Sydney Swans priming superstar Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin for AFL milestone

Anna HarringtonAAP
Lance Franklin has been at training for Sydney early this year.
Camera IconLance Franklin has been at training for Sydney early this year. Credit: Mark Evans/via AFL Photos

Lance Franklin is just five goals away from 1000 AFL majors and Sydney are confident they’ll have the forward primed for his tilt at the magical milestone come the AFL season.

After injury wiped out his 2020, Franklin bounced back with 51 goals in 18 games this year to close on becoming the sixth man to reach four figures.

“He’s been training really well up until now so we’ve just got to make sure we manage him from here on in to get him to that round one to be feeling as good as he possibly can,” coach John Longmire said at pre-season training on Monday.

“Whenever it happens it’ll be a wonderful thing for him.

“It’s not the focus of the team at the moment, as you’d imagine, but it’s a wonderful achievement, a personal achievement that I don’t know whether it’ll actually be seen again in this day and age.”

Franklin has mimicked the strong off-season workload that held him in good stead in 2021, but Longmire was wary of overloading the 34-year-old.

“He’s looking great at the present time, but he’s not going to do everything,” Longmire said.

“As long as he gets to the line feeling good about himself, he’s done the preparation, we’ll be pleased with that.”

Meanwhile Longmire said former No.1 pick Paddy McCartin, whose career at St Kilda was ruined by concussions, could “have a role to play” at Sydney.

The 25-year-old, whose younger brother Tom plays for Sydney, is training with the Swans ahead of the pre-season supplemental selection period

“We’ll see how the next month or so goes before we’re able to do our list lodgement but he’s been showing a bit,” he said.

“The main thing for Paddy has been coming back after a significant amount out of the game and getting some confidence back and he’s been able to do that slowly but surely.

“We’ll wait and see what the new year brings but he’s looking pretty positive at the moment, he’s actually in pretty good shape.”

Draftees Angus Sheldrick and Corey Warner remain in Western Australia and will link up with their teammates for the first time in early January

“They’re training with a club over there at the moment and just doing some ball work and some running and they’re doing it together, which is terrific,” Longmire said.

“Great to have them here but realistically it’s not something we want, to take Christmas away from them and their families.”

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