March 18th, 2023, RMIT University, District 7 HCMC

“A dominant 4-Quarter effort”

The Vietnam Swans opened their 2023 AFL Asia account on Saturday, March 18th against one of the league’s most successful clubs, a heavyweight of Asian footy, The Hong Kong Dragons.

Hong Kong, the unfortunate victim of a painstakingly long and frustrating period of travel and quarantine obstacles, toured strong with 16 men, a far cry from the squad of 5 Vietnam Swans that traveled to Hong Kong for a 9’s tournament way back in 2015. Among the touring side last weekend also was a familiar face, a face that we all knew too well here in Vietnam. A face we knew and loved for many years, a favourite son but now dead to us, it was none other than the chiseled-jawed defensive juggernaut, the Canadian footy phenom, the infamous Wang Han Swat. He also goes by the name Vaughan. (It was a pleasure to have you back home, mate!)

Vaughan Swart loving his return to the lush greens of District 7 after stints in the desert, snow and now concrete jungles of Hong Kong.

The Dragons had initially talked their touring squad down, however we knew they had a few aces up their sleeve, Vaughan being one of them and after handing over a few aces of our own, it made for a solid, hard 4 quarter hit-out under the burning afternoon Ho Chi Minh City sun.

The wrecking ball Will Sandman went across to the dark side to start the battle and donned the Dragons colours for the first half, along with a very good footballer in Canadian visitor Greg Bridges, our fast improving defender Jakob and also Tish’s younger brother, the solid Dylan Tishler. All four made their presence felt almost immediately, and consistently throughout the game. The Swans however got the ascendancy early and belted home two quick goals to force some early distance between themselves and the touring side, before finishing the first quarter 4 goals up.

Will Sandman maintained his great form of late splitting his game time between former team the Dragons and the Swans and creating significant drive for both.

At the beginning of the second the Swans kicked further away. The forward line was working well together, led by debutant Cam King, Full Forward Paul Villanova, and crafty flankers Wayne McMahon and Pete Mac. With great supply and some silky finishing the forwards shared the spoils to push us to a comfortable lead.

A big game first up for the Swans social media sensation Cam King has given the online masses just a taste of things to come. You’ll want to get onto the ANZAC Day weekend Live Stream early before it gets pulled down by millions trying to catch Kingy plying his trade down in Vung Tau!

That comfort zone was breached halfway through the second quarter the mercurial and ever-durable Swans half-backman, Nate Milner also decided to cross over to the Dragons. It was a move that we were apprehensive about, but it was also a great chance to test our half forward line against elite pressure and would inevitably provide some much needed rebound from the Dragon’s half backline. Nate, Greg and Big Laneo got straight to work in clawing back some control for Hong Kong, this certainly put the brakes on the Swans forward entries, and with some great link-ups in transition out through the middle of the ground (led by Dragons best on ground Jordan Sanders), Hong Kong hit back with consecutive goals of their own and gained some real momentum going into the half-time break.

Sensing the Swans forwards ascendency Nath Milner sniffed a chance for some red hot contested footy and was laying run down tackles before anyone even noticed. Thanks to everyone who helped out the touring Dragons and ensured a red hot 4 quarters.

The entire last half was a bit of an arm wrestle, some great tackling, contested footy and two-way running by both sides made for great viewing! However the Swans defense (led by new dad Billy Crang and Club Pres Matty Barton) hung tough when it mattered, the midfield wrestled back control, the forward line found their way again and the Vietnam Swans came home with a wet sail, finishing with a dominant win on home turf.

The Pres was a rock down back and a springboard into attack throughout.

The Saturday night post-game function at The Jackaroo Bar & Grill was one for the ages – Amazing food, cold beer, great music and a solid turnout. Thanks, Jay!

A big thanks also to our volunteers on the day, The legendary Toetag for a brilliant solo all-day umpiring performance, Sha Mac, Uncle Gus McEwin, Katie Walsh, Trent Davies, Lucy Nguyen, Vinh Le, and everyone that helped with assembling and taking down the goalposts, cleaning up etc. 

Thank you, we appreciate the time you sacrifice for the footy club.

Best Players:

Vietnam Swans: Cam King, Rusty Clarke, Ryan Tishler, Matt Barton 

(Special mentions to Bill Crang, Jake Norris, Pete Mac, Villa, and a brilliant first half from Ally!)


Hong Kong Dragons: Jordan Sanders, Laneo, Ben Dixon, Luke Colbran

(Special mentions to Vaughan Swart, Greg Bridges, Chris Moore)

Final Scores: