A week after Chris Judd’s return ended in immediate disaster, fellow two-time AFL Brownlow Medallist Adam Goodes had a much smoother comeback.
Goodes, like Judd, started as a substitute for the first time in his career.
But Judd only lasted a few minutes before injuring his hamstring last weekend in Carlton’s win over Western Bulldogs.
Goodes nearly kicked a goal for Sydney immediately after handing the red vest to fellow star Lance Franklin on Saturday night at the MCG.
It was Goodes’ first senior game since injuring his knee in round 13 last year, but he slotted back into the AFL without any trouble.
“I’ve been working so hard in the last 10 months to get back and I knew fitness-wise, I was ready to go,” Goodes told the club website.
“To come out and have a little bit of an impact … was great.”
Goodes was subbed into the game when Franklin hobbled off with a knee injury.
As soon as he ran onto the ground, Rhyce Shaw set him up with a handball and Goodes’ running shot at goal just failed to go through.
“When I got my opportunity, I didn’t think it was going to be a dream start like it was to get a handball receive off (Rhyce Shaw),” he said.
“Unfortunately I couldn’t get the distance from 50.”
His successful comeback and Dan Hannebery’s superb performance in the midfield were the individual highlights for the Swans in a scrappy match.
More importantly, it meant Sydney have back-to-back wins for the first time this season and have squared their ledger at 3-3.
“It was a bit of a battle, but I’d rather win like that than lose in a pretty contest,” coach John Longmire said.
“It’s important to get back to the 3-3.
“We can still play better than what we did tonight and we’ll need to, but it was good to get the two wins in a row.”
In more good news for Sydney, key position players Sam Reid and Kurt Tippett are also close to returning from injury.
“He (Reid) trained really well last week … I’d assume he’ll be right to go this week,” Hannebery told Channel Seven’s Game Day.