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Match report: Buddy's eight sinks Eagles

Highlights: West Coast v Sydney The Eagles and Swans clash in round one

SUPERSTAR Lance Franklin has spoiled West Coast's Optus Stadium opening celebrations, stealing the show with an eight-goal haul to inspire Sydney to a hard-earned 29-point victory on Sunday.

There was an intense, finals-like atmosphere to the first AFL clash at Perth's new home of football and fittingly it was WA-raised Franklin who took centre stage.

Full match coverage and stats

The champion forward was in an unstoppable mood, slotting five goals before half-time in a clear signal he is primed for another stellar campaign.

Although the Swans lost important tall Sam Reid (hamstring tightness) before the match Franklin's brilliance more than covered his absence in the 18.7 (115) to 13.8 (86) triumph.

The four-time Coleman medallist's showcase upstaged Nic Naitanui's exhilarating comeback after 19 months on the sidelines recovering from his ruptured ACL.

Despite playing restricted minutes, the talismanic Eagles ruckman still exerted a massive influence on West Coast's engine room and looked capable of lifting his side to an against-the-odds win during the third quarter.

Five talking points: West Coast v Sydney

Naitanui (12 disposals, 33 hit-outs) brought the house down after nailing Nick Smith in a tackle and snapping truly, before Mark LeCras (three goals) reduced the margin to five points at the final change.

WATCH: Nic Nat's back with a bang

But whenever the Eagles threatened to run over the top in the last quarter Sydney steadied.

Luke Parker (32 disposals) was outstanding for the Swans and his audacious acrobatic scissor kick sealed the victory, while young gun Isaac Heeney (26, one) stood tall early.

WATCH: Parker's ridiculous Goal of the Year contender

The victory on hostile territory will come as a relief to John Longmire's men after last year's 0-6 start.

Although West Coast couldn't get the points, there were positives for Adam Simpson's outfit.

A maligned midfield stepped up, with Luke Shuey, Andrew Gaff, Dom Sheed and Elliot Yeo all playing important roles.

West Coast looked immeasurably more threatening with Naitanui in the ruck and hunting around the packs, even though the battle-hardened Swans still won contested ball (160-138).

However, it was a promising sign that West Coast – spurred on by a state record football crowd of 53,553 – was able to address supply issues (60-52 inside 50s) that plagued the line-up last season.

But without spearhead Josh Kennedy, the Eagles couldn't kick a winning score with an inexperienced attack, although Jack Darling chimed in with three majors.

Liam Ryan (one goal) was the most impressive of West Coast's three debutants, while Jake Waterman slotted a clutch late major and Daniel Venables showed glimpses.

Naitanui was welcomed back in a scuffle with the Swans before the opening bounce and the crowd roared their approval when he pushed Zak Jones to the ground.

But Sydney had the better of the early exchanges, with Jake Lloyd (29 disposals) becoming the answer to a trivia question with the first goal at Optus Stadium.

Franklin loomed large from the word go and put his stamp on the contest with three sublime first-quarter goals.

LeCras booted the Eagles' first major at their new home and added another before the break to keep his side in touch trailing by just five points.

But Franklin's fourth – a brilliant bender across his body – reignited the Swans, who piled on four goals to one to storm to a 26-point half-time advantage.

The Swans looked ready to run away with it when Franklin's seventh opened up a 30-point break midway through the third term, and the superstar bagged his eighth in the final term despite heavy attention.

WATCH: All of Buddy's eight goals

"You look at the goals he kicked and you can't deny they were fantastic goals and important goals," coach John Longmire said post-match

"He was probably outnumbered four or five times in that last quarter and halved the contest and kept the ball in our front half.  

"Those situations are so critical - almost as important as the eight goals." 

While it wasn't the opening to their new era the Eagles hoped, there were promising signs that the transitioning outfit will be competitive in 2018.

"The crowd certainly turned up and played their part and I thought our boys played their part to a certain point," Simpson said post-match

"Buddy, we couldn't stop him, we tried a lot of different things throughout the night.

"But I thought we played with a real spirit as well.

"Overall we're not happy that we lost but we'll take a lot from the spirit in which we played."

WATCH: Tensions boil over at quarter-time

MEDICAL ROOM
West Coast: The Eagles appeared to get through without any injury worries. 

Sydney: Lost big man Sam Reid to hamstring tightness before the game but also appeared to escape unscathed and could welcome back star midfielder Dan Hannebery (calf) next round.  

NEXT UP
The Swans return home for a showdown with the red-hot Power, which defeated Sydney by 28 points at the SCG in round one last year. West Coast hits the road to Etihad Stadium to take on a Bulldogs line-up licking its wounds after an 82-point thumping from the Giants.

WEST COAST   4.2   5.3   10.7   13.8 (86)
SYDNEY           5.1   9.5   11.6   18.7 (115)

GOALS
West Coast: LeCras 3, Darling 3, Hurn, Masten, Duggan, Ryan, Naitanui, Waterman, Yeo
Sydney: Franklin 8, Hayward 2, Lloyd, Towers, Heeney, Jack, Jones, Hewett, Kennedy, Parker, 

BEST 
West Coast: Yeo, Shuey, Gaff, Jetta, LeCras, Naitanui
Sydney: Franklin, Parker, Lloyd, Kennedy, Heeney, Jones 

INJURIES
West Coast: 
Nil
Sydney: 
Sam Reid (hamstring) replaced in the selected side by Will Hayward

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Foot, Margetts, Dalgleish

Official crowd: 53,553 at Optus Stadium