Sydney 0.5.7 (37) West Coast 0.10.12 (72)
Swans dive against Eagles
Despite Lance Franklin’s debut for Sydney, the West Coast Eagles defeat the Swans by 35 points in Blacktown on Thursday night.PT1M34S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-33my1 620 349 February 28, 2014
The fact that Lance Franklin made a quietly encouraging competitive debut for the Swans in a NAB Challenge match at Blacktown on Thursday night was much less of a story than that told by the scoreboard, as last year’s preliminary finalists were soundly thrashed 10.12.72 to 5.7.37 by West Coast Eagles.
Franklin ranged around in attack, if only rarely at full forward, as the ball did often make it that far and coach John Longmire wanted the star recruit to get “miles in the legs”.
His numbers were meek in the unfavourable conditions with six touches, three tackles and just one point but Franklin’s mobility, presence and effort were noticeable to most of the 3045 fans who braved the drizzle.
Quiet start: Lance Franklin. Photo: Anthony Johnson
|View Match Statistics|
|Players||Rohan (0.3.1), Towers (0.1.1), Reid (0.1.0), Bird (0.0.1), Franklin (0.0.1), Malceski (0.0.1), Robinson (0.0.1)||Scorers||Sinclair (0.2.1), Colledge (0.2.0), Darling (0.1.1), Masten (0.1.1), McInnes (0.1.1), Selwood (0.1.1), Cripps (0.1.0), Wellingham (0.1.0), Hill (0.0.2), Bennell (0.0.1), Gaff (0.0.1), Hutchings (0.0.1), Lycett (0.0.1), Yeo (0.0.1)|
The same could be said for most of the Swans, particularly Ryan O’Keefe and Craig Bird in the midfield and Gary Rohan, who finished with three goals. But there appears to be lots of structural and skill work ahead for the squad before round one.
“We just didn’t win the ball … It’s the most basic of basics, and we didn’t do it,” Longmire said.
“We just didn’t win the ball, didn’t use the ball, so we didn’t give ourselves opportunities. The best thing that comes out of from our perspective was that some players get some game time into them.”
Sydney Swans vs West Coast Eagles
Lance Franklin competes for the ball. Photo: Anthony Johnson
Asked if using Franklin between full forward, half forward and on the wing was a taste of how he might be used during the season or just an attempt to build fitness, Longmire said: “It was just about getting miles in the legs tonight. It’s a bit hard to get miles in the legs if the ball’s not coming your way. So we put him further up the ground and on the wing at different times. Hopefully we get more inside 50s next week.
“He was running fine, pressuring and competing well. He was fine that way. We just didn’t get enough of the ball forward. We need to get a bit more clean ball forward and start to win the contest, which we didn’t do tonight.”
Another concern will be the health of midfielder Luke Parker, who was subbed after getting a poke in the eye, which caused bleeding and required him to go to hospital.
Sydney held a one point advantage after the first break and led 3.4.22 to 2.6.18 at half time.
However, though they headed the scoreboard, they trailed tellingly in clearances, inside 50s and contested possessions against a keen young Eagles side.
Those numbers were emphatically converted by West Coast in a third quarter rampage in which they loaded up 6.4 unanswered to blow the game out. The Swans won the final term by a point but looked a little stunned at the end.
Sydney was without Kieren Jack, Jarrad McVeigh, Josh Kennedy and Ted Richards, Ben McGlynn as well as Adam Goodes and Kurt Tippett, who are on reduced programs. But, the Eagles also rested several first-line players, including Darren Glass, Matt Priddis, Josh Kennedy and star ruckmen Dean Cox and Nic Naitanui.
Meanwhile, the Swans welcomed Lewis Jetta, Lewis Roberts-Thomson and Mike Pyke and the Eagles welcomed Andrew Gaff and gave opportunities to several unheralded squad members.
Under new coach Adam Simpson and after a big first-up NAB Challenge win over Fremantle, West Coast are looking up for an improved season.
They controlled general play in the first quarter but kicked just 1.5 for the term. Franklin had few opportunities, grabbing his marks high up the ground as the Swans struggled to get the ball into scoring territory.
They got busier towards the end of the term, with Rohan kicking his first and Dean Towers scoring.
In the second term, Franklin scored his first point in red and white when he marked and shot a behind from 52 metres out.
Jetta was warmly applauded when he joined play, but Sydney fell behind when Jamie Cripps nailed a free kick.
Sydney’s best moment came when Sam Reid snapped a great goal after slippery lead up work by Jetta.
The third term determined the outcome, with the Eagles’ high work rate leading to a scoring spree, including to Scott Selwood, Jack Darling and Fraser McInnes. A magical curling snap by Sharrod Wellingham stretched the lead to a match high 42 points.
Exciting draftee Aliir Aliir received a warm welcome in the fourth term, when Franklin was subbed out with about 15 minutes remaining.
Longmire said he would play his “strongest possible team next week” in a practice match against Brisbane.
‘‘To break open in the third quarter was pleasing, but it was the first half I was impressed with,’’ Eagles coach Adam Simpson said.‘‘Just our ability to hunt the footy and our intent.
‘‘We probably missed our senior spine, so our younger players filled the void really well.’’
Asked how Brown contained Franklin, he joked ‘‘trade secrets."
Simpson reported no injuries, while Longmire said Parker was getting his eye checked out at a hospital and wasn’t sure of the extent of the issue.
- with AAP