked out of his #@% and slotted over his head in the goalsquare, that must be mentioned or else I know we will hear about it for the next 10 years (Eds note: Mr Danny is a very perceptive writer and his contributions to the Swannies website are always welcome…)) in the final quarter and ran out easy winners.

Tim Riordan won the toughness award.

Toughness award to Tim Riordan for returning to the field with a broken nose.  BOG to Dave O’Shea who was in everything and gave the Swannies strong momentum out of the middle.  Dukes again nearly required ambulance attention for leather poisoning – in everything and continuing to kick goals.

The scoresheet showed that Dukes kicked an amazing 8 goals across the Swannies 3 games, playing in the middle.  Justifiably, he received the award for (clear) best player of the IndoChina Cup tournament 2011.  Other strong performers in the final were Ryan in the ruck, Nick Moger up forward and Dez down back, but really the Swannies were strong all over the ground and any number of players could have been named in the best afield.

For me, it was wonderful to be back amongst the boys and to be associated with the mighty Vietnam Swans.  The cameraderie, the great friendships and solid bonds of this footy club are something really special and I know I have a number of friends for life.

Farewell to two Club Legends: Dan Kindness and Dez Limbrick.

What a fantastic touring party – 28 or 29 players on tour and some great support from the girls also.  Players from Vung Tau, Saigon and Hanoi – awesome.  A number of blokes on their last tour, none more significant than Swannies legend, my great mate, Dezza

Dezza has been an absolute champion on and off the field in every facet of our footy club and will be sorely missed.  Dan Kindness was also on his last tour and is another club legend.  Those who attended our first ANZAC weekend in Vung Tau / Long Tan / Nui Dat will never forget Dan’s fantastic addresses to our tourers – providing insight to the role of the Australians in that terrible conflict and making us thankful for our forebears and proud to be Australian.  He reminded many of us what it meant to be Australian; I for one will never forget it.  He can play footy too and was a solid contributor all day.

Notwithstanding the departure of these stalwarts of the club, like Fabbo says, the great thing about the Swannies is that new blokes keep stepping up to fill the void.  In that regard, it was also fantastic to see 6 new tourers with the squad – what a great way to start with a first up win.

Well done Swannies – Back to Back IndoChina Cup Champions 2010 + 2011.

Posted in BOG, Farewell, Legend | Leave a Comment »

Dave O’Shea, a first time tourer, reviews the 2011 Indochina Cup

Posted by Vietnam Swans on November 29, 2011

Dave O'Shea picks up a footy for being awarded BOG in the Grand Final last weekend.

Dave O’Shea has been known to sleep with the footy. Last weekend, he played for the Swannies in the Indochina Cup held in Vientiane, Lao. This was his first ever tour with the Swannies. When told that he would be playing four games in one day, he replied, “That’s great!! (Pause…) Five would be better…” Below, the first timer tells us what the weekend was like.

The butterflies kicked in Friday lunch time. It was time to leave for the airport. The thoughts rushing through my virgin brain were, “Do I have my passport?” “Do I have enough time to make the flight?” “What did I forget?” “Is it best to take US dollars or withdraw money when I get to Laos?” By the time I got past check in, I grabbed a beer and started to relax. From then on, everything was a complete hoot…

The Friday night was a warm up of what was to come. We checked out the venue that we knew we would return to on Saturday night after all the footy was finished. First impressions were quite good. Food was nice, the beers were flowing and the atmosphere was electric. The hardest thing about the night was staying in control. This could be a mistake a virgin could easily make. With four games of footy coming up, it was important not to get too carried away. I was in bed by 10:00pm.

On the other side of the Mekong River from Vientiane is Thailand!

I didn’t have the best nights of sleep, Friday night. I couldn’t stop thinking about footy. Even when I got to sleep, I was dreaming about footy. But eventually Saturday morning came and I was ready to go. Phil Ghasseb (another first timer) and I woke up early and went for a romantic walk and a stretch along the lovely Vientiane boardwalk. Right across the river was Thailand.

