New colours: Lance Franklin in action during an intra-club hitout. Photo: Anthony Johnson
If Lance Franklin expected that moving to Sydney would allow him peace and space compared with the suffocating world of football-mad Melbourne, he was given a reminder that, on the field at least, he is going to draw a huge amount of attention in his adopted city.
Rusted-on Swans fans might wish it was the club's array of stars that drew several-hundred - some were saying more than 2000 - people to the team's intra-club hitout at Lakeside Oval on Wednesday evening.
If it were Collingwood, Geelong or even Franklin's old club Hawthorn, a crowd at, effectively, a training session would be par for the course. But at the Swans? They'd never seen anything like this.
Transmission towers loomed high in the air and sent back live crosses from half-a-dozen or so reporters. A news chopper took footage of the swelling crowd, three or four deep from the fence surrounding the training ground.
The smell from a nearby sausage sizzle wafted across the Swans' membership tent, a merchandise table and stalls of local teams looking to sign up children. Even Cyggy the Swans mascot was there. All the big guns were deployed.
They were there to see Franklin and his new teammates go near-full tilt as part of their preparation for the pre-season clashes against GWS next week and, later, West Coast and Brisbane.
A slightly more attack-loaded side of Blues featuring the likes of Franklin, Josh Kennedy, Jarrad McVeigh, Nick Malceski and Sam Reid took on a Reds side including gun midfielders Kieren Jack, Dan Hannebery and Ryan O'Keefe, ruckman Mike Pyke and up-and-comers such as Tom Mitchell and Brandon Jack.
Franklin was the main drawcard but he didn't have it his way, landing only three behinds for the match in an understandably rusty performance after a limited pre-season. Tagged by Xavier Richards early on, Franklin saw plenty of ball alongside Pyke and Reid but missed a set shot after a strong contested mark. Instead, Kennedy and Pyke put on the points as the Blues took a 16-13 lead.
At the start of the second quarter draftee Aliir Aliir had the job on the multimillion-dollar man, before Jack went to him. The Blues went further ahead in the term, with their goals including a welcome straight shot from Lewis Roberts-Thomson, who hasn't played senior football since round four last year.
By half-time, the Blues led 41 to 21, but the Red team stormed back to take the lead in the third, including a trio of elegant grabs and goals by ruckman Toby Nankervis to make it 54-43.
Lewis Jetta came on in the fourth quarter, completing the return of several Swans stars.
Franklin took a grab early in the fourth quarter but missed again and finished on the bench, before coach John Longmire called a halt to the match a few minutes early.