The inaugural outing for one of the AFL sides that calls the new, gleaming palace of Optus Stadium home ground did not provide an auspicious beginning, as the West Coast Eagles had to endure the sight of Lance Franklin breaking in the new ground by kicking eight goals to propel the Sydney Swans to a 115 – 86 victory.
If it is any consolation, at least the Eagles are not the Fremantle Dockers. The Dockers, at least, can claim that the Adelaide Oval is hostile ground in their 110 – 60 loss to Port.
Back to the new place in Perth, the statistics were nicely balanced; it was simply the outcome that left a little to be desired for the home side.
Franklin accounted for 49 of the Swans’ 115 points, but the Swans had majors from Heeney, two from Hayward, one each from Jones, Kennedy, Jack, Towers, Parker Hewett and Lloyd, so Franklin did not completely hog the glory.
Franklin’s tally was not only the best in the new stadium or the best in the new season, but is also the best to open an AFL season in the 21st century.
Think eight is impressive?
John Coleman kicked 13 at the Brisbane Showground in 1952. That record may persist in perpetuity, as that was the first and only match at the Brisbane Showgrounds venue.
Franklin put on a clinic, scoring from just about every conceivable scenario. He scored from long range, he scored close in, he scored everywhere in between.
The 53,000 plus who showed up for the game could not be too dismayed, since Franklin is a native of Western Australia.
Commentator David King said, on Fox Footy during the match, “We know it’s a team game, but when you’ve got Lance Franklin, the team works for Lance. There isn’t a defender in the competition that can stop that.”
Lance, aka Buddy, also notched five tackles, six inside 50s and 21 disposals.