Franklin inspires Sydney to AFL victory

Sydney have returned to form with a comprehensive 58-point AFL win over a lacklustre Essendon as Lance Franklin again haunted the Bombers.

LANCE FRANKLIN.
LANCE FRANKLIN. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images.

Sydney have bounced back from consecutive losses on their home deck to thump Essendon by 58 points at the SCG.

Superstar forward Lance Franklin again haunted the Bombers and was instrumental when the match was on the line to help set up the 14.21 (105) to 6.11 (47) victory on Saturday night.

Franklin ended the match with 2.4 but had as much impact with his all-round display and passed off several shots on goal when well within his range.

He has now tormented the Bombers with 77 goals - the most he has kicked against any AFL club.

It was a disappointing performance from the Bombers who were unable to toast captain Dyson Heppell's 200th match with a competitive effort.

Heppell finished with 23 disposals but didn't have enough teammates in support.

The Bombers were on the back foot from early in the contest but were hammered 54-30 for tackles while being beaten 137-124 in contested possessions.

Sydney co-captain Callum Mills (29 disposals, 13 tackles) helped set the tone and was well supported by Chad Warner (32 disposals) and Errol Gulden (26), while Tom Papley (21 touches, 2 goals) looked back to his best after a delayed start to the season.

The Bombers have now slumped to a 2-7 record and have much to do to return to finals for the second consecutive year after recovering from a 2-6 start last season.

While there were few highlights on the night for the Bombers, their in-form spearhead Peter Wright looked to inspire his team with a 65m bomb from a set shot late in the second term.

Darcy Parish (31 disposals) battled hard in the midfield and Andrew McGrath was busy across half-back (22) while Jordan Ridley (22) fought back in the second half to reduce Franklin's influence.

The Swans were looking for a fast start after leading at the first change only twice in the opening eight rounds, and a noticeable lift in intensity helped them win the tackle (12-5) and clearance (11-4) counts while taking a 20-point margin into quarter-time.

The strong opening was capped off by a rousing goal to Sam Wicks after the small forward got out the back of the Bombers' defence, almost stumbled with ball in hand until steadying just enough to slam it through on the run as the siren sounded.

The previous five matches between the teams were decided by an average of six points but the Swans all but ensured this would be a more comfortable margin with four goals to two in the second term as the Bombers were ultimately flattered by the final score.

After three consecutive matches at the SCG the Swans will hit the road to face Carlton on Friday night, while Essendon will look to get their season back on track against Richmond the following night.