Hawthorn are questioning whether Sydney’s untried million dollar forwards pairing of ex-Hawk Lance Franklin and Kurt Tippett can make an immediate impact in their AFL showdown on Friday night.
The former Hawthorn star is set to line up for his first match against his old team at ANZ Stadium, with the game also the first together for the Swans dream duo.
Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson played down the “Buddy” Franklin factor and said that he would be treated like any of the other Swans players.
“We’re searching to play against 22 red and white jumpers tomorrow night,” Clarkson said.
“If Bud’s there to tackle or spoil we will try to negate his influence on the game but he’s going to be no more important than any other Sydney player.
“The way we play him isn’t going to be different to any other opponent.”
Clarkson said there was no bad blood about the way Franklin was secretly recruited and that he counted Swans coach John Longmire as one of his best friends.
Franklin has been battling knee tendonitis while Tippett has overcome back and rib issues to play his first match of the year giving Sydney a formidable forward line of Franklin, Tippett, Adam Goodes and Sam Reid.
Clarkson expected the line-up to fire at some stage, but fired a subtle shot by questioning whether it would be in game one.
“The intriguing part about it is that we don’t know and neither does Sydney.
“Franklin and Tippett have never played together before so it could mean what we get is something that’s unbelievable or it could be that they really battle with it.
“They’re going to be formidable at some point of time with those two big guys up there; is that going to be tomorrow night, we hope not.”
Clarkson was waiting on confirmation of the Sydney team before finalising his own line-up but thought Franklin’s good mate defender Josh Gibson would likely play on Tippett.
He said that the versatile Ryan Schoenmakers, who kicked four goals last round in his return from a knee reconstruction, would move to the back end to cover the injury to Brian Lake.