Second-year Swans sensation Isaac Heeney’s versatility and budding combination with Lance Franklin has earned him plaudits from Sydney coach John Longmire after their 81-point home win over Essendon.
Master forward Franklin and his eager apprentice Heeney combined for 11 goals, as the Swans shored up an AFL top-three spot with a 20.15 (135) to 7.12 (54) victory at the SCG on Saturday.
Franklin joined Bill Mohr in equal 16th spot on the VFL-AFL goal-kicking list on 735 as he booted six majors.
Heeney, who turned 20 on Thursday, left this teens behind in style, bagging the first five-goal haul of his career.
Essendon briefly threatened to spring an upset when they kicked four goals either side of quarter-time to overturn an 18-point deficit and lead by six points.
Sydney slammed on 12 of the next 13 goals and 13 to two in the second half to give themselves an unassailable lead and a handy percentage booster.
“Isaac was really good all game. He was terrific for four quarters,” Swans coach John Longmire said.
“Lance just got better as the game went. They are smart players. They work well together.”
Franklin has kicked 29 in seven games this season and has only once logged fewer than four in a match.
His haul on Saturday included one from 60 metres and another when he brushed off two defenders and somehow got his foot to the ball when falling under pressure from Michael Hartley.
It was Heeney, who has also spent time in midfield this season, who sparked an otherwise lacklustre Swans side in the first half.
Heeney finished with 22 touches, nine marks, 11 contested possessions and three score assists.
“We’re happy with (Heeney’s) season to date and it’s not just about kicking the goals – he competes so hard,” Longmire said of Heeney.
“He’s very versatile. That’s probably where he’s leapt ahead of where I thought he’d be,” Longmire said.
Sydney garnered 40 more contested possessions, 12 more clearances and had 21 more inside 50 entries.
“Our intensity and the way we played the game in the first half was just about as good as we’ve played all year, so that was really promising,” Worsfold said.
“The guys were upbeat at halftime and ready for the contest, but Sydney to their credit took away any opportunity we had to continue to play that way.”
While Heeney and Franklin provided plenty of firepower, the usual suspects supplied the on-ball grunt that set up many of their opportunities.
Josh Kennedy tallied 40 touches and 11 clearances, Tom Mitchell 37 possessions, and Dan Hannebery 31.
David Zaharakis led Essendon with 33 touches and was their only multiple goal-kicker, booting two, but Worsfold felt his players felt the pinch coming off successive six-day breaks.
The Bombers lost Jonathan Simpkin with a hamstring injury, while Sydney’s Dan Robinson had a shoulder problem.