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.

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Archive for the ‘Legend’ Category

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 »

Saigon Prez talks up Cambodian trip, Swing to Swim and Gaelic footy

Posted by Vietnam Swans on February 24, 2012

Sam Conroy on the ANZAC Boot Camp, Vung Tau, a couple of weeks ago.

Saigon President, Sam Conroy tells us about next week’s Cannonball Run to Cambodia, Swing to Swim and Gaelic Football.

Another big week for the Swans with heaps going on. The footy is back on the tele and we are about to kick off our touring for the year with what is becoming a legendary trip to Cambodia.


After Fabbo playing a Kevin Rudd and not quite telling the truth on how many players we have to the Cambodia boys (Ed’s note, ahem, are you right there??), we are in fact in good shape with 25 touring players and 10 supporters. It would be great to get 3 or 4 more players as late inclusions so if you’re still a chance jump on board, let Timmy know today. Timmy (muppet enforcer) will send out final details in the coming days with all the details of the trip but just get involved.


Saigon Auskick smashed it last week with heaps of kids and a few dads getting along to the Swannies training afterwards who we haven’t seen in a while. We had a great session which was capped off with a scratch match and a debrief from Chris O’Dempsey (who had worked with the then Brisbane Bears). Training will again start at 2:30 tomorrow but for the guys that are keen, we will do Matt Natalotto’s cross fit warm up from 2pm sharp.

17th of March

Two big events on for the 17th of next month: Swing to Swim at Montgomerie Links and a match against the Gaelic boys in Saigon.

  • Swing to Swim is our key fundraising event for the year and we need to get behind this as much as we can. Adam Zakharoff from tick tick Boom9arang Bistro) is looking for some boys to play the day before so you could make it a big weekend of golf, supporting a great cause and maybe a cold beer or two. Let me know if you’re a heading up for the weekend.
  • The Gaelic boys are pumped for a hit out with the Swans and the plan is to run a skills session on the fundamentals of each code prior and then a a hit out of two quarters of each code. I am a member of the Saigon Gaels and they are a top bunch of lads.

Short and sweet this week and I’m sure I have forgotten something but that can all be worked out tomorrow.

Posted in Legend, Swim | Leave a Comment »

Swannies Supercoach gears up for 2012

Posted by Vietnam Swans on February 20, 2012

Swannies Supercoach is on for 2012

Ross McRae is Supercoach Ross to all his friends in 2012. He now gives us an update on what is happening this year.

Just wanted to let you know that places are filling up to join the elite coaching comp.

500kVND / 25AUD entry fee, the prize money split between first and second.  Last year Shagger and I went 60/40 (you decide before the GF).

18 coaches (-1 for Gus), so that’s 8,500,000VND as a nice finals drinking kitty to split.

With the likes of legendary supercoachers such as Scott Stacey, Mark ‘Willy’ Williams, Paul ‘Livin the Dream’ Koch, Dave ‘Angry’ Hadley, Danny ‘Monkey’ Monk, David ‘just Daisy’ Bourke and Shannon ‘Crow-Shagga’ Leahy, how will new comers to the league fair?

Moggy, Dave O’Shea, Ryan and VT legend Timmay  are all joining the mix looking for bragging rights against the old blood.  Also wild card entry Shagger’s dad, Michael, pitting his acumen against his son (perhaps its just another team for Shannon on the sly?).

With the NAB Cup having kicked off already, Swannies’ training sessions in full swing, it’s time to get leather poisoning!

So drop me an email to  if you want in!

Posted in Legend, supercoach | Leave a Comment »

Dan Kindness and Haoie to enjoy a farewell cyclo pub crawl tonight!

Posted by Vietnam Swans on January 11, 2012

Dan Kindness, pictured left at last year's ANZAC Dawn Service, will leave Vietnam. Tonight he will have a farewell cyclo pub crawl like this one for the Swannies' 2008 AFL Grand Final Cyclo Parade in Hanoi.

As a footy club in Asia, the Vietnam Swans meet many – and say goodbye to many.

Tonight, the boys in Hanoi will put on a Cyclo Pub Crawl for Club Legend, Dan Kindness who will leave Vietnam with his family in another week.

