It's not every day - ever, really - that you get to watch footballers the calibre of Jonathan Brown and Lance Franklin play on a suburban ground. The few thousand people who made it to the Moreton Bay complex in Brisbane's north were lured by the prospect.

Not that the coaches of the Brisbane Lions or Sydney Swans had an exhibition in mind before the season kicks off in earnest next week - both teams' key forward targets were withdrawn after half-time in Sydney's 27-point win.

Franklin kicked two goals in the half, gathering a loose ball at half forward, then showing too much agility and speed for Daniel Merrett as he wheeled on to his left foot and slotted the goal from outside 50 metres.

Brown was playing his first match since tearing his plantar fascia muscle in his foot in round 19 last year and was never likely to play more than a half. He barely touched the ball but it would be unfair to judge him harshly after such a long lay-off, opposed to one of the league's best defenders in Heath Grundy.

But Brown's impotence and the failure of Luke McGuane to have a significant impact underlines the Lions' worries in attack. If these players cannot stand up for them, you have to wonder where the goals are going to come from this season. An awful lot is being left to their midfielders.

Then again, that has been a problem for them for a few years, since Daniel Bradshaw left, Brendan Fevola came and went, and Brown suffered horrendous facial and other injuries. For the Swans, Franklin is simply the cream on an already rich cake.

The Lions were dominant for much of the first quarter of the match, despite kicking against a strong wind. Brent Moloney had brought his own ball to the game (and kicked the first goal), and captain Jed Adcock and Daniel Rich were prominent, but the longer the match went, the greater the Swans' class told, especially in defence.