Saturday, August 4th 2023
Old Navy Headquarters, Phnom Penh
It was a perfect day for Asian footy as the Vietnam Swans arrived at the Navy Headquarters on Saturday, August 4th in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The sun was out, the crowds were beginning to form early on the outskirts of the oval, and a final head count confirmed that everyone had survived the famous bus trip across the Cambodian border.
The Eagles had been under the pump with last-minute field troubles and did a fantastic job of pulling together a good patch of grass for the weekend’s event. As we all know, there are three certainties in life: Death, taxes, and issues with booking f***ing football ovals in Asia!
The Men’s game was up first, and they were coming back from the long break with a point to prove. Shortly after having our pants pulled down in Hanoi vs Indonesia, the club hit summer break and it really came at a good time. Guys and girls had niggles after a grueling 1st half of season and seriously needed a rest, a very successful 1st half of the season for both Men’s and Women’s teams might I add, apart from the reality check at the hands of the Volcanoes in late May.
The vibe around the group pre-game was positive, a lot of the lads had put some work over the break and were keen to get back on the park and get back to winning ways. We began the first quarter well with the early clearance and early goal but The Eagles pegged it back quickly, and both teams went goal for goal, coming into the first break almost even on the scoreboard. The second quarter was a much different story. We really got the ascendency out of the middle via Skipper Jono McKay and midfield bulls Rusty Clarke and Ryan Tishler, and the Swans piled on seven unanswered goals. This was thanks to some great rebound from half back, disciplined positioning, plus great forward craft and strong marking from cult hero Cam King (About time he kicked a few!) and the great Spence Whittaker in his first game back from a broken wrist. Our small forwards were also at their creative best with Andy “Flappers” Glendenning and Wayno McMahon jagging a couple of goals each, while Petey Mac and Khmer legend Khun also got on the board.
The Swans pulled further away after the half-time break and went on to win by 11 goals over the undermanned Eagles, in what was a very physical (as always) and well fought-out game by both clubs! The Eagles admittedly had a number of their starting 16 on the sidelines with injury and we hope the lads are good to go for the return leg on August 19th. A huge congratulations to Irishman Joe Cuddihy in his first game, Joe finished with BOG accolades and a very handy goal rebounding from the half-back line, a performance that had his cheer squad going wild on the sidelines!
Vietnam Swans 16.15 – 111 def Cambodia Eagles 5.8 – 38
Goalkickers: Cam King 6, Wayne McMahon 2, Andy G 2, Khun 1, Ryan Tishler 1, Rusty Clarke 1, Jono 1, Pete Mac 1, Joe 1
Best Players: Joe Cuddihy, Jono Mckay, Spence Whittaker, Cam King, Rusty Clarke
Vietnam Lady Swans vs Cambodia Apsaras
Many of our ladies took to the field in what would be just their 2nd ever game of footy and first ever tour. We were facing a strong, quick and experienced Cambodian squad who will be one of the favourites heading into the AFL Asia Champs.
Our squad was a bit light on, with just 10 travelling Swans and 7 Cambodian girls who were new to the game but stepped up to play with us for the day – a massive thankyou to those ladies! Nevertheless, we approached the game with two key focuses; do the simple things well and play hard football. Both of which we accomplished with great endeavour.
Ev was a beast in the middle all day, winning lots of ground-balls, contested footy and laying some big hits. She set the tone early for the rest of the team along with Lucy O’Rourke and Niamh in the middle who worked tirelessly all day.
Lucy Nguyen was a rock down back all day, stemming the flow of the Cambodians and taking a number of marks deep inside our defensive fifty. The sweltering heat got the better of Tram early in the game which meant we had a number of girls playing 90-100% of the game. To their credit, they did not stop fighting all day and were able to get some great run into their legs in the lead up to Champs.
Rhi was thrown into the middle for her first game as a Swannie and did a fantastic job, Lucy OR sent some long bombs down the field and Molly did some tagging work in the 2nd half. It was great for everyone to get so much playing-time and familiarise themselves more with the game and the rules.
“Congratulations to our Cambodian girls on their biggest ever win” – Ladies, let those words sit in your mind for a moment. Let’s return the favour on Saturday.
Final Score: Apsaras 11.7 – 73 Lady Swans 0.1 – 1
Best Players: Evrena Everard, Lucy O’Rouke, Lucy Nguyen, Rhiannon Fraiia, Niamh Keating
To our supporters, past players and people passing through – Don’t miss the return leg of the Cannonball Run this Saturday, August 19th at RMIT University. Contact us via our social media channels to register your interest in attending the event! The women’s game will start at 11:15am and the Men’s game will start at 12:45! Our post-game event will be held at our Gold Sponsor’s Bar from 6:30pm, The Jackaroo Bar & Grill. All are welcome!
Check back on our website and socials platforms Friday for the full match preview.