Eventually, it was time to get on the bus and travel to the ground. The bus ride was full of excitement and anticipation. Four games of footy; this is going to be great.

The ground was behind a tobacco factory. My first thoughts were that the surface was very hard looking and the oval was quite small. I then noticed that the goal posts on one side of the field were wider than the other side. But this was ok because the end that had the narrow goal posts was closer to the centre square. Anyway, the good thing was that we were about to play some footy.

It was like playing footy in country Australia.

It was finally time to open the day. Hearing the Laos anthem for the first time was enjoyable and hearing the Aussie anthem bought back memories from home. It was like playing in “Country Australia” as the ground was surrounded by beautiful gum trees which provided some shade that we could use for our warm ups.

Game No. 1 – Lao Elephants Vs Thailand Tigers

The first game was between Thailand and Laos. This gave our team the opportunity to watch the game and scope the talent that we would be up against later in the day. Thailand looked good in this match and won convincingly in the end. It seemed as if they would be the team that would provide us with our greatest challenge.

Game No. 2 – Vietnam Swans Vs Cambodian Eagles

Our first game was against Cambodia. They were a tough team and were ahead at half time. We had to dig deep in the second half and eventually got on top. We were a bit rusty in this game which is understandable considering it was our first game of the tournament. It was ok as it’s no good playing your grand final in the first day of the game. However, we knew we would have to get better if we wanted to walk away with the trophy at the end of the day.

Game No. 3 – Lao Elephants Vs Vietnam Swans

There was a quick break and then we were back at it again. This time against Laos. Although they had the home ground advantage, we were able to get on top and run out winners. We were now 2 from 2 and looking good for a final spot.

Thailand beat Cambodia in the last game of the day and this meant that they were also 2 from 2.

We were supposed to play Thailand in the last game of the day; however the organizers used some common sense and realized that there was no point having a dead rubber so they decided to play one final of 4 ten minute quarters.  Everyone was happy with this decision.

Play Off for 3rd – Lao Elephants Vs Cambodian Eagles

Cambodia and Laos also had their round match cancelled and played a 3rd v 4th final of 4 ten minute quarters. This was a great game and was close the whole time. Lao were down by 6 points and looked to be out the match with a couple of seconds remaining. But in one last effort they sent the ball forward and a grab was taken from one of the Laos natives on the buzzer. He had a kick after the siren to tie the match. He was 30 meters out and on a 45 degree angle. Everyone in the crowd was willing the ball to go through. He slotted the kick straight through the middle and the match ended in a draw. He later said in an interview that he had been dreaming about that moment ever since he was a young boy.

What a great thing for Asian footy.

Grand Final – Vietnam Swans vs Thailand Tigers

Now it was time for the big match. The Swannies were all ready to go after a big break, and it certainly showed on the field. Led by super coach Nat, we played the best game of the tournament. Thailand was shattered and had no answers for our constant onslaught of pressure. We ended up winning convincingly booting 8 goals to 1.

Skipper Dukes picks up the Player of the Tournament.

Tournament Silverware

Vietnam also cleaned up at the presentations. I was awarded best on ground in the Grand Final; our Captain, Dukesy won player of the carnival; Sammy got to put his fingers in the Johnny Walker box and pull out a winning ticket held by no other than Danny Armstrong (a former resident Swannie who flew in from Shanghai to be part of the action for one more time). He received a 4 litre bottle of Johnny Walker black.  It was going to be a great night for the Swannies.

A mega night it was. We went back to the same venue from the night before. This time we were able to eat as much as we wanted and have a few celebratory drinks – including Danny’s 4 litre bottle!

What a trip it was. It was a great way to lose my first timer status. BOG in the Final and Swannies cleaning up all the awards.

I can’t wait for the next one.

