Promoted as a match that was a most likely Grand Final preview, the Sydney Swans versus Hawthorn contest at the MCG in Round 18 lived up to expectations. A big crowd of 72,000 saw a pulsating game of Aussie Rules Football, with both teams showing they have what it takes to lift the Premiership Cup in September.
Lance “Buddy” Franklin - the ex-Hawthorn gun who went north to Sydney on a reported nine year ten million dollar deal - was being reminded of his defection as many of the Hawk supporters let out a mighty “boo” every time he touched the football. In the first quarter, there was a lot of booing as Franklin started the game in fine form, setting up two goals and marking with authority. At the opposite end of the MCG, 200-gamer Jarryd Roughead was providing a strong target for the Hawks. Roughead had the first goal on the board within a minute of the opening siren, before Franklin replied after a couple of misses. Hawthorn had more scoring chances in an uncompromising first quarter. However their accuracy deserted them as they took a four point lead into quarter time that could have been greater given the balance of play.