Sport AFL How long until Sydney boils Lance?
Updated:

How long until Sydney boils Lance?

Lance Franklin
Share
Twitter Facebook Reddit Pinterest Email

It’s the 2022 AFL Grand Final, and Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin is being given the customary open-topped ute send-off round the ‘G, before the Wellington Saints and GWS Giants duke it out for a second successive season.

In his final year as a Swan, Buddy played mentor to a flock of young cygnets and snagged a couple of goals a game as Sydney finished with nine wins, comfortably outside the eight, but with good signs for the year ahead.

It’s nice to think it could end that way for Franklin, but more likely it’ll be a grim-faced press conference, long before 2020, with John Longmire explaining why they finally had to cut loose their over-priced and over-exposed recruit.

Getty
Bud at the races. Photo: Getty

Franklin, who looks set to return to the Sydney side for Friday night’s clash against his former club Hawthorn, seems an impending calamity.

Part of Buddy’s thinking in picking Sydney was no doubt to escape the fishbowl he found himself dealing with in Melbourne, but the man from Dowerin has built his own in New South Wales.

From the car accidents (Buddy clearly was a graduate of the Leon Spinks Driving Academy), the blondes, the seizure, the knee, the blondes, the nightclubs – one gets the impression things won’t end well for Lance Franklin.

Part of Buddy’s thinking in picking Sydney was no doubt to escape the fishbowl he found himself dealing with in Melbourne, but the man from Dowerin has built his own in New South Wales.

The Swans have a reputation as a kind of reform school for troubled footy souls – Tony Lockett, Barry Hall (for a spell) and more recently Rhyce Shaw all benefitted from a move north of the border.

Hall and Shaw thrived in the selfless, ‘bloods’ culture typified by former skipper Brett Kirk, under coach Paul Roos. The Swans are poster boys for redemption, but in Franklin they may have bitten off more than they can chew.

The Swans of that era are dying out fast – Adam Goodes’ medical marvel of a body is finally starting to succumb, while other leaders like Jarrad McVeigh (29) and Ryan O’Keefe (33) are seeing their control wane.

Instead, we here reports of Buddy exercising his influence over the younger brigade of Swans – with 23-year-old Dan Hannebery forced to defend his relationship with Franklin after crashing his car and a dip in form.

Getty
Faulty towers: Franklin and Tippett. Photo: Getty

Goodes and O’Keefe will be gone in a couple of years, and McVeigh won’t be far behind.

That will leave men like Franklin and Kurt Tippett as club leaders. While the word ‘mercenary’ may be going too far, the term ‘selfless’ in connection with that pair could only be used to describe their knack of drawing multiple defenders away from a contest.

That it is the Swans, a team built on that selfless, team-first ethic, that now plays host to two of the most selfish commodities in the game, is ironic.

I don’t know Tippett or Franklin personally, but the decisions both have made leave me doubting the fibre within each to lead.

That it is the Swans, a team built on that selfless, team-first ethic, that now plays host to two of the most selfish commodities in the game, is ironic.

We should get to see the high-priced double act in action for the first time at ANZ Stadium on Friday.

Tippett, at least, seems to be a little more sensible than his partner in goal-kicking crime.

Franklin, if he has any clue at all, should keep his head down and his bum up.

If he doesn’t, the name ‘Buddy’ could end up alongside ‘Capper’ as the punch-line in bad jokes.

Comments
View Comments