The Malaysian Warriors have continued their impressive start to the AFL Asia season with a convincing win against the Vietnam Swans 55 to 26 at the United Nations International School in Hanoi.
A large contingent of Swans and Warriors put up their hand for the Swans first game of the 2015 AFL Asia season and the first for the Swans in Hanoi since hosting the 2012 IndoChina Cup. The well prepared expansive field of UNIS Hanoi allowing the teams a great opportunity to play a fully timed, 16-a-side game ahead of their upcoming ANZAC Day clashes.
The Warriors didn’t waste any time continuing from where they left off from their 46 point defeat of Thailand a few weeks prior, registering the first few goals of the game on the back of some good run from their experienced midfield led by Ironman Owen Lewis.
The Swans fought back in the second quarter, finding some drive out of the middle behind Hanoian first gamers Tom Doer and Mark Horkan, providing David “SOS’ Skoronski with some good ball up forward, with Gus McEwin and Trent Davies also winning a lot of ball around the half forward line. Following back to back goals from SOS and Doer, the Swans would go into the half down just two goals, but confident of running over the top of the Warriors with their large bench.
Vaughn Swart did his best to inspire the Swannies in the third with an inspirational length of the field run from full back. Another impressive game from the Swans’ big Canadian backman who continues to improve with every game, doing a fantastic job on Malaysia’s 2014 leading goalkicker Patto keeping him goalless for the day.
However, it was the Warriors that came out of the half time sheds the strongest, adding another couple of goals before the Swans could add to their total, which could have been easily more if it wasn’t for some strong defensive efforts from Swart, along with Tim Pickert, Jason Carter and Billy Crang.
The Swans continued to work hard but just weren’t able to find a way through the Malaysian defense, with SOS’ second for the afternoon their only second half goal, with the Warriors adding another 5 to run away with a convincing win. Jack Gascard and Owen Lewis the best of the five Warrior goalkickers with two each.
With both teams looking towards their respective Anzac Day appearances against AFL Asia powerhouses Singapore and Jakarta in under two weeks time, both teams will be able to take away many positives from this encounter, with the game providing a great opportunity for the Coaches to rotate players through ahead of the ANZAC team being selected.
Glendinning was also positive about the resurgence of Hanoi football to compliment the strong program in place in Ho Chi Minh City, acknowledging the problems it will cause the Vietnam national selectors ahead of Anzac Day. “It was pleasing to see the linking of both cities even though this was the first time this year we played together. The game was just what we needed with 2 weeks to our biggest challenge yet. As a coaching committee we have a tough task ahead.”
In a great day for Swans football in the north of the country, the club also used the occasion to host their first Auskick clinic in Hanoi for many years, with Swannies legends Mick Francis and Dan Lucardie coaching a clinic for 25 kids.
Following the game both teams retreated to the Swannies new northern base, The Republic, to enjoy their fantastic hospitality, present the best on ground awards to the Swans’ Tom Doer and Malaysia’s Owen Lewis and raise some money for the Swans’ major charity partner Swim Vietnam.
The Swans-Warriors have built a great rivalry over the years, with this 2015 home and away series marking the 10th anniversary since the Swans’ first ever international tour to KL in 2005, with the Warriors returning the tour in 2006 for their first game in Vietnam at the same ground that the teams would meet this time around.
Both teams have committed to a regular home and away series, with the trophy to be awarded at the conclusion of the second game, scheduled for Penang in September.
Score – Vietnam Swans 3.8.26 def by Malaysian Warriors 7.13.55
Goals – Swans: Skowronski (2), Doer. Warriors: Jack Gascard (2), Owen Lewis (2), Sam Clark, Ben Simpson, Kurt Stocks.
Best: Swans: Tom Doer, Tim Pickert, David Skowronski, Vaughn Swart, Trent Davies, Joseph Vile. Warriors: Owen Lewis, Mike Fahey, Joel Backwell, Ben Simpson, Alex McLaws, Jason Flanagan, Corey Weekes.
Check out the TV report and Youtube link with action from the game as shown on Bong Da TV here (Vietnamese)
More photos of the game at the Swannies facebook page here