Reprinted from the MYANMAR TIMES
Fighting Cocks foil Laos ‘Phants
By Matt Roebuck | Monday, 09 March 2015
The Myanmar Fighting Cocks, the local representative to Australian Rules Football’s ‘AFL Asia’ competitions, returned from Laos last week carrying in tow the side’s first silverware: the Vientiane Cup.
Myanmar’s Conor Smith contests a ball-up with the Laos Ruckman. Photo: Matt RoebuckMyanmar’s Conor Smith contests a ball-up with the Laos Ruckman. Photo: Matt Roebuck
On February 28, the Teik Kyat met the Laos Elephants at the Lao Tobacco Sports Field, where they played three games and won three against a mixture of Laos nationals and Australian expats.
In their first matchup, the Myanmar side; only constituted in 2014 and predominantly formed of Australian expats; played a seven-a-side game against the Laos Nationals.
“To play against a side consisting of Laotian players was a real honour,” said the Fighting Cocks’ president Henry Cox after the competition. “To be able to field an equivalent side is an undoubted ambition of the Myanmar club, but for now, we are still an emerging side.”
The first game saw the Myanmar side run out comfortable victors in a 66–18 game but the contest was not without challenge for the side, particularly from Handa, whose efforts through the competition saw him named “Local player of the tournament”.
“If he’d been playing since he was young, he’d have made the big leagues by now,” said Steve Chapman, president of the Laos Elephants, who were formed in 2007.
Next up for the Cocks was a nine-a-side game against the Laos Felang, a team of Australian nationals. Though this game was tighter, the Fighting Cocks drew to a two–goal lead in the first half and fought hard to maintain the margin in the second, running out 54–34 victors and guaranteeing their place in the final.
The Laos National and Felang sides then met in an encounter that went the way of the experienced Australian side before the two teams combined in an attempt to defend the 2015 trophy from leaving home soil.
Conor Smith, an American making his Test Match debut for the Myanmar side, dominated his Laos counterparts and won man of the match for the final, inspiring his side to lift the Vientiane Cup with a 65–32 win over the combined Laos Elephant side.
Myanmar’s next test will be a home game on March 21, when they host the Cambodian Eagles at the Star City Sports Oval before travelling to Chonaburri on April 25 for the ANZAC Cup, an annual game hosted by Thailand to commemorate those who died in during the construction of the Thai-Burma “Death Railway”.
“It will be especially poignant for this to be first time that this game is played between Myanmar and Thai representative teams, on the 100th year anniversary of ANZAC day and the Gallipoli landings,” said Cox.