With the 2015 season now drawing to a close, it was again time for one of the biggest events on the Swannies’ calendar – Ladies Day! With such a good looking group of footballers, along with being both our last home game and last major hit-out of the year before Asian Champs, there was never any doubt this would be one of the biggest Ladies Day events in history, and that it was!
The Gaels kicked the dew of the grass with an intra-club match, a great game that saw some of Saigon’s fittest females go head-to-head and served as a great curtain-raiser for the big dance later on. With Coach Cormac taking his role of coaching the Green team somewhat more seriously than the White’s coach James “Red Wine in a Water Bottle” Teague, it was always going to be a fierce battle. The teams were evenly split, with some of the great match ups including Sinead “Up Ya Bum” O’Donnell versus Hanoian Siobhan “Where’s the Wine” Kiernan; Laura “The Rig” Gallagher and Tors “1,000 Calories a Game” Rosenthal; Yoko “Steamroller” Youssouff against Heather “The Machine” Julien, and Heather “Don’t Even Bother” Turkle against anyone who dared try and match her. Scores were pretty even throughout the whole game, with the Whites stepping it up in the last quarter (perhaps in sympathy for their drunken coach) to steal the game. Getting this game out the way early meant the girls could utilize the free alcohol that was on offer and live up to their reputation of being able to match it drink-for-drink with most of the male AFL Asia teams.
Due to a depleted Tiger’s touring squad, some of the Swans’ big names offered to play for the opposing team including Vaughan “Wanghan Swat” Swart, “Uncle” Gus McEwin, Trent ‘Sorry I’ve got something on’ Davies, Roy “Babyface” Horgan and Pierre “Glass and-a-half” Braun. In the end about 10 guys went across, which turned out to be fantastic as the entire group received a large amount of game time, and we got to see some of our boys flourish in new on-field roles – All positives in the lead-up to the big tournament on October 17th.
As we went through our pre-match warm-up (with an occasional turn-of-the-head to welcome some Vietnamese beauties entering the grounds to support their national heroes), it seemed clear when glancing over to the Tigers’ huddle that they would be no pushover, and that the Swans would indeed have their hands full trying to contain a now, very capable and formidable opponent. They had a number of tall, strong bodies, and we would need to be on our game from the first bounce to ensure a win in front our home crowd.
It was game time. A massive roar went up from the ladies’ tents for the first bounce and Thailand as expected, jumped out of the blocks quickly. The Tigers’ ruckman got first touch of the footy and in no time, with our own Roy ‘babyface’ Horgan embracing his new midfield role, streamed forward and kicking the first goal of the game. Roy’s impact throughout the first half must have had the crowd thinking he’d soiled himself, as no Swan seemed to want to go anywhere near him. Roy kicked his second late in the first term and a Swans re-group was definitely required after the siren to end the quarter sounded.
The Swans bounced back in the second term however, showing a lot more physicality and determination at the contest. Usual suspect Tommy “The Bearded Dragon” Doer gracefully moved in and out of traffic slotting a couple of sausage rolls himself to stem the tide, Timmy Burdeu got his hands on it (the footy that is), and Tim C’s sticky mits proved to be valuable up forward (a little more valuable than his goalkicking conversion rate) as the Swans began taking control around the ground. At half-time, Vietnam had more than regrouped, and instead opened up a buffer to set the scene for a big victory.
The second half was all Swannies. The team lifted across the board, with great handball link-ups down the entire length of the field, showcasing exactly what this team can do collectively and proving to be a real highlight of the day. The majority of Tiger’s forward thrusts were cut off by the reliable Nath Milner, Chris Salmon and Timmy Pickert across half back then rebounded forward, and anything in the direction of the big Thailand full-forward was thwarted by trusty Dan “Digger” Morrison on the last line of defense. Shout outs also to Lindsay Nutley for a stellar game, our main man Rowan ‘Moneybags’ Luke who came on (to the delight of several squealing Tequila Bar employees) and threw his body around at the forward stoppages, and Michael “Cotton Wool” Carlaw who cameoed for 30 seconds, before spraining his ankle and heading to the hospital where they put him in a full-body cast.
All in all, a fantastic day from start to finish, a big win for the Swans on their home turf, and some quality time with the crowd afterwards to participate in photo opportunities with their adoring supporters. The Spotted Cow was again the hottest venue in town that night, throwing a great party to round out the day.
Photo credits: Ben Turner (playing shots) and Frances Massing (team pictures).