Vietnam Swans

Australian Rules Football In Vietnam!

  • Grand Final Parties – 27th September

    Saigon, Hanoi, Hoi AnSeptember 27th, 2014
    7 days to go.
  • Asian Champs – 10th October – Clark, Philippines

    The Swans take on Asia's best. Season's key event where the Swans will take on the strongest teams in Asia including the Hong Kong Dragons, the Singapore Wombats, the Jakarta Bintangs, the China Reds, the Bali Geckos, The Cambodian Eagles, the Thai Thaigers, the Malaysian Warriors and the hosts, the Philippine Eagles.

Sagion Girls to play Hanoi this weekend before training.

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 14, 2014

Sagion Girls to play Hanoi this weekend before training.

Come on lads get down to training nice and early this Saturday and provide some support to the Girls in their match against the Hanoi team. It’s only 1 weekend before the ANZAC Friendship Match so we hope that we’ve got the whole club out in force.

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ANZAC Friendship Match FAQs

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 12, 2014

The 2014 ANZAC Friendship Match – FAQs

The 2014 ANZAC Friendship Match

Vietnam Swans Vs Malaysian Warriors

Lam Son Stadium (Lord Mayor’s Oval), Vung Tau, Saturday,26 April 2014


1. What is “ANZAC Day”?

ANZAC Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations” and “the contribution and suffering of all those who have served”.

2. Why is ANZAC Day commemorated on 25 April each year?

25 April is the anniversary of when members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) landed on the beaches of Gallipoli (Ottoman Empire (Turkey)) in 1915. The ANZACs were met with fierce resistance from the Ottoman Army and suffered heavy casualties.

3. What is the history of the ANZAC Friendship Match?

In 2009, the Vietnam Swans were invited to play in the Thailand Tigers’ 2009 Commemorative ANZAC Match in Kanchanaburi which is near World War II’s infamous Thai Burma Railway.

The following year, 2010, the Vietnam Swans played the inaugural ANZAC Friendship Match. Players were divided into two teams that were named after previous playing clubs, the Hanoi Hawks and Saigon Saints.

The Friendship Match was designed to:

  • Thank our hosts, the Vietnamese Government and Vietnamese people for warmly and generously welcoming us into their country
  • Encourage emotionally wounded people from abroad to return and experience the New World of Vietnam
  • Learn from those who had been here 40 years before us
  • Show those from abroad, through our eyes, what an amazing country Vietnam is to live and work in
  • Focus attention on the number of children drowning in this country (more children die from drowning than road accidents)
  • Raise money for local causes supporting the future, the kids, via Swim Vietnam and the Vung Tau Orphanage.

4. Why do players wear two Black Armbands?

This is the ANZAC Friendship Match. It is about bringing people together. It’s about recognizing that in times of war, people on all sides suffer.

We who live here in Vietnam are very grateful for this privilege.

Typically, only one armband is worn to commemorate the loss of life. By having all players, from all teams, in all matches wearing two black armbands, it becomes very clear that we are explicitly recognizing the losses suffered by all.

In every photo taken on the day, every player will be wearing two black armbands. This is the ANZAC Friendship Match.

5. What is the Vietnam Football League (VFL)?

In 1966, Private John Heaney was given the call: organize a game of Aussie Rules Football – or face detention for a minor disciplinary issue. He chose the latter!

The following year, 1967, a full scale competition was organized between the various Australian units based in Vung Tau.

The competition, known as the VFL (Vietnam Football League) ran until 1971. There were two premiership seasons played most years.

6. What is the Lord Mayor’s Oval?

Most of the Vietnam Football League’s games were played at Lam Son Stadium which is now the Vung Tau Greyhound Racing Track – and home of the ANZAC Friendship Match.

This is the same oval that the diggers used to play on but they fondly referred to Lam Son as the Lord Mayor’s Oval.

