Vietnamese beat Aussies at own game
By Michael Smith in HCMC
The Vietnam Swans bowed on Saturday to a visiting AFL team of mostly overseas-Vietnamese players from Melbourne.
Twenty members of the Southern Dragons flew from Melbourne to HCMC to play the Inaugural Vietnam-Australia Friendship Match at the RMIT fields and beat the Swans 11. 14. 80 to 5. 6. 36.
John Hong of the Southern Dragons said, “It was more about playing the game, it didn’t matter what the score was, but we came here to win.”
Hong said most of the team, which is mostly Vietnamese players, made the trip purely to play against the Swans.
He spoke for the rest of the team members when he said it was special to “tie links together” and play Aussies in Vietnam.
The Swans relished the opportunity to play the match-fit Southern Dragons, who won last year’s final in Melbourne’s Southern District Football League.
Swan’s player Bill Crang said, “It was good to be playing a team that take their footy pretty seriously.”
“They’re Asian but they put a lot of effort into their team, training, coaching, working on set plays etcetera and they are fit,” Crang said.
“On the field it has nothing to do with heritage. It was a very nice link to have the opposite setup, Vietnamese Asians living in Australia vs Australians living in Asia,” he said adding it was a great day.
The Dragon’s fitness and training shone through in the second half of the match when they really took control
Another visitor from Australia, Sydney Swans’ Fan Development Executive, Mickey Martin said he was very impressed by the standard of Asian football.
The inaugural game which was four or five years in the making marked the first time the Southern Dragons has visited Vietnam as a team to play football.