Field Umpire for yesterday’s ANZAC Friendship Match has prepared the following match report,
The spirit, heart and soul of the Vietnam Swans aussie rules football club was on display for all to see yesterday with the club hosting the special ANZAC Friendship Match against the Hong Kong Dragons. A strong and vocal crowd witnessed a fantastic day of remembrance, ceremony and excitement with the main match being preceded by speeches from the Consuls General from bothAustralia and New Zealand.
A minutes silence to pay respects for victims, families and loved ones affected by war, and many recent natural disasters was then followed by the Australian, New Zealand and Vietnamese national anthems.
Another great concept introduced by the Swans was the Legends’ Match designed to give past and present players from Hanoi and Saigon [who were not playing in the main game] a chance to get their hands on some leather and to show the crowd what football in Australia is all about. Having a go! The 14 a side friendly match finished with the narrowest of wins to the Saigon side but all players were just happy to have participated in such an innovative and significant event.
Even though it was not required, this match wet the appetite of the crowd for the main event which promised to be a tough and demanding match, with both teams having declared that they were there “to win”.
…And from the outset, the Dragons did not disappoint. They kicked the first goal and three of the first four to take an early lead and send a strong message to the home team! The Swans needed an early lift to avoid getting blasted off the park – enter Dave ‘Angry’ Hadley.
Hadley’s first half 5 goals were nothing short of inspirational and he almost single handedly lifted his team to a 27 point half time lead. His high work rate and strong presence around the half forward line was rewarded with several goals being kicked from slick “gather and snaps” after strong contests creating chances by bringing the ball to ground and applying intense forward line pressure.
After the break, the Swans presented a well structured and even-spread performance with the work being shared which brought many players into the game. It was the experienced players now coming to the top such as Nick Shiells who started to control play around the stoppages. Heath ‘Heater’ Ellis provided great run and delivery into the forward line and Asian football legends Nat ‘Mr Asia’ Payne and Kev Hornblower lighting up the field with fine second half performances. It was Hornblower who matched Hadley’s 5 goals and became the primary target down forward after star ex-AFL recruit Richard Osborne shared his services by playing the second half with the Dragons.
The Dragons – Although beaten, were in no way disgraced and applied intense pressure all day with many strong performances from their experienced squad lead commendably by full back and team captain Bowski who had several key forward opponents including Richard Osborne.
David Hadley was deservedly awarded the best player award and spoke proudly and passionately about his time at the Swans – this being his 3rd and Final ANZAC match.
Congratulations Dave… And congratulations to the Swans on hosting a fine event with great respect and thoughtfulness for the Vets, Vietnamese and all involved.
Best (Dragons); Bowski, Dave Kerr, Dunn, Ian Mac.
Best (Swans); Hadley, Hornblower, Shiels, Ellis, Meres.
Davis Hadley (Swans), 5
Kevin Horblower (Swans), 4
Nick Shiells (Swans), 3
Bowski (Dragons), 2
Trent Mears (Swans), 1
Injuries: Damo Ballentine (Eye) Test