7. Who is Stan Middleton?

In 2010, the Vietnam Swans were very aware that footy had been played by Australian diggers during the War – but we had been unsuccessful in tracking down any of the players or any detail of its history.

So we went ahead aand played our Inaugural ANZAC Friendship Match on 24 April 2010.

Then, just two weeks later, on 10 May 2014, a guy named Stan Middleton left a comment on the Swans’ website:

“I served in Vung Tau in 1967-68. A full scale Aussies Rules Competition between Australian units was conducted (twice a year). The Competition commenced in either 1966 or 1967 and I believe went through to 1971.”

It turned out that Stan had albums of photos, historical documents, contacts – and we were away. The Vietnam Swans had played our Inaugural ANZAC Friendship Match just two weeks earlier – but, suddenly, we had more than 40 years’ of incredibly rich history!

8. What is the McMillan Dinner?

In 2010 and 2011, we enjoyed cracking post match functions. But they were the same type of events as every other post match event we have during a standard year.

But this was a post ANZAC Friendship Match function. It needed to be different. And it needed a name.

The Vietnam Swans in 2012 named the function the McMillan Dinner. It was named in honour of Kevin “Kev” McMillan.

Kev did two tours of Vietnam: one from 1969-1970 with the 6th Battalion Royal Australian Army Regiment and the second from 1970-1971 with the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam.

Some years later, Kev returned to Vietnam in Vung Tau where he married Le. They now have two children. Together with long time friend, Peter Taylor, they played a key role in forming the Vietnam Veterans and Friends Charity. They renovated the Da Bak School and raised $40,000 to put in new toilets and classrooms for the new school at the end of the Luscombe airfield strip at Nui Dat.

Glenn Nolan at the time said that Kev is “a man that gave Australia two years of his life and has come back and helped to rebuild a country he fought in. But it’s in a true ANZAC tradition. They may have been foe but are now friends and this, Kev, has proven.”

Kev was a passionate rugby man who loved to mock the southerners’ “aerial ping pong”. But while he didn’t care about the footy per se, this rugby man was passionate about what the ANZAC Friendship Match represented.

It’s always hardest to start something and Kev was there at the very beginning of the ANZAC Friendship Match in 2010.

Unfortunately, Kev was not able to be at the Inaugural McMillan Dinner on 21 April 2012. He was in Australia being treated for cancer. Stephen Drummond film the night for him, however. The footage was uploaded onto You Tube and Kev was able to watch it from his hospital bed which he loved greatly.

Ten days later, Kev passed away, “chuffed” that the McMillan Dinner had been named in his honour.

9. What is the Middleton Address?

If the ANZAC Friendship Match is about bringing people together, then, that’s what the McMillan Dinner needed to do.

For that to happen, the McMillan Dinner needed a signature event. Given the footy happens on the weekend adjacent to ANZAC Day, it is reasonable to expect that there will potentially be some amazing speakers over the coming years. And so we needed to build a spot for a keynote speaker.

And that spot was to become known as the Middleton Address in honour of Stan Middleton.

We didn’t name it after Stan because of what he did or didn’t do in Vietnam – on or off the footy field.

the ANZAC Friendship Match is about bringing people together – and that is exactly what Stan has done.

Within two weeks of our first footy match, Stan had found us and reached out; offering to help and to share his library of photos, contacts etc. He has continued to work tirelessly to help spread the word and has also been heavily involved with Water Safety Vietnam which also aims to teach children to swim.

The inaugural speaker of the Middleton Address in 2012 was Peter Taylor, Kev McMillan’s best mate.

Last year, Stan himself delivered the Middleton Address.

10. Who is Alex Jesaulenko?

Alex Jesaulenko will deliver this year’s Middleton Address.

Born in Austria in 1945, he migrated to Australia and became one of the greatest ever AFL footballers to have ever played.

He played 279 games for Carlton and St Kilda in the Victorian Football League (VFL) from the 1960s to the 1980s.

