Please note the date for the 2019 ANZAC Friendship Match: 20 April 2019.
20 April 2019
The Significance of Vung Tau
Vung Tau was the home of many Australian servicemen during Australia’s presence in the Vietnam War between 1962 and 1973. The Vietnam Football League actually ran in Vung Tau between 1966 and 1971, at the very oval that we play on today. Many of the Veterans still make the annual journey across to see the Swans play against a rival in the AFL Asia competition.
2019 promises even more, with 40 veterans confirmed to come over in this, the 10th ANZAC Friendship Match.
The Vietnam Swans vs Indonesian Volcanoes
The ANZAC Friendship Match is undoubtedly the toughest match all season when it comes to selection. The full Saigon squad becomes available, injuries magically healing overnight and fitness peaking in the absence of any additional training. The Hanoians arrive in droves too, making for a list of almost 50 that has to be culled back to 22. With such a large list, its a real honour to play for Vietnam in the ANZAC Friendship Match. Selection for the Swans in the main game between Vietnam and Indonesia is limited to residents only.
The pre-game speeches and anthems will commence at 2pm, for a 2:15pm bounce-down.
We’ve added an AFLW game to this year’s schedule! Australia vs New Zealand will clash at 12:30pm, between the Queen Kookaburras vs Kuīni Ferns. Playing jumpers have been designed and are on the way. Any interested players are encourage to get in contact with Chia as soon as possible.
Legends vs. All Stars
The annual showdown between the Lagler Legends and the Al Fresco All Stars has taken on a life of its own. As in previous years, we’ll begin the day with the Legends vs the Al Stars.
The game is open to anyone who wants to play. We usually have players register with the club prior to game day but often have people on the day wanting to have a kick as well. If you want to have a kick please come and register your interest with the Club.
We make special playing jumpers for the Legends/All Stars and they’re handed out on the day. This year’s designs pay tribute to the teams that combined to form the Vietnam Swans: the Saigon Saints and the Hanoi Hawks.
You can read about the history for last year’s Legends vs. All Stars clash here. All Stars finally triumped over the Legends last year!
Venue and Agenda for the Day
All games will be held at the Lord Mayors Oval (now known as Lam Son Stadium) in Vung Tau on Saturday 20 April. There is a large stand at the ground, and drinks and food will be available for sale.
The main items for the day will include:
- Game 1 at 11am: Legends vs. All Stars (open game)
- Game 2 at 12:30pm: AFLW – Queen Kookaburras vs Kuīni Ferns
- Speeches at 2pm
- Game 3 at 2:15pm: Swans vs Indonesia
Function in the Evening – The McMillan Dinner and Middleton Address
The McMillan Dinner is traditional, allowing the Swans, supporters and the visiting team to reflect on the ANZAC legacy. This year we’ll be hosting the McMillan at the Lord Mayor’s Oval at 7pm, in a large room located overlooking the Greyhound Racing Track. Dinner and drinks are included. This should be a fantastic evening.
One of the key events of the ANZAC Friendship Match is the Middleton Address, delivered by an invited guest each year. This year we are very lucky to have Stan Middleton, Official Historian of the Vietnam Football League and recent recipient of the OAM, to present the Middleton Address. Stan will be accompanied by a group of veterans as they tour Vietnam. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear the stories.
Tickets will be strictly limited to 100. 40 have been pre-sold, meaning that availability for this event is tight. Tickets will be 800k VND and will include dinner and drinks. Contact the Swans players or send a message to the Swans Facebook Page to book your tickets.
There are plenty of accommodation options in Vung Tau. We’d suggest:
- Imperial Hotel ($150 USD per night, 5 Star)
- Petro Hotel ($50-70 USD per night, 4 star)
- Seaside Resort ($70 USD per night, 4 star)
- Sammy Hotel ($50 USD per night, 4 star)
- Rex Hotel ($60 USD per night, 3 star)
- Song Huong Hotel ($40 USD per night, 2 star)
- Pacific Hotel ($25 USD per night, 1 star)
Making Travel Plans
If possible, players and supporters are encouraged to get down on Friday afternoon to Tommy’s Bar 3 to watch Essendon vs North Melbourne. Kick off at 4:20pm.
The Swans have arranged a large bus down to Vung Tau on Friday at 6pm (April 19) leaving from out the front of the McDonald’s on Dien Bien Phu St in District 1.
It’s also possible to get a Grab (same as Uber) down on the Saturday morning.
A team bus will bring everyone back up on the Sunday at 12:30pm from Tommys Bar 3. Bookings for the team bus to and from Vung Tau should be sent to Chia Sabbatucci – firstname.lastname@example.org
If you will be in Ho Chi Minh City for Wednesday the 17th of April, all players and supporters are welcome to attend the usual Wednesday night training session at Australian International School.
Note that there is a public holiday in Vietnam on the following weekend, from 29 April to 1 May, so be careful if you’re making travel plans to come to Vietnam. Hotels in popular places can book out.
What About ANZAC Day on 25 April?
There are several official events that will take place the week after the Swan’s ANZAC Friendship match. Further details have been announced from the Australian Embassy.