Also cyclo-ing will be another key Swannie, Mr Haoie.

Hao, pictured here on a match banner from last year, will also dominate in his farewell cyclo pub crawl.

Dan’s influence and impact on the Club has been immense and enduring. Dan played a key role in establishing our ANZAC Friendship Match which is only in its third year. Dan played a pivotal role in establishing the tradition where visiting Royal Australian Navy ships play a game of footy against the Swannies. Dan organised the Thursday night fitness sessions at the Australian Embassy in Hanoi. But most importantly, Dan has just been there at our Club as a top bloke.

Tonight, the Club will put on a show for Dan and Hao in Hanoi. A Cyclo Pub Crawl – similar to our AFL Grand Final Cyclo Parades that we used to do in Hanoi. The details are as follows:

Start: Tonight, 1700-1730

Where: Bia Hoi – south side cnr Phung Hung and Bat Dan – Old Quarter, Hanoi

Cyclo Pub Crawl: Cyclo Bia Hoi crawl through the old quarter to make it to

Dinner: 1900

Where: near Truc Bach Lake, 10 Nguyen Bieu, Ba Dinh

Come along if you can for a fantastic night with a fantastic couple who have done so much for our Club.

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

Congratulations Skipper Dukes – Back to Backs, Best n Fairest!

Posted by Vietnam Swans on December 4, 2011

Dukesy - Back to Back Legend! Photo: Adam Martin.

Last weekend, the Swannies went Back to Back with the Indochina Cup.

Yesterday, our Skipper, Luke “Dukesy” Creamer went Back to Back with the Swannies’ Best and Fairest, narrowly nudging out Heath “Heater” Ellis.

In third position was the Saigon President, Dez Limbrick (who was the highest scoring Swannie at the Asian Champs).

The result was a clear crowd pleaser after the Captain’s Indochina Cup winning performance last weekend. Long time friend, Nat Payne who presented the votes for the Indochina Cup with Damo Ballantine said, “I have seen Dukesy play a lot of footy but have seen none better than his performance in last weekend’s Grand Final”.

Dukesy polled 27 votes out of a possible 30 votes at the Indochina Cup.

Other recipients of awards were:

  • Best Clubman in Saigon: Saigon President elect, Sam Conroy
  • Most Outstanding Contribution: Ross McRae (who also received an air fare and two nights’accomodation at the Lifestyle Resort, Danang)
  • Most Improved Players: Trent Mears and Spencer Fowler
  • Captain’s Award: Dave O’Shea

The Club also farewelled outgoing Saigon President, Derrin Limbrick and his ever supportive wife, Fleur. We welcomed next year’s incoming Saigon President, Sam Conroy.

Congratulations to all recipients of awards – and all other players who were breathing down their necks all season. It really has been a fantastic season for the Swannies Club.

Much more to follow.

Hanoi Awards and Presentations

Saturday, 10 December 2011, JASPAS. After Hanoi’s event, a complete listing of Best and Fairest votes will be posted on this website.

Posted in awards, Farewell, 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 »

Swannies’ sweet success at Indochina Cup caps off stellar 2011

Posted by Vietnam Swans on November 28, 2011

Nick Moger (gun), a first time tourer, kicks for goal - watched on by another first time tourer, Damo Ballantine (gun) and the seasoned veteran - and player of the tournament - Skipper Dukes.

National President, Phil Johns does a quick follow up after the Swannies victory at the 2011 Indochina Cup which was played between the Lao Elephants, Thailand Tigers, Cambodian Eagles and the Swannies.

Dear Swannies, Sponsors and Supporters

The Vietnam Swans have just returned from the 5th Annual Indochina Cup which was held in Vientiane, Lao. With silverware!

The Swannies were lucky enough to win the Indochina Cup last year. This year, we were lucky enough to win in emphatic style and become the first team in the competition’s short history to claim back to backs. And it feels pretty good!

Our touring squad was only slightly smaller than the host team’s. I think our Club has a good vibe and an inclusive culture that serves us well.

The departuing Dan Kindness. Says we might see him at next year's ANZAC Friendship Match...