He is an official Legend of the Australian Football Hall of Fame and immortalised his reputation in the game by taking the Mark of the Century in the 1970 VFL Grand Final in front of 120,000 spectators.

Career highlights

  • Carlton premierships 1968, 1970, 1972
  • Carlton premiership captain-coach 1979
  • Carlton leading goalkicker 1969–1971
  • Carlton captain 1974–1976, 1978–1979
  • John Nicholls Medal 1975
  • St Kilda captain 1981
  • All-Australian team 1969, 1972
  • AFL Team of the Century
  • Carlton Team of the Century
  • Australian Football Hall of Fame inductee 1996, Official Legend in 2008

11. What is the Peter Badcoe Club?

The Peter Badcoe Club was a rest and recreation club for diggers during the war. The Imperial Hotel, where the McMillan Dinner will be held, stands on the site of the Peter Badcoe Club.

Major Peter Badcoe VC served in the Vietnam War and is the last South Australian to be awarded the Victoria Cross – the military’s highest honour for bravery.

Since 2004, AFL Club, Port Adelaide has presented the Peter Badcoe VC Medal to the best player on the ground as part of ANZAC Round.

12. Where do proceeds from the ANZAC Friendship Match go?

The ANZAC Friendship Match’s tagline is “Honouring lost lives; saving young lives”.

We remember and acknowledge the past and then, while we have everyone’s attention, we offer them a way forward to make a positive difference.

Children are the future of Vietnam and with more children dying from drowning than road accidents, money raised will be donated to Swim Vietnam and Water Safety Vietnam. In addition, we also support the Vung Tau Orphanage.

All proceeds from gate takings at the ground and raffles, less direct expenses, will be donated.

13. What is AFL Asia?

AFL Asia was formed in July of last year to promote and encourage the sharing of information and ideas between existing clubs. Also, it’s designed to enable member clubs to operate in a more strategic and coordinated manner.

AFL Asia comprises 22 footy clubs from Timor Leste in the south to Beijing in the north; and the Philippines in the east to Pakistan in the west.

14. How do I get there?

The Vietnam Swans will be running 2 x buses – leaving at 7pm on Thursday the 24th and Friday the 25th of April to Vung Tau. Alternatively local shuttle service runs ever 15 minutes.

The Thursday night bus will be combined with a tour to the Long Tan Memorial Cross and Dawn Service on Friday morning (departing Vung Tau at 4am).

Traveling time is approx. 1.5hrs.

15. How much does it cost (dinner, bus and game)?

The cost of the Thursday night bus is $15 (including Long Tan Tour on Friday morning). Friday night bus is $15.

The McMillan Dinner, including 3hrs of Free Flow beer, wine and soft drink + buffet dinner costs $60.

Entry to the ground is by donation with all proceeds going to charity.

16. How do I book?

To reserve a place on this buses or book tickets to the dinner please log onto and pay via PayPal.

17. Further Information

For further information please contact [email protected] or log onto

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Jezza meets Stan in Middle of Melbourne

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 12, 2014

Vietnam Football League historian, Stan Middleton and Alex Jesaulenko in Melbourne yesterday. Alex will deliver this year’s Middleton Address after the ANZAC Friendship Match in Vung Tau.

Yesterday in Melbourne, Official Historian of the Vietnam Football League which ran from 1967-71 in Southern Vietnam, Stan Middleton, met up with Alex Jesaulenko.

Alex will deliver this year’s 3rd Middleton Address during the McMillan Dinner which follows the ANZAC Friendship Match on 26 April 2014.

Stan writes that he “spent a very enjoyable hour with Alex. He is very excited about his trip to Vietnam and the footy game and doing the ‘Middleton Address’.

“I took an extra Swannies shirt over for him to wear and lent him my Swannies cap to wear as well!”

The 5th Annual ANZAC Friendship Match will be played on 26 April between the Vietnam Swans and Malaysian Warriors.

