Lance Franklin could be in trouble with the Match Review Officer for a bump on Sam Collins during the Swans’ 49-point thrashing of Gold Coast on Saturday.
Showing no sign of any Grand Final hangover following their dismantling at the hands of Geelong last year, Sydney were brilliant in a 16.14 (110) to 9.7 (61) win as they became just the second beaten grand finalist in seven years to win their opening game.
Franklin booted two goals but may have a case to answer after making high contact with Collins in the final quarter. The Suns defender was sent for a concussion assessment, while the Swans superstar is now left to sweat on the verdict of the MRO.
The hit sparked debate on Fox Footy, with Nick Dal Santo suggesting Franklin could find himself in the trouble given the AFL’s drive to eradicate concussions from the game.
‘The AFL is asking you to go for the football and his hands aren’t reaching out for the ball,’ the former AFL star said.
Lance Franklin could be in trouble with the Match Review Officer for a bump on Sam Collins
The Swans superstar hit Collins high, forcing the Suns defender to undergo a concussion assessment early in the fourth quarter of Saturday night’s game
‘Any head knock unfortunately is the responsibility of the bumper.’
Former Hawthorn great Dermott Brereton, however, argued Franklin had limited room to stop himself from crashing into Collins.
‘He [Franklin] does brace for it,’ he said.
‘Takes his eyes off the footy – it’s only for a millisecond but he is in pursuit of the ball.’
Franklin, in his 19th and final season, set the tone for the Swans’ dominant win from the start, marking over the head of Collins and booming the opener high into the stands.
Then his set shot straightened to send Sydney on their way, Franklin overtaking Barry Hall to move to third on the club’s goal-scoring chart in a sparkling first 10 minutes.
‘He was charging around and it was really hot, humid conditions out there, really slippery,’ Swans coach John Longmire said.
‘But a bit drier in that first quarter and we were able to get some balls through […] he was able to be a real presence, but so were the others.
Franklin collected Collins high at the start of the fourth quarter on Saturday
Dismissing the result in the context of their 2022 grand final loss, Longmire said Rampe’s smarts in the slippery conditions shone, while his defensive workrate set the tone.
‘We spoke about the grand final before Christmas, but it has been six months, so we get on with the next year,’ he said.
Twelve different Swans kicked goals but none managed more than two, while Rampe (25 touches) defied the slippery, humid conditions to have 20 disposals at halftime.
Chad Warner (30), Jake Lloyd (28) and Dylan Stephens (27) took up the slack after that.
That spread sparked a team-wide display of pressure that rattled the Suns early, with 11 goals from turnovers killing Stuart Dew’s men.
The contest was effectively over inside 20 minutes, the Swans kicking the game’s first five goals and Franklin the opening couple.
Two late goals rescued the Suns in the first quarter then David Swallow’s snap skipped through to begin the third term and suddenly Gold Coast were only 15 behind.
But that pressure was brief, Tom Papley kicking two highlight-reel goals as part of a blitz either side of three-quarter time that killed the contest.
Back for his first AFL game since 2021, Ben King had to wait until the third quarter for his first kick.
But from deep in the pocket it was long and straight for a Suns goal in front of 13,648 fans.
Franklin kicked off his 19th and final AFL season in style by booting two goals against the Suns
He was one of 12 Swans players to kick a goal as Sydney thrashed Gold Coast by 49 points
He then put his body on the line to deflect a loose ball towards Ben Ainsworth for the first of his two final-quarter goals.
Suns ruckman Jarrod Witts battled hard while it took Touk Miller (29 touches) and Matt Rowell (28) until the third term to get their hands on the ball with any authority.
‘They outworked us, outnumbered us, which allowed their class to come through and when we won it back we were under more pressure than we dished it,’ Dew said.
‘We’ve got a fair bit to work on.’
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