We farewelled no less than five players on this tour: Saigon President, Derrin Limbrick (with wife, Fleur); Dan Kindness (key architect behind the ANZAC Friendship Match and footy matches against the Royal Australian Navy), Stewie Green, Hao Tien and Tim Riordan.

The departures are bad news indeed – but that’s just what happens in Asian footy. Our footy club is always in a process of continual renewal. So we were pleased to welcome a swag of new recruits on their first tour who outnumbered the departures. The international tour debutants included “best on ground” in the Grand Final, Dave O’Shea, and the Italian Man Mountain, Edo, who introduced himself to the Swannies in Hanoi just a fortnight ago.

Special mention and congratulations to our Captain, “Dukes” Creamer who picked up the award for “Player of the tournament”.

For and more reports, as always, turn to

To acknowledge and celebrate the Club’s stellar year – on and off the field – in our eight year history, make sure you attend our Christmas and Awards Parties in Saigon (next Saturday, 3 December from 2pm, Boomarang Bistro) and Hanoi ( Saturday 10 December, JASPAS). And it will be a great opportunity to properly thank and farewell some true Club legends.

Dave O'Shea pleased the recruiters when he picked up Best on Ground in the Grand Final, in his first international tour.

If you’re back in Melbourne in the Christmas/New Year period, don’t forget the Swannies cricket day at the MCG on 28 December and the annual golf day on 29 December.

Need another footy fix? Don’t worry. 7 January in Saigon, the Vietnam Swans will kit up again to take on the Southern Dragons from Melbourne. The Dragons emailed this morning to say that, so far, they have a squad of 17 confirmed.

Congratulations to all Swannies who turned it on last weekend and to the rest of the Swannies who weren’t able to be there on the day. Back to Back. That’s a very impressive achievement!

On Saturday, what did the final siren sound like?

It sounded like someone honkin’ his horn.

Go you Swannies!

Thank you!

The Vietnam Swans would like to extend our sincerest thanks to the Lao Elephants for hosting such an outstandingly well organised event. In particular, we would like to highlight the great work done by the President, Paul Simcock, Vice President, Michael Simcock and their organising Committee. Congratulations to the Lao Elephants.

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

Wayne Grady to attend Australian Consul General’s Farewell Golf Tournament, Saigon

Posted by Vietnam Swans on November 24, 2011

Wayne Grady, to play in Australian Consul General's Farewell Golf Tournament next week in Saigon. Click on poster to enlarge.

Australian Consul General, Graeme Swift, shall have his Farewell Celebration Golf Tournament next Thursday, 1 December 2011, in Saigon.

The day has just received a huge boost with the news that Australian golfing legend, , shall play in the event.

Grady was born in Brisbane and turned professional in 1978. He is best known for winning the , one of golf’s four majors, in 1990. Grady was also runner up at the Open Championship in 1989, losing in a playoff against Greg Norman and Mark Calcavecchia.

Do you want to play with Wayne Grady and Graeme Swift??

How would you like to play in the same flight as Graeme Swift and Wayne Grady? Lunch, drinks – and a few tips from Wayne about your golf? (Tip # 1: Do you know what your biggest problem is? You’re standing too close to the ball. After you’ve swung.)

Well, now you can!

Simply place a bid by emailing , sponsors of the Wayne Grady visit. Bidding starts at $200 and all money raised will go to .

Wayne Grady wins the 1990 PGA Championship - and will now play in Saigon.

Separate private donations can be made by following the directions in the attached document, .

If your company would like to be associated with the Wayne Grady auction, contact .

Graeme Swift – a great Swannies’ supporter

Graeme has been a great supporter of the Vietnam Swans attending and participating in many of our functions – including the Swannies’ Christmas Party and B&F in Saigon on Saturday 3 December. It would be very fitting if the Club was well represented at his Farewell Celebration Golf Tournament.

Graeme Swift at the 2011 ANZAC Friendship Match, Vung Tau Dog Track - part of the Vabis Group.

If you can attend the golf day with the likes of other famous people including our Saigon Prez, Saigon Prez Elect, National Prez and a Mark Long string of others, please come along! It will also serve as a great warm up for those of us attending the Swannies Annual Golf Day in Melbourne on 29 December. Green fees are $110 (or $100 for Auscham members). See the attached poster for full details.

