Lance Franklin could get in trouble with the Match Review Officer for a bump on Sam Collins during the Swans’ 49-point thrashing at Gold Coast on Saturday.
Showing no sign of any Grand Final hangover after their dismantling by Geelong last year, Sydney was brilliant in a win of 16.14 (110) to 9.7 (61) as they became just the second defeated Grand Finalist in seven years to their opening won game.
Franklin scored two goals but may have a reason to answer after making a lot of contact with Collins in the last quarter. The Suns defender was sent off for a concussion, while the Swans superstar must now sweat on the MRO verdict.
The hit sparked discussion on Fox Footy, with Nick Dal Santo suggesting that Franklin could be in trouble given the AFL’s drive to eliminate concussions from the game.
“The AFL asks you to go for the football and its hands don’t reach for the ball,” said the former AFL star.
Lance Franklin could get in trouble with the Match Review Officer over a bump on Sam Collins
The Swans superstar hit Collins high, forcing the Suns defender to suffer a concussion early in the fourth quarter of Saturday night’s game
“Any headbutt is unfortunately the responsibility of the bumper.”
However, former Hawthorn great Dermott Brereton argued that Franklin had limited space to avoid crashing into Collins.
‘He [Franklin] committed to it,” he said.
‘Takes his eyes off the footy – it’s only a millisecond but he’s chasing the ball.’
Franklin, in his 19th and final season, set the tone for the Swans’ dominant win from the start, marking Collins’ head and blasting the opener high into the stands.
Then his set shot was straightened to send Sydney on his way, Franklin overtook Barry Hall to move into third on the club’s scoring list in a sparkling first 10 minutes.
“He was running around and it was very hot, humid and very slippery,” said Swans coach John Longmire.
‘But in that first fifteen minutes it was a bit drier and we were able to get some balls through […] he was able to be a real presence, but so were the others.
Franklin rallied Collins high at the start of the fourth quarter on Saturday
Longmire ignored the result in the context of their 2022 Grand Final loss, saying Rampe’s smarts shone in the slippery conditions, while his defensive work-rate set the tone.
“We talked about the grand final before Christmas, but it’s been six months so we’re moving on to next year,” he said.
Twelve different Swans kicked goals, but none managed to score more than two, while Rampe (25 touches on the ball) defied the slippery, damp conditions to score 20 disposals at half-time.
Chad Warner (30), Jake Lloyd (28) and Dylan Stephens (27) then took the lead.
That spread led to a teamwide display of pressure that spooked the Suns early, with 11 goals from turnovers Stuart Dew’s men killed.
The game was in fact over in 20 minutes, the Swans kicking the first five goals of the game and Franklin the opening couple.
Two late goals saved the Suns in the first quarter, then David Swallow’s snap swung through to begin the third semester and suddenly Gold Coast trailed only 15.
But that pressure was short-lived, Tom Papley kicking two highlights on the roll as part of a blitz either side of three-quarter time that ended the game.
Ben King was back for his first AFL game since 2021 and 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 started his 19th and final AFL season in style by scoring two goals against the Suns
He was one of 12 Swans players to kick a goal as Sydney beat Gold Coast by 49 points
He then risked his body to deflect a loose ball towards Ben Ainsworth for the first of his two goals in the last quarter.
Suns ruckman Jarrod Witts fought hard while Touk Miller (29 touches) and Matt Rowell (28) took until the third semester to get their hands on the ball with some authority.
“They were better than us, outnumbered us, putting their class through, and when we won it back, we were under more pressure than we dished out,” Dew said.
“We still have some work to do.”