Sydney Swans superstar Lance Franklin has kicked his 1000th career goal and ignited scenes of delirious adulation as thousands of adoring fans swarmed onto the ground.
Play in the final quarter was suspended for more than 30 minutes as fans poured over the fence to hug and hail the champion, who is only the sixth VFL/AFL player to reach the magic four-figure career total.
Franklin engraved his name in the history books with his fourth goal, which came in the closing minutes of what had been billed as the Swans’ blockbuster against Geelong.
With Sydney in control throughout, aided by the Cats’ slipshod kicking for goal, hopes of a Friday night thriller went unfulfilled.
But the Swans’ 107 -77 victory seemed a minor sideshow as all eyes followed Franklin’s every move.
The 35-year-old joins Tony Lockett (1360 goals), Gordon Coventry (1299), Jason Dunstall (1254), Doug Wade (1057) and Gary Ablett senior (1031) in the exclusive club.
The SCG immediately became a sea of red-and-white as spectators streamed onto the field, the first of the pitch invaders leaping onto the grass even before Franklin’s shot had gone through the goals.
The crowd surrounding Franklin grew as the Foo Fighters’ classic My Hero played over the speakers.
The mod was so thick around the star that Franklin could barely move, inching his way amid back-slappers to the players’ race while all hope of restarting the contest had to wait for the adoring mob to be cleared from the arena.
Four, three, two…
Franklin started the match with 996 goals to his name before edging closer to the mark by nailing a set-shot from the pocket just before quarter-time.
He had a quiet second term before being handed a soft free kick midway through the third quarter that he converted from about 20 metres out.
Franklin’s third goal, a powerful kick from 50 metres directly in front, saw him raise his hands in delight as the ball sailed through.
The historic 1000th goal came late in the last quarter as he put through a set shot after being set-up by fellow Swan Chad Warner.
Geelong young gun Jack Henry, who is seven centimetres shorter than Franklin, was saddled with the daunting task of controlling the Swans hero for most of the night.
Henry tired, got to give him that, but Franklin was an unstoppable force as he marched towards his date with destiny.
$10 million dollar man
Franklin is in the final season of his nine-year, $10 million mega deal with Sydney. He has left the door open to play on in 2023.
That would give him the perfect opportunity to overtake both Ablett and Wade to become the fourth most-prolific goalkicker in the sport’s history.
Franklin kicked 580 goals in 182 games with Hawthorn between 2005 and 2013, then went on to add 420 more with the Swans from 2014.
He was at the centre of the AFL’s last crowd invasion back in 2008, when he kicked his 100th goal of the season in the Hawks’ final home-and-away match.
Four-time Hawthorn premiership coach Alastair Clarkson, who left the Hawks last year after 17 seasons in charge, was at the SCG to watch his former star and was even spotted wearing a Swans scarf.