The Sydney Swans $13.5 million investment in forwards Lance Franklin and Kurt Tippett seemed to finally pay off last night at ANZ Statium when the Swannies beat the Hawks by 19 points, 15.17 (107) to 13.10 (88).
With both stars overcoming injuries to play, the untried multi-million-dollar duo delivered the goods in their first game together, against Franklin’s former club.
The Swans had an electric start, leading 3.3 to nil in just over 10 minutes in a game that had a surprising number of kicks smothered.
Tippett kicked four, and Franklin, two vital final quarter goals to seal the win. Tippett was impressive in his first game of the season and had Hawks Kyle Cheney and Josh Gibson struggling to keep up, kicking two for two to start, setting up a hand first quarter lead.
Franklin took a lot longer to earn his keep, giving away six frees and kicking seven straight behinds – he also awaits a match review to see if he’s facing the judiciary for a high hit in the first half. Despite what seemed like a severe bout of nerves, that at once stage saw Franklin pass off the ball from a set shot inside the 50, his mere presence was enough to keep the Hawks defenders pre-occupied, opening up space for the likes of Luke Parker and Nick Malceski, who booted two goals each.
It wasn’t until the final quarter that Franklin kicked his first goal, on his eight attempt, to halt Hawthorn’s charge after they’d taken the lead for the first time in the match just before three-quarter time.
Franklin’s second goal was an opportunistic dribble but it gave the Swans a 10-point buffer and began to win over a crowd that on occasion vigorously booed the former Hawk.
It was a game that said showed the Swans are once again in finals contention after a slow start to the season, handing the top-of-the-table Hawks only their second loss this year. The Swans now sit fourth on the ladder, and facing third-placed Geelong in three weeks after Essendon next week, then a bye.