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Match report: Vietnam Swans Vs Royal Australian Navy

Posted by Vietnam Swans on October 13, 2011

Damo, right, at the Swannies' Grand Final Party in Saigon, tells Mr Pow-ell he's livin' the dream.

Damo Judd, member of the Coaching Panel and Gun Swannies’ Player, prepares the match report of last Tuesday’s game against the Royal Australian Navy.

When the troops arrived for kickoff on Tuesday at 5.00pm, spirits were high but the clouds were grey.  It actually made a nice change as it was neither hot nor wet… To add to the atmosphere, we were the first boots allowed on the resurfaced RMIT oval, which kinda felt like making tracks on virgin snow.

“5.00pm kickoff sharp”, was the message on the President’s email. Be there!!!! He obviously didnt send it to the tour operator that was driving the navy contingent on the battlegrounds tour. Instead of a whistle at the appointed time we heard the tinny electronic beeping of a mobile phone announcing that the entire  Navy A team, with all their access to big guns, had been kidnapped  by a little, frail Vietnamese bus driver who just wanted to make a few extra stops. Fortunately, navy boats can carry more prople than a tour bus and with 6 of our Swannies changing colours, a decent opposition was rounded up and the game went on.

The Swans dominated in the first half. Goals were shared evenly with Nick Moger, Damo, Tim and Shagger. We were nicely fed by our new star enginehouse, Dan. on the ball.

Second half, I’m not sure what happened. I think Al Fresco’s turned on the bbq as the ball kept sneaking up the end where the smell was coming from which was unfortunately the Navy’s goal end.

The BBQ was not totally responsible as there was nice work by Rich “Mighty”. Rich is normally stuck somewhere in the back pocket for the Swannies but he told the Navy he was a star forward. The power of suggestion was amazing as I saw Mighty get past our superstar, All Asian, back line to put one through!

Horn and myself had the ball stolen out of our fingers by a  “girl” which was a little humiliating for a blokey bloke… but she really can play!!!

Our boys held on strongly staying in front with the final score reading 8. 6. 59 to the Navy’s 6. 3. 39.

Thanks to our BOG, “Heath”, who thought he was a Harlem Globe Trotter as he was seen juggling the ball behind his back on at least two occasions.

The wrap up was a bit special with candles lit to pay tribute to three recent tragedies.

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The Vernon’s newsletter on Vung Tau Orphanage

Posted by Vietnam Swans on July 30, 2011

Some of the special lap tops donated to the orphanage

As well as Ron and Ailsa Vernon being Swannies, they are great supporters of an orphanage in Vung Tau. Below is an excerpt from their July 2011 Newsletter.

We have been back from Vietnam for two months and we are looking forward to being able to go back sooner rather than later. In making plans to go back for an extended stay again next year which includes ANZAC Day, there are a number of people who have indicated they want to join us there. It is very exciting to be able to introduce people to the project first hand…

We were able to take groups of the children on outings which we all loved. There is a lovely new childrens’ playground in a park which they enjoyed immensely and the little vendors enjoyed selling us drinks and snacks for the children. One day a number of children had to travel to Saigon for dental checkups so those who were left behind were very sad so we took them to the local shopping mall where they played in the fun parlour and then had lunch at KFC. We took a couple of different groups to the cable car and park where we all had a great time riding the huge toboggan ride and paddling the lake in the wooden swans (Ed’s note: Go you Wooden Swannies!!)…

To read the full newsletter, click onto

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Saigon Prez Dez’s Weekly Update

Posted by Vietnam Swans on June 24, 2011

Visa and Winkie will leave Vietnam for the UK with everyone's best wishes.

Dez Limbrick gives us the Saigon Weekly News.

Gents, after a huge trip to Malaysia last week, we have decided to have a rest from training this week so that you can all have the week off to recover and recharge the batteries.