The McMillan Dinner, at which the Middleton Address will be delivered, will be held at the Imperial Hotel in Vung Tau which stands on the site of the former Peter Badcoe Club.

Tickets on sale now.

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2014 McMillan Dinner tickets are now available!

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 11, 2014

Tickets to the 2014 McMillan Dinner which will be held after the ANZAC Friendship Match, are officially now on sale.

What’s the one thing that’s better than bricks of Vietnamese Dong?

Bricks of tickets to the ANZAC Friendship Match’s official dinner, the McMillan Dinner!

The McMillan Dinner will be held after the ANZAC Friendship Match which will be played between the Vietnam Swans and the Malaysian Warriors in Vung Tau, Vietnam, on Saturday 26 April.

225 physical tickets – less those that have already been reserved by the Warriors and other parties – go on sale tomorrow in HCMC.

To purchase online, visit the Swannies’ Online Shop, consult with your nearest Swannies’ player, visit the Commonwealth Bank’s branch at 65 Nguyen Du Str, D1, HCMC or .

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A new generation to see the Long Tan Cross

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 9, 2014

During the week, the rubber plantation at the Long Tan Cross was harvested as part of the standard cropping cycle. Now, a new generation will grow up to see the Long Tan Cross.

During the week, as part of the standard cropping cycle for rubber plantations which have a rotation of 15-20 years, the rubber trees at the Long Tan Cross were harvested.

Rod Burgess writes that when he “first visited the Long Tan Cross back in 1996, there was no rubber trees to be seen. The farmers had pulled them out and then planted new trees.

“The trees at the Cross that visitors saw until recently were the re-planted trees.

“Rubber trees only have about a 20 year life to produce latex, after which, they then pull them out and re-plant young trees. So in the near future you will again see young rubber trees surrounding the Long Tan Cross.”

For those attending the ANZAC Dawn Service this year who notice that the trees have been harvested, it will be another reminder of the passing of time. The year after next will be the 50th anniversary of Long Tan.

Visitors to the ANZAC Dawn Service at the Long Tan Cross (5.15am, Friday 25 April, $5 buses from Tommy’s Bar, Vung Tau) are reminded that medals and uniforms must not be worn.

It is only the French (Dien Bien Phu) and Australians (Long Tan Cross) that are permitted by the Vietnamese Government to have permanent memorials. In addition, the Vietnamese Government allows the Australians to hold formal services at the Long Tan Cross on our two most significant days; namely, ANZAC Day (25 April) and Vietnam Veterans’ Day (18 August).

The Vietnam Swans thank the Vietnamese Government and people for their generosity in welcoming us to their country. The ANZAC Friendship Match (to be next played on 26 April in Vung Tau against the Malaysian Warriors) aims to build on this spirit of respect and friendship.

For more photos, .


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Dave ‘Flyer’ Kainey talks about local talent in Jakarta

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 7, 2014

It’s 2 weeks since the Kainey Cup in Jakarta against the Bintangs and 2 weeks until the ANZAC Friendship Match in Vung Tau against the Malaysia Warriors, so now is a good time to reflect on where we want the future of football to be in Asia.
Prior to the Kainey Cup, Mr Kainey himself reflected on how the AusKick programme in Jakarta has resulted in having 2 teams of local talent playing in Jakarta and vying for a chance to run out onto the MCG prior to the 2014 Grand Final.
It took about 10 years, but the future of football amongst the locals in Jakarta seems assured.
Go Swannies and keep those AusKick programmes coming along.

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Ron Vernon’s 1967 Premiership Cup from the Lord Mayor’s Oval

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 5, 2014

Ron Vernon with his 1967 Premiership Cup at Tommy’s Bar, Vung Tau.

Ron and Ailsa Vernon were doing some cleaning up recently – and discovered Ron’s miniature 1967 Premiership Cup which he won at the Lord Mayor’s Oval!

