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Buddy Franklin will never match Tony Lockett, says Paul Roos

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Paul Roos says he no longer has an emotional attachment to Sydney and believes Lance Franklin will not match the impact Tony Lockett had on the game in the city.

Roos, who on Saturday comes up against the Swans for the first time since his successful reign at the club ended in 2010, doubts any Sydney player will match the feats of the AFL's record goalkicker.

The former Swans coach, who is now calling the shots at Melbourne, said Lockett was "probably the most important figure in the Swans' history".

When Lockett arrived in 1995, along with Roos, the Swans were coming off three consecutive wooden spoons and struggling to draw crowds, but that soon changed.

Four years later, when Lockett retired for the first time, the Swans had become regular finalists and their membership had grown nearly tenfold.

The Swans' membership has steadily increased since, hitting record levels this year after Franklin's controversial signing and the team's strong form in the past two years under John Longmire.


"Plugger's time was different – you're talking about a club that had nothing back then, a bottom club," Roos said.

"This is nothing against Buddy, it's more what Plugger did. I don't think anyone could possibly do for Sydney what Plugger did, just for where the club was at. He kicked his 1300th goal at the SCG. No one will every repeat what Plugger did.

"There have been a lot of big figures, but from when he was there and what he did for that footy club, I don't think there has been a bigger person in the history of the Swans than Tony Lockett."

Roos would not comment on whether the Swans should have signed Franklin, saying he had not thought about the issue at all as he was working for another club.

That was also the reason why Roos, who holds the record for the most games coached at the Swans, said he no longer had any emotional connection to the club that he led to a drought-breaking flag in 2005.

"I enjoyed my time there, loved being there and loved working for the academy," Roos said. "The club's got nothing to do with me now whatsoever – I don't consume myself with anything to do with the Swans.

"Once you move on from a coaching point of view there's no emotional attachment to the previous footy club at all. I'm pleased with what I did, proud of it, but I'm emotionally invested here [at Melbourne].

"What happens when I finish here, is it Sydney, Melbourne or Fitzroy – I don't know, I can't answer that question.

"I loved my time at Fitzroy, at Sydney, but you can't be half in a footy team. What happens at Sydney has no more bearing to what happens at West Coast or St Kilda or Adelaide – they're all exactly the same."

Roos said coaching against the Swans for the first time would not be anywhere near as difficult as his first game against Fitzroy, where he won five best and fairest awards and played 269 games.

"Absolutely, that was really tough being against your old team of 13 years," Roos said.

"I think as coaches when you get there on Saturday, our job's done, it's up to the players. As much as we think we can have a big impact on game day you don't really.

"As a player, it's more emotional than as a coach.

"When I left Fitzroy and played for Sydney [I was] definitely very, very nervous going into that game. You wanted to do well, that was an emotional time.

"This week has been completely different. You don't really coach against another team, if you know what I mean.

"There hasn't been much of an emotional component at all, it's about trying to get the team right."

Roos said he had moved on from his dispute with former Swans chairman Richard Colless, who said Roos was jeopardising his legacy at the club if he was to poach their academy players. That did not eventuate and Colless said the pair has since made up.

"That was one of the worst times in my career what he said about me, certainly bitterly disappointing," Roos said.

"I've moved on, that's all I'll say about that. I'm sure at some point I'll catch up with Richard, as I'll do with a lot of people in Sydney."

Of his former team, Roos said they played a faster style under Longmire, but had still retained the "non-negotiables", such as hardness, tackling and discipline.

Although Melbourne are not expected to contend for the finals, Roos said he was enjoying being back in the coach's' box.

Roos believes the Demons have improved but admitted he was impatient for success.

"It's hard for me because my expectations are high, you want to get there as quick as you can," he said.

"I think we're making ground, probably not as quick as I'd like."