Just to touch on the match last week, I was very pleased with the performance of the squad who travelled.  It was a great effort even if the score board did not necessarily reflect it at the end of the match.  I think it was certainly a lot closer than this indicated and there were some tireless performances all day due to the fact that most of our guys has to play the entire match.

Some of the highlights for me were the great tackle by Trent on their speedy midfielder who was starting to cut us up;  Nibsy kicking a goal in the first few minutes of his debut; sing my head to stop Trent Croads forearm in a marking contest;  and Scotty, who was so fired up for his last match, he decided to come down from his hotel room fully dressed including boots (right Scotty!).

I also want to congratulate Nicko who captained the team in the absence of Duksey and picked up BOG in the process.  Great stuff mate.

Enjoy the week off boys because next week it is all going to start again with three solid weeks of training before heading up to Hanoi for a North vs South Derby and then it is off to the Asian Champs in Bangkok.  Does it get any more important than that?

On a final note I would like to farewell Robert and Winkie Visentini.  Robert and Winkie have been great supporters of the Swans since they arrived in Vietnam a couple of years ago.  Rob has played in two Asian Champs and two Anzac matches to name a few.  Winkie is well known for winning at least half the raffle prizes at our Grand Final Parties.   You will both be missed and we wish you all the best in the UK.

See the rest of you next week.

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Swannies tame Masters in tough encounter

Posted by Vietnam Swans on June 2, 2011

Richard Champion, just prior to a rendition of Cold Chisel's "Working Class Man".

Yesterday, the Swannies managed to pull off a victory against the AFL Masters in a twilight match in Saigon. The final scores were:

Vietnam – 6. 8. 44
AFL Masters – 4.10.34

Afterwards, we headed off for the after match in Dong Khoi Street.

There, a BOG was selected for each team. Repeat offender when it comes to BOGs, Heath “Heater” Ellis, picked up the gong for the Swannies.

Thanks to Neil King and his co-organisers for making the Masters tour a reality.

Thanks as always, to our Saigon Prez, Derrin, and everyone else, particularly Stew, Tristan and Rowan, for making the match and after match function actually happen.

It was a great twilight match and night. The Swannies are definitely keen to host the next match against the AFL Masters.

More to follow.

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Today – Vietnam Swans Vs AFL Masters, Saigon

Posted by Vietnam Swans on June 1, 2011

Brisbane Bears/Lions player, and 200 gamer, Richard Champion will play for the Masters against the Swannies in today's twilight match.

Saigon Prez, Dez Limbrick speaks about today’s twilight match between the Swannies and the AFL Masters.

Just a reminder about the big match today against the visiting AFL Masters Team. The match will kick off at RMIT at 5pm sharp and so we need the players to arrive by 4 30pm. Everyone will get a good run and the match will be played in very good footy spirit so it will be a great match to be involved in.

We will be playing 15 minute quarters with short breaks to maximise the light and will be looking at lots of rotations throughout the match. We will be looking for a win tomorrow night and we will be using it as preparation for our upcoming tour to Malaysia on 18 June.

We will have Al Fresco’s running a BBQ at the ground and Fosters will be pouring beer on tap, so make sure you encourage your friends and family to pop down as well. After the game we will be presenting the trophy and having a beer with the Masters guys for around an hour at which stage everyone will be heading to dinner at The Bier Garden on Dong Khoi St, District 1 (across from the Sheraton Hotel). Dinner is due to kick off at 8 – 8 30 pm, and will be a full buffet for VND 150,000.00 per person.

We will be selling tickets at the ground tomorrow and would like to see everyone involved in the game back at the Bier Garden afterwards. We will also be presenting our BOG awards and I am sure that the Masters will be interested in some other competitive races during the evening. All in all it is going to be a great night and I know everyone will have a great time.

This is our first match in Saigon after our triumphant win in the Indochina Cup last year at home. Let’s get off to a good start and follow on the from the good form we have been showing this year. Now is the time to switch on.

See you all this afternoon at RMIT!

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