There’s been talk about how much footy has been happening back in Australia of late. Whilst 10/11 days active footy is very exciting to a footy fan we think the 5 2019 blockbuster AFL Asia ANZAC events in some of the most historically significant Asian ANZAC locations is just as awesome. Congratulations to all the clubs and players involved!
Here’s an around the grounds summary:
Vietnam Swans vs Indonesian Volcanoes
April 20th at Vung Tau Lord Mayors Oval.
This was always going to be one for the ages, the Swans have built up one of the most significant ANZAC events in the ANZAC Friendship Match played at the former Lord Mayors Oval in Vung Tau where Aussie soldiers played during R&R breaks in the war. This year, the 10th annual, saw 3 games played.
First up the annual Legends vs All Stars which paid homage to the original Friendship match between the Hanoi Hawks & Saigon Saints and saw the Northerners salute again as they did 10 years ago.
Second game was the first ever internal Vietnam Swans AFLW game between the Queen Kookaburras and the Kuini Ferns with the Kiwi squad causing somewhat of an upset in dominating the Aussie Kookaburras team throughout the match.
The major game between the Swans and the Volcanoes had all the ingredients of a classic. The Swans have been dominant in their 10 year ANZAC Friendship Match against all comers bar 1 – the Jakarta Bintangs have won close games twice in the previous decade. The Bintangs joining with their Asian neighbors the Bali Geckos as the reigning Asian Champion Indonesian Volcanoes seemingly looked like the toughest challenge ever to visit Vung Tau and so it proved.
A tough game saw the Swans lose several players to injury and plenty playing through significant injuries as the pace and physicality of the reigning Asian Champs stretched the Swans to breaking point. With this attrition eroding the Swans bench strength the game turned into a classic arm wrestle. The Indonesians often seemed better with ball in hand switching across the Lord Mayors Oval with ease and kicking some very impressive long goals. The Swans however buoyed by a vocal local crowd stayed in the contest and the last quarter became a high drama see-sawing battle. The Swans looked to nail the sealer when inspirational skipper Jake Norris slotted a contested pack goal late in the 4th after yet another injury delay as Best On Ground Tal “Libba” Sardone was carried off on a make shift stretcher. In a final dramatic twist the Volcanoes made one last surge from half back finding big ‘Urchin’ tucked in the far forward pocket at the Vietnam Backpacker Hostels end of the ground. He went back and slotted it on the siren breaking the Swans hearts for the 3rd time in a decade as the ground announcers referenced the scoreboard announcing a 1 point Indonesia win before the goal umpires convened and confirmed a tie. Definitely an apt result for a classic match!
Make sure to catch the amazing interviews on The Vietnam Swans’ Youtube page including one with AFL ANZAC Day Collingwood and Essendon games legends Paul Williams and Ricky Olarenshaw!
Thailand Tigers vs Singapore Wombats at Kanchanaburi
Saturday April 27th in Kanchanaburi.
The Tigers annual ANZAC match is an incredible game. The teams typically start the day in silence at dawn at Hellfire Pass on the Burma Death Railway you get some perspective on how strong the ANZAC Spirit really is built on courage and mate-ship in the face of unimaginable adversity. Ending it having a reflective beer overlooking the ever flowing River Kwai. This game puts things in perspective.
Game report courtesy of Jarrod Roberts:
It is always an honour for the Thailand Tigers to be able to pay our respect to the ANZAC’s, and in the 16th Annual Commemorative ANZAC Football Match held in Kanchanaburi we welcomed back the Singapore Wombats. In stifling heat both sides attacked the ball from the first bounce, with strong tackling seeing an early lead to the Tigers clawed back by some slick ball movement from the Wombats before the first break. The intensity stayed throughout the second quarter, with momentum shifting between both sides, playing a respectful and competitive game of football. The third quarter saw the Tigers gain some ascendancy in the contest, taking full advantage of the extra rotations afforded from having a larger squad, and eventually running out comfortable winners 65-31. To their credit, the Wombats stayed in the contest and their best football on the day was equal to anything delivered by the Tigers.
Full credit to Singapore for bringing a great bunch of blokes on such an occasion, and doing coach Selfie proud and putting up a great contest on the field. To the Tigers, massive congratulations to Samo on his 100th International game for the club, and to Ollie for taking the Chicken Smallhorn Award for best on ground as awarded by the Quiet Lions touring group. Lastly, thanks to those involved who helped in supporting, organising and running the event, particularly tour coordinator Easy and Al ‘MG’ Pyers for yet again setting up the ground, and all of those who umpired especially our field umpires Coxey and Doug.
Plenty more pics available on the Tigers Facebook page!
April 27th – Malaysian Warriors vs Cambodian Eagles & Apsaras (Men’s & Women’s)
Saturday April 27th in Kuala Lumpur.
In further evidence of the diversity and growth of AFL in Asia the Malaysian Warriors hosted both the Cambodian Eagles (men’s team) and Cambodian Apsaras teams (women’s team) in
Match reports courtesy of the Cambodian Facebook pages:
On the road it was a pretty tough day for the Eagles in KL, losing by 87 points to a very experienced and skillful Malaysian Warriors – Australian Rules Football Club. Some good wet weather footy on display from both sides, but the Warriors had too much firepower kicking incredibly accurately in the dour conditions.
Final Scores – Malaysian Warriors 20.8 (128) d Cambodian Eagles 6.5 (41)
In wet conditions, the Apsaras were gallant in defeat, eventually losing by about 5 goals to a strong home team. The Warrior women started strongly but the Apsaras recovered and were just a goal down at half time. An upset victory felt possible for the Cambodian women but 2 goals to Malaysia late in the third quarter saw the Warrior Women go a few goals up at the last break. The intensity and tackling were super impressive from the Apsaras but the Warrior Women gave as much back to record a well deserved win.
IMPACT Anzac Day Cup Tournament
Saturday April 27th in Osaka.
The Osaka Dingoes hosted their 3rd annual IMPACT Anzac Day Cup Tournament which included a round robin series involving the Shanghai Tigers, an AFL Japan merged side and the hosts the Osaka Dingoes. The Shanghai Tigers dominated the 7-a-side tournament, as did their ruck-man Tim Roberts, who received the 2019 IMPACT Anzac Day Cup MVP.
PAFL ANZAC Day Fight Under Lights
The PAFL Eurekas and Dingoes played another
Quick game recap from Johny Folloso courtesy of the PAFL Facebook page:
A great tussle befitting the occasion we were observing and paying respect to. A close scorline, hard fought hit out that earned the title of “Fight Under Light”. Well done to all the lads who cracked in, everyone stood up and left nothing in the tank.