The Premiership Cup will be on display on the 26 April back at the Lord Mayor’s Oval when the Vietnam Swans take on the Malaysian Warriors in the 5th ANZAC Friendship Match.

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The Inaugural ANZAC Great Debate, 23 April, Caravelle Hotel, HCMC

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 5, 2014

The Inaugural ANZAC Great Debate, Caravelle Hotel, 23 April 2014.

As the Vietnam Swans prepare for our 5th ANZAC Friendship Match against the Malaysian Warriors on 26 April in Vung Tau, the Australian and New Zealand Chambers of Commerce in HCMC have just announced details of the Inaugural ANZAC Great Debate.

Together with the official release of David Morgan’s new song, Forever We Will Run, which celebrates the history of ANZAC footy in Vung Tau on 22 April at the Spotted Cow in HCMC, it’s shaping up to be a big ANZAC Week.

Blurb and details for the Inaugural ANZAC Great Debate

In the great ANZAC tradition of friendly rivalry, six of the Greatest Minds from Australia and New Zealand will engage in an evening of wit, wisdom, banter and debate, over a meal of fine ANZAC inspired fare, finally resolving one of the greatest ANZAC conundrums.

  • When: Wednesday, 23 April,2014 from 6.30pm
  • Where: Caravelle Hotel, HCMC (which housed the Kiwi and Aussie Embassies up to 1975)
  • Price: VND1,380,000
  • Dress Code: National / Sporting colours
  • Special Guest: AFL Legend, Alex Jesaulenko
  • Register:

2014 ANZAC Week

  • 22 April (Tues) – Release of David Morgan’s new song that celebrates ANZAC Footy in Vung Tau, Forever We Will Run, Spotted Cow, HCMC
  • 23 April (Wed) – The Inaugural ANZAC Great Debate, Caravelle Hotel, HCMC
  • 25 April (Fri) – ANZAC Dawn Services. Hanoi – Australian Embassy @ 4.40am. HCMC – RMIT University, 21 Pham Ngoc Thach, District 3 @ 6.30am. Long Tan Cross – @ 5.15am
  • 26 April (Sat) – 5th Annual ANZAC Friendship Match, Dog Track, Vung Tau (click here for details)
  • 26 April (Sat) – McMillan Dinner with AFL Legend, Alex Jesaulenko, to deliver the Middleton Address, Imperial Hotel, Vung Tau (click here for details)

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CD launch of Diggers’ footy and ANZAC Friendship Match

Posted by Vietnam Swans on April 2, 2014

David Morgan has written a song about footy on the Lord Mayor’s Oval: from the diggers in the Vietnam Football League (VFL) to the Swannies’ ANZAC Friendship Match. “Forever We Will Run.”

Official launch at the Spotted Cow in HCMC in ANZAC Week – Tuesday 22 April 2014.

It just keeps getting bigger.

Footnote: The Vietnam Swans are not financial beneficiaries of this project either directly or indirectly.

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Get your 2014 Membership Now – With Online Payments

Posted by Vietnam Swans on March 30, 2014

Swans Playing KitYou can now pay for your 2014 Vietnam Swans membership online. Simply visit and follow the paypal links.

If you don’t want to pay online then speak to Dan (Hanoi) or Rowan (HCMC) to arrange payment.

NOTE: Membership is for Vietnam based people only.

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2014 ANZAC Friendship Match

Posted by Vietnam Swans on March 26, 2014

2014 ANZAC Friendship Match

The build up begins!

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Irish JR Match Report – thanks to IKT Knowledge & Dragon Industries

Posted by Vietnam Swans on March 24, 2014

ImageAs per the generous sponsorship of IKT Knowledge (Via Mr Damo Judd) I was lucky enough to travel to Indonesia last weekend. As a thank-you I agreed to do a write up of the weekend so here is my attempt to make some sense of the chaos that ensued as the Jakarta Bintangs hosted the Vietnam Swans on the second competitive game of the year. The Swans travelled with a healthy looking squad comprising of veterans, gun players, newbies and a raft of immigrants ranging from the beautiful mountains of Canada to the gorgeous and welcoming pubs of Ireland.

