All the action from Game 1 of the Cannonball Run!
Mens – Vietnam Swans (106) vs Cambodian Eagles (40)
ISPP has seen some solid clashes over recent years. Lead by the ageless form of player coach Peter Kokke, the towering stature of Stephen Higgs and some lightning fast Khmer kids, the Eagles play a free-flowing brand of footy. Scores can be high and thoroughly demoralising to visiting teams.
Despite a whole lot of stitches and a long-term injury to Co-Captain Micka at the ANZAC Friendship Match, the Swans went into the Phnom Penh leg of the Cannonball Run with some fantastic numbers. The word had got around: Vaughan was leaving for good and this was the tour that we were going to rattle Cambodia on home soil.
Hanoi sent down a huge squad for the ANZAC Friendship Match against Indonesia and backed it up only a few weeks later. In the absence of El Presidente, it was Lachy Stark to lead the northerners. These extra inclusions put the playing squad up to 26.
Beyond the shear numbers on tour, the Swans have been revitalised in recent years. Oscar Silk and Thomas Niit have emerged as two young goal-kickers up front, while the mid-field has been overhauled by guys like Micka, Tal, Caleb, Will and Tractor, all ticking the vital ‘Under 25’ box.
The first quarter began as expected: a tight contest. Three goals apiece at the break.
Despite all the talk of youth, it was Tom Sullivan’s discrete move to the half forward line that unsettled the balance. Tom’s been appearing at training under the guise of supervising his son Will… but it turns out Tom has a few tricks up his sleeve! Two kicks, two goals, and another set up. Rod “Rocket” White then got in on the act, ensuring the veterans in the squad could also claim bragging rights at the pub.
The Swans extended the lead at each break that followed. The final tally revealed a true team effort, with a bundle of goal kickers. Niity finished with 4, ahead of Oscar, Tal and Rocket on 3.
In a team performance, there were a few standouts. Young Will Sullivan lead the mosquito brigade in the Swannies midfield, picking up BOG.
Amongst the youngsters, Watto made valuable contributions in the ruck, ably supported by Gus and Vaughan. Trent made a welcome return and little Vinh Le also had his moments, with a seamless pickup at the half-forward line and straight kick to Niity for his fourth of the afternoon.
As Vaughan was handed his trophy for years at the club, surrounded by a handful of the Swannies that have played with him since he began, there was a sense that the guard is changing at the Swans.
With two wins and a draw from the first part of our season, we’re looking forward to a short break. International games resume in August, with two trips to Thailand and a tournament in Da Nang. Get on board! There will also be announcements shortly about an AFL-X tournament in June.
#AFLW – Vietnam Lady Swans (19) vs Cambodian Apsaras (22)
The Lady Swans first ventured to Cambodia last year, claiming an unexpected win with a small squad. The Ladies were in a similar situation this year, with the Apsaras generously helping out to provide for an entertaining, even match.
The Lady Swans started strong, taking a narrow lead that held for three quarters. Local players Linh and Lucy stepped up and were amazing. Hung take some great marks and Alexz assisted a few goals.
With only a few points in it, no one gave up until the final whistle… but a last minute goal from Cambodia’s Captain Neat Khin got the Apsaras over the line. Three points was the difference.
Linh was awarded the Lady Swan’s Best on Ground, with Chia and Naomi very good in the midfield. A big thanks to the Apsaras who wore our colours for the day.
The Ladies are looking ahead to the second game, where they’ll have the chance to clinch the trophy if they can win by 4 points or more. Very doable! See you on August 10 at RMIT in Saigon!