Sport AFL Franklin looms as thorn in Essendon’s side

Franklin looms as thorn in Essendon’s side

Lance Franklin Adam Goodes
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Much has changed since Lance Franklin’s move to the SCG, but not his love of playing against Essendon.

But Essendon utility Brendon Goddard insists his AFL side can’t afford to be too Franklin focused when they tackle the ladder-leading Swans on Friday night in Sydney.

History suggests otherwise.

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In his productive stint at Hawthorn, Franklin was at his damaging best against the Bombers – tallying 12 Brownlow votes and averaging five goals from 10 matches.

In round nine this season Franklin donned the red and white for the first time at Etihad Stadium and normal transmission resumed.

The 27-year-old booted five goals to be a leading contender for best-on-ground honours in a comfortable 50-point win for the Swans.

“When something’s not working, you want to try something different,” Goddard said on Thursday at the launch of the club’s Purple Bombers initiative aimed at making a stand against homophobia.

“But we’ve got some key objectives and areas we need to focus on, not only him.

“You’ve got a formidable team but their midfield is obviously a standout as well.”

For the first time in three and a half months, the Swans are coming off a loss.

Goddard noted the Swans’ defeat against Hawthorn last Saturday night highlighted few deficiencies.

But he suggested the Hawks pressure was something the Bombers would need to replicate if they’re to cause an upset and post a fourth consecutive win.

“A lot of it (stopping Franklin) comes through delivery from the mids and how our pressure is around the ball,” Goddard said.

“They set their game up from the contest, which allows Buddy to essentially put on a show.

“We’ll do our best to try to minimise his impact and free ball through the midfield.”

The Swans are coming off a six-day break following their bruising epic against Hawthorn, while the Bombers are well rested after having last weekend off.

“It’s much of a muchness … we all deal with six-day breaks and get ourselves up,” Goddard said of any advantage.

Goddard said his seventh-placed team likely needed four wins from the final five rounds to make the finals, and that recent conjecture over James Hird’s place at the club was not a distraction.

“You look at the last 18 months and that’s only a little drop in the ocean compared to what the boys have had to deal with,” he said.


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