Sport AFL Swans savour the return of Buddy’s very best

Swans savour the return of Buddy’s very best

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There was no repeat on Friday night at the MCG of Lance Franklin’s 70-metre goal from the previous round against Port Adelaide at the SCG.

However Franklin was still able to add another chapter to his rapidly growing list of heroic feats at his new club, as the ex-Hawk booted four crucial goals to guide Sydney to a 9.8 (62) to 7.9 (51) win over Richmond.

Two came from outside the 50-metre arc in the second term, and Franklin added two more in a tense last quarter.

It was Sydney’s ninth consecutive win, lifting the premiership favourites to a 10-3 record.

Coach John Longmire was rapt with the last-quarter efforts of teenagers Harry Cunningham and Zak Jones, who had nine disposals and six tackles as a second-half substitution in his debut game.

But there was no getting around the difference Franklin made to the contest.

Not even a heroic performance from Richmond fullback Alex Rance, who in the words of his coach Damien Hardwick battled manfully and won the battle, could keep Sydney’s $10 million glamour forward down for long enough.

Franklin is on track for a third Coleman Medal, with 35 goals including nine in the past two weeks.

“Lance kicked four straight in a low-scoring game. We kicked nine and he kicked four straight, so it helps,” Longmire said on Friday night.

“His contribution over the last couple of weeks has been very good.

“To kick four in a game like that, it makes a big difference.”

Defender Rhyce Shaw was subbed off at halftime with an ankle injury and is due to have scans on Sunday.

Longmire said it was difficult to tell if last week’s draining encounter with ladder leaders Port was the reason for his side’s lacklustre start, which allowed the Tigers to surge 26 points clear during the second term.

The Swans host Greater Western Sydney at the SCG on June 28, as Longmire’s men soak up an eight-day break after two successive six-day turnarounds.

“Last week was a tough game. Tonight was a tough game in its own way,” Longmire said.

“We didn’t bring our best in the first 10 minutes.

“We kicked seven of the last eight goals and ended up with 98 tackles and just willed our way over the line without playing well.”