Sport AFL Rift with Buddy Franklin is rubbish, insists Swans coach

Rift with Buddy Franklin is rubbish, insists Swans coach

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Reports emerged after the Swans’ shock 32-point loss to the GWS Giants suggesting Franklin and veteran Ryan O’Keefe were involved in a fight at training that resulted in the latter’s initial omission from the AFL season opener.

But Longmire, speaking on Monday for the first time since the claims were made, said there was no ill feeling between the pair.

Longmire said he had “no idea” why the rumours had started but admitted he was prepared for the club to be under the spotlight more since signing Franklin to a nine-year, $10 million deal.

“Lance has had a high profile wherever he’s gone,” Longmire said.

“He’s lived with that in Melbourne for a long period of time so we understood the focus that would be on him.

Sydney coach John Longmire.
Sydney coach John Longmire.

“Lance is a player who’s played nine seasons at Hawthorn and knows what being a successful player is and being part of a successful club is.

“That’s what we know and that’s what we’ll concentrate on.

“He wasn’t our concern really last week after the GWS loss.”

Young midfield star Dan Hannebery is another teammate of Franklin who has been caught up in the hype surrounding the former Hawks star.

Hannebery was involved in a recent car accident driving Franklin’s car with reports he was being led astray.

But Longmire said that wasn’t the case and it wasn’t an issue that he felt he had to specifically address.

“Dan has been a terrific player for this club and we continue to have conversations with all our players as you’d expect us to do,” he said.

“But Dan’s fine. He one of our hardest trainers and one of our fittest players and he just didn’t play well last week.”

Franklin’s first serious outing in red and white produced the modest return of one goal and seven disposals.

But Longmire said Swans fans needed to be patient as Franklin would produce the goods as the season continued.

“He’s played one game for us,” he said.

“I said before that game that as the season progresses he’ll get better and that’s what we expect as he gets used to his teammates and gets used to playing with them.

“But the responsibility isn’t just with Lance Franklin – the responsibility is with every player in our team to play the best football we can.”

Longmire on Monday agreed a two-year contract extension with the Swans to the end of the 2017 season.

The premiership-winning coach said “it wasn’t a hard decision to make”.

The Swans prepare to face Collingwood this weekend and Longmire confirmed both Adam Goodes and Kurt Tippett would be sidelined with knee injuries but Kieren Jack (back) had been training well and was expected to play.