The Vabis Group and Crown Relocations – Two Headline Sponsors of the Golf Day and the Swannies

The Vabis Group, a very close friend of the Vietnam Swans, owns the Vung Tau Dog Track which is the home of our Annual ANZAC Friendship Match.

Another headline sponsor of the day is Crown Relocations. And you are hearin’ yet another Swannies’ Sponsor if you’re hearin’ me.

Go you Swannies!

Update: Sunday, 27 November on Dong for Dongs Fundraiser

  • $450 current bid for golf with Wayne Grady and Graeme Swift
  • $2,270 corporate donations
  • $2,850 personal donations
  • $5,570 raised so far!

Auction closes midnight, Monday 28 November 2011. to make a pledge, email .

Posted in Farewell, Fundraiser, Legend | 1 Comment »

Veteran Bomber attacks Pies again. Now, it’s the 2012 ANZAC Day Match

Posted by Vietnam Swans on November 16, 2011

Stan Middleton, Kevin Bartlett & Jim Flower (24th July 2011), Etihad Stadium Melbourne

Back in July 2011, Vietnam Veteran (and Vietnam Football League historian during that period) and Essendon Bombers’ fan, Stan Middleton, vented his fury. And he’s at it again. Last time it was Collingwood. This time it’s the AFL for an allegedly biased draw that favours Collingwood in the lead up to next year’s ANZAC Match against Essendon.

Next ANZAC Day game. Essendon v Collingwood, Wednesday, 25 April 2012, both teams will have had just a four day break.

Seems fair until you look into it!

Essendon play Carlton in a Blockbuster on Saturday afternoon. Always huge and intense games with huge crowds. Collingwood play Port Adelaide at Etihad at the same time. Collingwood will be able to rest many players and still win that and come up fresh on ANZAC Day! Essendon will have to be at full strength for Carlton!

We play the previous Sunday interstate. Collingwood play the previous Friday in Melbourne!

Essendon will play their 3rd game in 10 days (the last after a huge blockbuster game). Collingwood will play 3 games in 12 days (the last after an easy game against Port)!

ANZAC Day is the biggest home & away game of the year so they play one of the teams in a huge blockbuster just four days before! They the AFL claim it is fair to both Essendon and Collingwood as they both play on the previous Saturday!

If Collingwood flog Essendon as a result, the AFL won’t take any of the blame!

You would think the AFL would make it as fair as possible given the short break for ANZAC Day for both teams! After all, it is their marquee home & away game for the year!

I’m Stan Middleton and that’s life. (Ed’s note: sign off added by editor…)

  • The 3rd Annual ANZAC Friendship Match in Vung Tau, Vietnam will be played between the Vietnam Swans and the China Reds on Saturday, 21 April. A Legends’ Match shall precede the main event.

Posted in Legend | 2 Comments »

Alex Jesaulenko, this is greatness.

Posted by Vietnam Swans on October 2, 2011

The Alex Jesaulenko signed merchandise - and yesterday, when he presented the Jock McHale Medal to Chris Scott at the MCG (as viewed on the Australia Network TV at the Boomarang Bistro, Saigon).

Following an introduction from the Boomarang Bistro Saigon, a week ago, the Swannies’ Kyle Hackenberg caught up with Annie and in Melbourne. Alex, among other things, is a former Carlton Premiership Coach and Official Legend of the Game.

Alex signed a Swannies’ jumper that says:

Congratulations Boomarang and Vietnam Swans on your 1st Grand Final on 1/10/2011. Alex Jesaulenko, You Beauty!

The jumper will be permanently hung at the Boomarang Bistro in Saigon. Jezza also signed a couple of footies that were auctioned off at the Vietnam Swans 2011 AFL Grand Finals in Hanoi and Saigon yesterday.

A very special thank you to Jezza from all the Swannies.

