The Cambodian Eagles will kick off their 2014 Aussie Rules Football campaign when they head to Ho Chi Minh City in just under two weeks for the annual Australia Day clash against arch rivals the Vietnam Swans.
The Eagles finished last season with a runner-up berth in November’s Indochine Cup only to go down to the Swans. The loss came after having beaten the Vietnamese at the start of the year in Phnom Penh in the all-important January 26 match.
The Eagles are bracing themselves for a far tougher season this year as the team is in rebuilding mode following the exit of much of last year’s starting line-up.
“We lost a lot of players in the offseason but we welcome some fresh blood into the side who will shore up the team and keep the club running smoothly,” Eagles coach Grant Fitzgerald told the Post yesterday.
“Cambodia and Vietnam have a fantastic rivalry which has seen close, hard-fought matches over the past few years and we are expecting another tough game ahead of us,” added Fitzgerald, a native of Perth who is currently working for local investment company Devenco.
The Eagles-Swans clash is expected to attract a huge crowd and will be the focal point for the Australia Day weekend in Ho Chi Minh City, with food, drinks and Australia-themed activities running alongside the match.
The star attraction of the day, however, will be the presence of Tony Morwood, who is a Sydney Swans Team of the Century member, Hall of Fame inductee and the club’s general manager for business development.
“It is a rare privilege for players and spectators alike to have someone of the stature of Tony Morwood in our midst,” Fitzgerald said.