Sydney’s $10 million man Lance Franklin has broken his goal drought for the Swans in a 27-point AFL practice match win over the Brisbane Lions.
In what has the makings of a trivia night question, $10 million man Lance Franklin picked an unlikely location to kick his first goal for Sydney in a 12.14 (86) to 8.11 (59) AFL practice match win over Brisbane on Saturday.
A world away from Sydney, “Buddy” Franklin brought the vocal crowd at AFL outpost Burpengary, 40km north of Brisbane, to their feet when he finally broke his goal-scoring duck for the Swans.
But for a moment, the 6000-plus crowd appeared to have also witnessed Sydney’s worst nightmare when Franklin was rested from the second half with a knee complaint.
However, Swans coach John Longmire said Franklin – who finished with two goals and eight touches – would play next Saturday’s season opener against Greater Western Sydney.
“He’s fine for next week. It’s just a knee cork. He was just a bit sore when he cooled down at halftime … so we just decided to finish him up,” he said.
“He looked in reasonable touch but he was just a bit sore in the (halftime) warm-ups.”
In contrast, Lions veteran forward Jonathan Brown is in doubt for their round-one clash against Hawthorn on March 22 after making little impact in his first-half cameo.
The ex-skipper managed just two touches in his official return from a serious foot injury before being rested.
“He pulled up fine. He got half a hitout to see how his progression is going,” Lions coach Justin Leppitsch said.
“We will have a big discussion on whether he is ready for that (season opener) or one or two (weeks) after – we just have to do the right thing for his body.”
Franklin took 20 minutes before finally evading Daniel Merrett and kicking a 40m running goal.
Still, it was nothing compared to the fruitless wait the Sydney faithful endured in Franklin’s goalless, six-touch debut last week against West Coast at Blacktown.
Franklin notched goal No.2 when he marked strongly and converted from 20m.
But it was co-captain Jarrad McVeigh who provided the Swans’ spark with 34 disposals.
Franklin’s cameo added star power but Sydney still overpowered Brisbane on Saturday without the likes of captain Adam Goodes (knee, expected round-four return) and Kurt Tippett (knee, round two).
Leppitsch appears to have been left with plenty of homework before their daunting season opener in Launceston.
Brown was always going to be eased back in after the foot injury cut short his 2013 campaign in August.
However, Leppitsch would be forgiven for fast-tracking Brown’s recovery after the Lions again offered few options in the forward line against relentless Swans defensive pressure.
In another headache, midfielder Claye Beams suffered a first-half foot injury.