It has been a busy week for Jezza. As well as signing merchandise for us, he also presented the Jock McHale Medal to yesterday’s Premiership Coach, Chris Scott. On Tuesday, Leigh Matthews ranked Jezza’s mark in the 1970 Grand Final as his (Matthews’ was Wayne Harmes in the 1979 Grand Final making the desperate lunge on the boundary line to keep the ball in play. Just prior to that, an injured Alex Jesaulenko is seen being carried by trainers inside the boundary line).

Jezza’s 1970 mark is… a beauty, of course. And, for some lighter entertainment, see that mark  re-created in a Toyota TV commercial.

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(Another) 5 minutes with The Flyer: Micky Francis, Pt 2

Posted by Vietnam Swans on September 16, 2011

When not honking his horn, the Flyer can be found sleeping with his footy. Pic: last month's Asian Champs.

Dave Kainey is the Flyer and this time, he’s spending (another) five minutes with Club Legend, Mick Francis who played a key role in starting it all at the then, Hanoi Swans, back in 2001. Here’s Part 2. (To see Part 1, click here.)

Q4. Your thoughts on the performance by the Swans at last month’s Asian Championships in Bangkok and their standing in Asian Football?

Swannies are great! Huge performance at the Champs. But why not if you can live and work in a place like Vietnam where you can do, pretty much, anything. So why not be a leader in Asian football? We have guys running the Club who have the vision, have great passion for it and it is now reflected in how we are perceived in Asian Footy circles.

Mick Francis and wife, Yen, at the Swing to Swim Charity Golf Day back in May. Some amazing auctioneering work helped raise $25,000.

Q5. Mick, you have seen many players, partners, supporters and sponsors develop relationships at different levels with the Vietnam Swans. Many, if not all, who have to move on, continue to enjoy their association with the Vietnam Swans. Is that how you see it?

I think it’s a great reminder for people of their time spent in Vietnam. The Swannies have been a platform for many of them and have played a big part in their lives while they were in Vietnam. I know everyone of them remembers being a part of our Club.

Q6. Mick, family life and business all going well in Vietnam?

Family, business and life – all good here, mate. Thanks!

Willy, last June, resplendent in Club Blazer, stands alongside the Sydney Swans Jumper in Jaspas, Hanoi.

Q7. Finally mate, I wanted to bring up some of the former / current team mates. Give me, in 5 words or less, a response to the name.

  • Gus ‘stop’ McEwan – Passion, committed, still no girl friend.
  • Jarrod ‘Juddy’ Dale – Can play! Captain/Coach, leader.
  • Mick ‘MJ’ Johnston – Improving with age. Can sing.
  • David ‘Sharpie’ Sharpe – Legend. Great on tour.
  • Scott ‘Pacey’ Stacey – Can surprise for a little guy.
  • Justin ‘Pumper’ Hart – Purple vibrator (Ed’s note: ‘vibrant personality’ perhaps?). Champion efforts.
  • Mark ‘Willie’ Williams – Golden girls, golden boxers.
  • Nick ‘Nicko’ Shiells – Number 10 will become the captain’s number.
  • Derrin ‘Dezza’ Limbrick (Saigon Prez) – Committed, loyal to Vietnam footy.
  • Dan ‘Crazy’ Hopkins (Hanoi Prez) – Champion young bloke. Great for us.
  • Phil ‘Fabbo’ Johns – Vision, communicator, new world leader.

Thanks big fella for spending 5 minutes with The Flyer.

Footnote re photo of Willy:  This photo of Willy standing next to the framed Sydney Swans jumper was taken last June. Willy bought the jumper, generously donated by the Sydney Swans, at auction at the Black Saturday Bushfire fundraiser in Saigon, March, 2009. The jumper now hangs at JASPAS, Hanoi, home of the Vietnam Swans AFL Grand Final Party.

Posted in Fundraiser, Legend | 3 Comments »

Five Minutes with the Flyer: Micky Francis, Pt 1

Posted by Vietnam Swans on September 13, 2011

The Flyer in Malaysia on the Swannies first ever tour, May, 2005.

Dave Kainey is the Flyer and this time, he’s found Club Legend, Mick Francis who played a key role in starting it all at the then, Hanoi Swans, back in 2001.

