The Eddie Betts Show has returned.
But Lewis Jetta was hardly sighted in the NAB Challenge first round, which included a nightmare start by AFL grand finalists West Coast, who copped a 100-point humbling by the Betts-inspired Crows in Adelaide.
Eagles assistant Justin Longmuir was not reaching for the panic button after fielding just seven players from their 2015 grand final team on Sunday.
But few would have predicted such a quiet Eagles debut from former Swan Jetta, who managed just three touches.
“We expect him to take a little bit of time to get to know the players he’s working with now, get to know our system of play,” Longmuir said.
“He’ll probably play three games in the pre-season.
“I’m sure come round one he’ll be much more familiar with his surroundings and have a bigger impact.”
Betts didn’t waste time making a statement.
He booted five goals and a nine-point supergoal while racking up 18 touches as Adelaide coasted to a 2.20.10 (148) to 0.7.6 (48) win at Unley Oval.
“We’ve planned to play our best side in the last two weeks of the pre-season,” Longmuir said.
“We’ve done a lot of work on changing momentum and hopefully our more senior players will take a lot more ownership than what happened today.”
Lance “Buddy” Franklin also made a quiet return as Sydney outlasted an undermanned Port Adelaide by 21 points at Blacktown on Saturday.
In his first game since round 23 after battling mental health issues, the triple Coleman Medallist started the match in the centre square and spent time in the midfield before moving forward.
He gathered just six touches, one goal and a mark in three quarters.
“Buddy was fine. It was good to see him out there again and it’s good to get a run around,” acting Sydney coach Jarrad McVeigh said.
Meanwhile, Fremantle’s Hayden Ballantyne and Aaron Sandilands appear in strife after the full-strength Dockers’ 60-point win over a no-name Richmond in Mandurah.
Ballantyne was caught using his phone in the change rooms during the game on Friday – a practice outlawed under AFL laws.
He also suffered a second-quarter hamstring injury.
Sandilands may be in trouble for a third-quarter bump on Ben Griffiths.
Richmond forward Ty Vickery came off early with a head knock.
St Kilda missed a chance to catch a glimpse of life after Nick Riewoldt in their 44-point loss to North Melbourne at Wangaratta.
The man expected to replace Riewoldt in the forward line – former No.1 draft pick Paddy McCartin – lasted just 10 minutes on Saturday due to hamstring tightness.
Three-time premiers Hawthorn kick-started their NAB Challenge with a 21-point win against 2015 wooden-spooners Carlton at Launceston on Thursday night.
And Tom Lynch kicked three goals to help Gold Coast beat Brisbane by 25 points at Burpengary on Sunday.