A dirty week had a painful end for Sydney star Lance Franklin, who suffered a knee injury in his side’s 31-point AFL win over Melbourne.
Three nights after his much-publicised car crash, Franklin had minimal impact at the MCG before he was subbed out in the third term of the 9.15 (69) to 5.8 (38) victory.
It was surely the highest-profile and most expensive substitution since the AFL introduced the rule, with Franklin handing the red vest to two-time Brownlow Medallist Adam Goodes.
This was Goodes’ first game since he suffered a knee injury in round 13 last season.
He slotted straight back into senior football without any trouble and kicked a last-quarter goal.
Franklin was gifted a goal in the first term from a questionable free kick, but otherwise he struggled against Demons defender Tom McDonald.
The star forward also received a blow to the head from Alex Georgiou in a scrappy game that featured several other incidents off the ball.
This was Franklin’s first game at the MCG since he helped Hawthorn win last year’s grand final.
He then went to the Swans in a monster free agency deal and has been under intense scrutiny since.
That attention reached fever pitch after Wednesday night, when he crashed the car of his model girlfriend Jesinta Campbell.
Police gave Franklin a traffic infringement notice for the accident, where four parked cars were damaged but no-one was injured.
While Franklin only had seven disposals against the Demons, team-mate Dan Hannebery was clearly best afield.
Hannebery had 13 clearances and 34 disposals as he relished the tough, contested play.
Melbourne tried to shut down the Swans, with only one goal scored in the second term.
The Demons could not be faulted for their workrate and they are obviously a developing side.
But Sydney are a class above the Demons and they kicked five goals to three in the second half for their third win of the year.
Midfielders Nathan and Matt Jones were best for the Demons.
Christian Salem was subbed on in the third term for his senior debut and last year’s No.9 draft pick delighted Melbourne fans when he kicked a goal in the last quarter.