He’s just another jumper to Luke Hodge but to footy fans, Lance Franklin’s reunion with Hawthorn is the stuff of AFL dreams.
Hawks fans want to boo, Swans fans want to gloat, and everyone else just wants to watch.
However, the AFL’s most keenly anticipated reunion of recent years could be postponed until later this season.
Franklin’s date against the Hawks is in severe doubt as he recovers from knee tendonitis.
The two most recent AFL premiers clash on Friday night at ANZ Stadium but Swans coach John Longmire conceded it might be without his $10 million man.
“I’ll have a chat about it again tomorrow at our medical meeting but we may not know any more until Wednesday’s training about whether he plays,” said Longmire.
“We would be expecting him to be able to do some training on Wednesday.”
While the Swans could give fellow big-man Kurt Tippett his first match of the season, Franklin’s loss would be a significant loss for the Swans.
Franklin led Hawthorn’s goalkicking for six straight years to 2012, winning two flags with the Hawks before announcing a move to Sydney in the days after last season’s grand final win.
It’s the highest profile departure since Gary Ablett left for Gold Coast three seasons ago but it seemed Hodge had well and truly moved on.
“As much as we say it and you probably don’t believe us, he’s another person in a Sydney jumper,” Hodge said.
“It’ll be no different whether it’s Tippett, Buddy, Goodesy down there.”
Both teams have plenty of injury concerns without considering the high profile defector.
Midfield star Sam Mitchell will miss eight weeks with a severe hamstring injury, while Brian Lake’s calf tweak will sit him out for a month.
The pair was injured in the Hawks’ record-setting 145 point defeat of St Kilda on Saturday.
Hodge said the loss of Mitchell, a four-time club champion, was made worse by his consistency.
“He’s been so durable for us over his career … to get such a serious injury it’s obviously disappointing for him and the club but we’ve been able to manage in the past,” Hodge said.
Without Lake, Hawthorn may be forced to draft returning key position player Ryan Schoenmakers into the defence, just one game after a year-long lay-off.
Schoenmakers was named at centre half-forward and kicked four goals in Saturday’s bloodbath until Lake’s injury required him to twiddle his thumbs in defence.
The Swans have also added Mike Pyke to their injury list, giving unheralded big-man Tom Derickx a chance to step up in the ruck.