Lance Franklin had a quiet start to his life as a Sydney Swan, but his mere presence was enough to draw an unprecedented crowd to the AFL club’s intra-squad hitout on Wednesday.
Around 1000 people packed into leafy Lakeside Oval across from the SCG, to watch the former Hawthorn dual premiership player have his first hitout.
Wearing a blue guernsey, Franklin accumulated several touches and had six shots for goal, but didn’t register a major.
He was clearly not in top condition, having had an interrupted pre-season due to a quadriceps issue.
“I’m still probably another couple of games away from getting fully fit,” Franklin said.
Asked about Franklin, Sydney coach John Longmire said “He played 62 minutes and got plenty of the footy and if he had have kicked straight probably would have nailed a few.’
Longmire said Franklin may not play in Sydney’s first NAB Cup hitout next week.
The powerful forward took one flying mark to pouch a kick from Brandon Jack, but screwed the shot and had to settle for a behind. He was monstered in a tackle by Sydney co-captain Kieren Jack, a player around 20 kilos lighter and 20 centimetres smaller.
“It was a big tackle,” Franklin said.
“It was a rugby tackle, it was a big hit but I knew it was coming ,
“I sort of opened myself up a but and he just went bang.”
Youngsters Xavier Richards and Aiir Aliir played the first and second quarters on Franklin respectively.
Sudanese youngster Aliir, who represented both Queensland and WA at age group levels drew praise from both Franklin and Longmire.
All-Australian key back Ted Richards was on the prize recruit for most of the second half, with Dane Rampe also getting some time on Franklin.
Speedster Lewis Jetta, forward Sam Reid, defender Rhyce Shaw and utility Lewis Roberts-Thomson, all of who missed big chunks of last season, all got playing time.
Most of the Swans stars had a run with the exception of the recuperating Adam Goodes, Kurt Tippett and Alex Johnson.
Of the Swans’ younger brigade, Aliir and ruckmen Toby Nankervis, Sam Naismith and Tom Derick all made a positive impression.