Q1. Mick, there are only a handful of blokes that were around at the time when the then, Hanoi Swans, began to get fair dinkum about their footy and you were one of the main drivers. How did footy actually get to the 5th floor of Pepperonis (part of the Al Fresco’s Group which is a current club sponsor) in Bao Khanh, Hanoi, in the first place?

We actually started around the corner in Ly Quoc Su street on the 3rd floor. I was trying to sell some pizzas and wanted to watch the footy while I was working. I got a few boys around and there it was; footy on a Friday! I do remember we had to use a satellite dish to get the feed for it. When the wind blew hard enough, the dish would move and the signal would be lost. So, up we go on the roof and try to point it back in the right direction with the boys down stairs yelling out when the signal returned!

In 2002 we opened a new Pepperonis and it came with a brand new 5th level; perfect for watching the footy! The panel was put together with Potsy, Pumper and Bubbles. Everyone knew where to be on a Friday and we started to bond and form a club.

Mick Francis, Pepperonis' Pied Piper, in the Bobby Skilton Room, circa 2002.

The Bobby Skilton Room was named by Rick (Trewavas) who organised the legendary photo of Bobby and the gold plaque. It became our home. We even named the bar the Captain Blood Bar after Jack Dyer – but no one remembers that (sorry Josh (Magennis) ). Andy (Wall – from Coca Cola and Jim Beam – both of which are current sponsors) rolled up with some jumpers and that was how the Hanoi Swans were born. San Miguel were our first sponsor and Ryan (Jeffery – organiser of the Vietnam Swans’ Annual Golf Day in Melbourne each Christmas) drank all the Fanta…

It became our Club Room. It became our place where Hanoi was an easier place to be. We had so many legends that have helped make our club great and the 5th floor was their home.

Q2. Training runs outside the Australian Embassy and a few runs at Dead Cat Stadium ensued and all of a sudden the Swans are hosting Honk Kong and Thailand in a 3-way tournament at an industrial park. Again, Pepperonis was where it was all happening, ‘The Nerve Centre’, in the lead-up. Good memories? I felt the Swans made a statement that day also. The Swans were welcomed into Asian footy on the field and stamped themselves as being an accomplished host to the visiting teams – thanks to your expertise.

The Hanoi Swans first ever team, Tri Nations Cup, Hanoi 2003. Mick - far right.

The lead up was amazing. Everyone was pumped for it. All we wanted was to be the greatest hosts possible. We wanted the visiting teams to love us and to love coming to Hanoi.

We held a fundraising function and flogged off a few things to help stage the tournament. But, when you have a bloke like Josh Magennis in your Club, things were always going to be fine. He showed huge generosity in the auctions with a football signed by the Sydney Swans. Josh bought the footy and donated it back to Club. And then he bought it again. And donated it back to the Club again! Before it got too silly, a second person bought the footy.

If anyone deserved this footy to come back, it was Josh Magennis... Against Jakarta's Matt Stephens, Hanoi, March, 2006.

However there were two things that week which were amazing. One, we had no ground a week away from the game. Enter Paddy (Griffiths) who, with me, went on a desperate search of Hanoi and, thank god for the Thanh Long Industrial Park and the help of Mr Son who knew all about the AFL! Who would have thought? Second the birth of Bubbles’ (Wayne Tinlin) goldern girls and Willy (Mark Williams). Amazing.

Q3. Then onto the first International in Malaysia against the Warriors in May 2005. An exciting time for the Footy Club?

The Flyer (Dave Kainey) was the man who gave the Swannies wings! We can travel! We can mix it up on foreign soil! Bring it on! When you need someone to think big, just ask the Flyer. It was not in anyone’s mind to actually travel to play! It was a very exciting time for everyone involved.

Related photo albums

  • (Hanoi Swans, Thailand Tigers and Hong Kong Dragons (first ever match), Hanoi, November 2003
  • (first international tour), KL, May, 2005.
  • , Hanoi (first ever victory), Hanoi, March 2006.

For Part 2, (Another) Five Minutes with the Flyer, Mick talks about last month’s Asian Champs, the role of the Club in people’s lives and key people who have served the Club since its inception.

Posted in Legend | 2 Comments »


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