LANCE Franklin booted eight goals and played a hand in a number of others in Sydney's 29-point win over West Coast, but coach John Longmire was most pleased by the superstar's ability to "halve contests".
Franklin was in vintage form from the outset of the first AFL match at Optus Stadium. He tackled with aggression, worked hard to provide an outlet down the field and – particularly when isolated inside 50 – looked near unstoppable in one-on-one battles.
But with the Eagles mounting a serious charge in the second half, it was Franklin's efforts in bringing the ball to ground that drew praise from Longmire.
"You look at the goals he kicked and you can't deny they were fantastic goals and important goals, but his ability to be able to halve the contest … he was probably outnumbered four or five times in the last quarter, and just halved the contest and kept the ball in (our) front half," Longmire said.
"Those situations are just so critical – almost as important as the eight goals.
"He just had an all-round game. Whether it was offensively (or) pressure-wise, he was in pretty reasonable nick."
Franklin's performance was even more critical following the pre-game withdrawal of tall forward Sam Reid with hamstring tightness – and the absence of Gary Rohan, who stayed in Sydney with his pregnant wife.
"We knew going in this week he was in pretty reasonable touch and with Reid and (Gary Rohan) out of the team, he needed to be because he was our only up-front target, height-wise," Longmire said.
"We had to make do and improvise in that situation, and you can improvise a bit better when you've got him up front."
"He's just come off the back of a couple of minor clean-ups in the off-season and looked after himself really and got himself in really good condition.
"He's really enjoying his footy.
Longmire was pleased his side lifted its intensity and continued to attack in the final quarter after the Eagles closed to within five points at the final change.
That would be as close as the hosts got as the Swans booted seven goals in the final term to run away with the victory.
"You've got to have some resilience in those situations," Longmire said.
"At three-quarter time, the momentum certainly was their way.
"We spoke about making sure we win the game – we don't save the game from that point on. There's no point trying to save the game.
"The players were sensational in that last quarter. Sometimes you've just got to find a way to win and they did it, and then some."
In christening Perth's prized new stadium, Sydney also had to overcome a parochial 53,553-strong home crowd, which found voice during the Eagles' third-quarter surge.
Star midfielder Luke Parker said the Swans would significantly benefit from winning away from home following last year's disastrous 0-6 start.
"When they get that run on, it really starts erupting and the atmosphere is pretty intimidating," Parker told AFL.com.au.
"It's hard to win over here when the crowd's against you, so to do that early on in the season gives us a lot of confidence."
Reid and midfielder Dan Hannebery are expected to return from injury against Port Adelaide at the SCG next Sunday, while Rohan's position will be monitored on a week-by-week basis.