Boot Buddy sets the tone as Swans hit Suns

Blossoming left foot Lance Franklin got Sydney running before Dane Rampe led the rampant Swans in a 49-point dominance of the Gold Coast to start the AFL season.

The visitors won 16.14 (110) 9.7 (61) at Heritage Bank Stadium on Saturday night, becoming only the second undefeated Grand Finalist in seven years to win their opening game.

12 Swans scored differently but none scored more than two goals, while Ramby (25 touches) braved the slick wet conditions to get 20 runs in the first half.

Chad Warner (30), Jake Lloyd (28) and Dylan Stephens (27) took the slack next.

The spread sparked a team-wide display of pressure that infuriated the Sun early on, with 11 goals on turnovers killing Stuart Dew’s men.

The contest was effectively over within 20 minutes, with the Pelicans scoring the game’s first five goals and Franklin the opening double.

Franklin may have a case to answer after making great connection with Sam Collins in the fourth quarter, but he started off brilliantly.

The 36-year-old, in his 19th and final season, tagged Collins’ header and jammed the opening high into the stands.

His shot then recovered to send Sydney on their way, and Franklin passed Barry Hall to move into third on the club’s goal-scoring chart in a scintillating first 10 minutes.

“He was moving around and it was really hot and humid,” Swans coach John Longmire said.

“But it was drier in that first quarter and we managed to pass some balls… He was able to be a real presence, but there were also the others.

Longmire dismissed the result in the context of their grand final loss in 2022, and said Ramby’s intelligence in the slippery conditions shone, while his defensive work set the tone.

“We talked about the Grand Final before Christmas, but it’s been six months, so we’ll continue next year,” he said.

Two late goals saved the Suns in the first quarter and then a snapped David Swallow chipped in to start the third period and suddenly the Gold Coast were only 15 behind.

But that pressure was short lived, with Tom Buble scoring twice on a feature ball as part of a blitz either side from three-quarter time that killed the contest.

Again in his first NFL game since 2021, Ben King had to wait until the third quarter for his first kick.

But out of pocket it was a long and straight to score a Suns goal in front of 13,648 fans.

He then placed his body on the goal line to deflect a loose ball towards Ben Ainsworth for his first of two goals in the final quarter.

Suns ruckman Jarrod Witts struggled mightily while it took Touk Miller (29 touches) and Matt Rowell (28) until the third period to get their hands on the ball on any authority.

“They overworked and outnumbered us, allowing their class to come around and when we got it back we were under more pressure than we could handle,” Dew said.

“We have a fair amount of work on it.”

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