The Bintangs started the game at a ferocious pace clocking up an impressive four goals in the first 10 minutes; with a very plausible thrashing on their hands, the Swannies came to life and bombarded the Bintangs’ goal for the rest of the first quarter. It was a tremendously exciting first period with Vaughan, James and Scotty all playing their role in scoring and creating goals for the Bintangs whilst Billy and Dan recovered from their first 10 minutes to shut down the potent Bintang attack.

At quarter time, with the Swannies ahead on the scoreboard, the crowd rippled with excitement at the prospect of another exhilarating and high scoring 2nd period. They were treated to the latter as the Bintangs exploded from the blocks and tormented the Swannies defence with some clinical finishing. The Butcher made mince meat of the Swannies defence showing his prowess with a number of smart turns and kicks. The Swannies defence wasn’t helped by the midfield and forward lines inability to man up and perhaps the team as a whole misjudged the situation, leaning towards a more attacking mentality rather than trying to shut the Bintangs down.

I wish I could say the Swannies learned their lesson in the third quarter but unfortunately the Bintangs continued to turn the screw with more accurate kicking and better anticipation under the high ball. Frankly, the Swannies were dejected and unable to lift themselves in the two crucial quarters that saw the game swing favourably in the Bintangs direction. Problems arose all over the pitch, where we were second to a lot of the ball, our kicking was as wild as Nicko’s negotiating at a currency exchange counter and our decision making was as existent as common sense was in our previous night’s antics.

But in the infamous words of the even more infamous Manu “We are the Swannies, the mighty mighty Swannies” and we were not going to go down without a fight. Coach Andy and a few of the senior players along with an overenthusiastic but awesomely cool Tuan rallied the troops at three quarter time. The team came out of the traps like a locomotive steam engine, battling to every ball and contesting every possession. Travy got on the end of some great passes and poached a few goals whilst Vaughan, Trent, James and Josh Leary amongst others put in a huge last quarter to make the scoreline a bit more respectable.

Fearing that the game was getting away from them, the Bintangs threw on former Swannie superstar Shagger who attempted to turn the game back in the Bintangs favour but was shut down emphatically by the much improved Swans defence and midfield.

At the final siren, the Bintangs ran out comfortable winners but there was an element of positivity about how the Swans responded to the dreadful two quarters that saw the game get away from them. It’s never easy travelling to such a strong footy stronghold; the Bintangs were well worth their win with a number of their players putting in top quality performances. What really stood out was their lethal kicking, kicking a total of 22 goals and 5 behinds – which works out at a shooting accuracy of about  81%, a phenomenal effort; but we can’t just credit their display and performance to their ability to kick goals, it was their all round play that tormented the Swans and put them in such kickable scoring positions.

So what now for the Vietnam Swannies? Well we get back up off the deck, brush ourselves down and get ready for the most important game of the year – ANZAC Day. Despite the loss we can take huge encouragement from the game – Trent Davies played superbly in the half back line, Scotty Radford showed a level of ability and aggression that bodes well for the midfield, Vaughan demonstrated his ability to perform in the big games – claiming ‘Best on Ground’ for the Swans, Timmy Pickert showed what an awesome guy he is by again making the 17 hour trip to play with his favourite Asian footy team and the group as a whole bonded and strengthened their playing relationship and their camaraderie over what was a very testing but enjoyable weekend.

Two particular mentions should go to the very generous donations by club sponsors Dragon Industries Asia and who sponsored Scott Radford and I to travel and play in the game. Many thanks for generosity.

By the way I also had an awesome game completely shutting down ex-swannie Dave O’Shea…..just saying.

Til next time,


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