Report: Franklin crashes Eagles home party with 8 goals

Finally for all of us Swans supporters, the year and day had finally arrived, and what a fantastic venue to play the first game of the 2018 Season.

Superstar Sydney Swans forward Lance Franklin spoiled the Eagles home ground party with 8 spectacular goals, 5 in the first half, leading the Swans to a 29-point victory at the brand new Perth Stadium.

A human wrecking ball, he wreaked havoc on the Eagles defence ad nauseam and seemingly had the ball on a string.

The first quarter saw the Swans on top early in the contested possession, with Kennedy picking up where he left off last season, leading the way for the younger Swans.

Lloyd finally kicked his first goal of the night, and the first ever goal at the stadium, but it was a battle of defences with both teams seemingly caught in an arm wrestle.

Buddy was in everything and seemed to be comfortable in the big open spaces of the new ground.

As the quarter moved the momentum swings were small but evident as the Eagles press continued to stifle the swans attack.

A hard fought and statistically equal first term, ended with the Swans five points in front, and Buddy kicking 3 of his own.

https://twitter.com/AFL/status/977831319773241344

The Eagles started the second quarter with a bang, grabbing the first goal, and the lead, and threatened to press ahead.

Predictably, the never-say-die Swans hit back, opening opening up their forward line and getting more numbers behind the ball.

The Swans spring-boarded off the half back line, their movement slick and direct when it needed to be, while Smith Rampe and Melican held firm under pressure.

Goals started to flow with Buddy again in the thick of it and looking unstoppable, and the Swans quickly took charge of the game, lead brilliantly by Heeney, Hewett and Kennedy.

The Swans spread the ball from the back half, seemingly with ease, looking comfortable on the ball and picked up many possessions, while the Eagles simply couldn't lock the ball down.

The Eagles didn't have any answers and the Swans went into half-time 26 points up in front of a parochial, but shell-shocked crowd.

https://twitter.com/AFL/status/977846986186489856

Rain started teeming down early in the third quarter and the opening 10 minutes was a struggle each way.

Both teams combined to kick eight behinds in a row before the Eagles kicked their first of the quarter.

The Eagles seemed to lack the systems to break the stingy defence, but as the quarter progressed, even after Franklin's 7th goal, the tide slowly turned.

With a huge inside 50 difference, the Eagles finally found their way to the goals, with fifty thousand plus fans roaring them on.

In the slippery conditions, the Eagles finished the quarter with a furry of goals, two in the last minute, Naitanui instrumental in both, reducing the margin to 5 points.

The fourth quarter was as frenetic as the first three, the Swans grabbing early control with the first two goals.

The game settled into an arm wrestle, both teams going goal-for-goal, before vice-captain Luke Parker kicked a miracle goal out of mid-air, topping off a 30-plus possession game.

https://twitter.com/AFL/status/977860384861270016

It was a tough fought game of AFL football, frenetic from the first whistle, played under immense finals-like pressure - a fantastic way to start the 2018 season with a 29 point win.

Hayward impressed in his second season, picked up 21 disposals and two late goals, while Buddy was the pick of the bunch with 8 goals.

The contribution of all players at various times was what impressed me the most in slippery conditions.

NEXT UP
The Swans return home and face the red-hot Port Adelaide Power, who defeated Sydney last year by 28 points in Round 1 at the SCG. Port Adelaide currently sit 2nd on the ladder while the Swans sit 5th.

WEST COAST 4.2 5.3 10.7 13.8 (86)
SYDNEY 5.1 9.5 11.6 18.7 (115)

INJURIES:
Sam Reid (hamstring) replaced in the selected side by Will Hayward

REPORTS:
Nil

Best:
Franklin, Parker, Kennedy, Smith, Rampe, Heeney, Mills

Goals:
Sydney: Franklin 8, Hayward 2, Lloyd, Towers, Heeney, Jack, Jones, Hewett, Kennedy, Parker

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James Walton

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