Cambodian Eagles vs Vietnam Swans

40 - 106

Match Report

SATURDAY, MAY 11, 2019

ISPP has seen some solid clashes over recent years. Lead by the ageless form of player coach Peter Kokke, the towering stature of Stephen Higgs and some lightning fast Khmer kids, the Eagles play a free-flowing brand of footy. Scores can be high and thoroughly demoralising to visiting teams.

Despite a whole lot of stitches and a long-term injury to Co-Captain Micka at the ANZAC Friendship Match, the Swans went into the Phnom Penh leg of the Cannonball Run with some fantastic numbers. The word had got around: Vaughan was leaving for good and this was the tour that we were going to rattle Cambodia on home soil.

Beyond the shear numbers on tour, the Swans have been revitalised in recent years. Oscar Silk and Thomas Niit have emerged as two young goal-kickers up front, while the mid-field has been overhauled by guys like Micka, Tal, Caleb, Will and Tractor, all ticking the vital ‘Under 25’ box.

The Swans toured with a very strong squad despite some victims from the tough ANZAC Day clash with Indonesia.

The first quarter began as expected: a tight contest. Three goals apiece at the break.

Despite all the talk of youth, it was Tom Sullivan’s discrete move to the half forward line that unsettled the balance. Tom’s been appearing at training under the guise of supervising his son Will… but it turns out Tom has a few tricks up his sleeve! Two kicks, two goals, and another set up. Rod “Rocket” White then got in on the act, ensuring the veterans in the squad could also claim bragging rights at the pub.

The Swans extended the lead at each break that followed. The final tally revealed a true team effort, with a bundle of goal kickers. Niity finished with 4, ahead of Oscar, Tal and Rocket on 3.

Leading goalkickers Oscar Silk (left) and Thomas Niit put plenty of scoreboard pressure on their Cambodian hosts.

In a team performance, there were a few standouts. Young Will Sullivan lead the mosquito brigade in the Swannies midfield, picking up BOG.

Will Sullivan’s pace saw him pick up BOG.

Amongst the youngsters, Watto made valuable contributions in the ruck, ably supported by Gus and Vaughan. Trent made a welcome return and little Vinh Le also had his moments, with a seamless pickup at the half-forward line and straight kick to Niity for his fourth of the afternoon.

As Vaughan was handed his trophy for years at the club, surrounded by a handful of the Swannies that have played with him since he began, there was a sense that the guard is changing at the Swans.

Asian footy is very transient but amongst the continuous change some great friendships emerge. Vaughan’s story of a Cambodian Grid Iron player discovering our great game is the type of story that makes footy in Asia so good!