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Buddy Franklin will never match Tony Lockett, says Paul Roos

A Demon now: Paul Roos at Melbourne training.

A Demon now: Paul Roos at Melbourne training. Photo: Getty Images

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".

Breaking the drought: Paul Roos and Barry Hall hold the premiership trophy aloft in 2005.

Breaking the drought: Paul Roos and Barry Hall hold the premiership trophy aloft in 2005. Photo: Getty Images

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."

12 comments so far

  • "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."

    Is it just me? Does anyone else find this depressing? Maybe I'm in the minority. I had the same feeling when Don Scott talked about Hawthorn on Open Mike. I understand that the game's professional and super skillful these days, but we've lost just as much as we've gained.

    While I'm at it, can we stop calling the game an "industry" and matches a "product"?

    Still, I'll keep following.

    Date and time
    April 26, 2014, 3:16AM
    • It was a different time, I don't think you can easily compare now and nearly 20 years ago - with any degree of balance.
      Plugger was pretty much a 'stand alone' star - and, Jeez, what a star.
      Buddy comes into a team with a lot of other stars - he is not (I think) expected to have the same role or impact as Plugger.
      Comparing different epochs and different circumstances - always fraught.
      For me, the Buddy experiment is way too early to be judged as a success or failure - it is a work in progress.

      Howe Synnott
      Date and time
      April 26, 2014, 7:46AM
      • Roos is talking about, the impact Plugger had at the swans, not who is the better player. He is saying Plugger helped build membership, whereas now the Swans have built a core amount of supporters who turn up more due to both love of AFL, the Swans and enjoy the success. Of this club rather than having The Buddy factor. Mind you I would always regard Locket as a much better player than Buddy.

        Go Blues
        Date and time
        April 26, 2014, 3:05PM
      • and if it hadn't been for the AFL intent on making the Sydney Swans successful to beat rugby the Saints would have retained Plugger and won the 1997 premiership. It is indeed a shame that the corporatisation of the game has such an influence on results.

        Saint Matthew
        Date and time
        April 26, 2014, 3:42PM
    • Plugger made his comeback attempt in 2002 at the same age as Buddy will be when his contract with Sydney expires (36 years old!).

      Paul G
      Date and time
      April 26, 2014, 8:12AM
      • I think it more what Paul does not say that is more interesting.

        I wonder if we will ever know why the Swans signed Buddy for 10 years, and got rid off players like White and Mumford.

        As a Swans supporter and watching the way these guys are playing for their new clubs, why were they let go for Buddy? Just does not make any sense, and it now appears that his old club and players were not that unhappy to see him leave. I would not be upset if he did not play for the Swans again.

        I believe that Buddy and the Swans will part company in mid 2015. There will be something in the contract for this to happen if Buddy does not improve both on and off the field.

        Date and time
        April 26, 2014, 8:47AM
        • I think you're largely right , Tc , except for the bits about Buddy's contract , which are pure speculation. And while Hawthorn was preparing for Buddy's departure and is not greatly missed , this long-time Hawk supporter wonders why they ever agreed to release Josh Kennedy and Ben McGlynn. Swans doing pretty well from that .

          rural NSW
          Date and time
          April 26, 2014, 10:42AM
        • Tc, I don't think you really follow the Swans. You may support them, possibly, but I don't think you follow them. Jesse White never really lived up to his 'potential' at the Swans (except for the last 6 months of his contract. I always thought that JW had more to give and that the Swans were never going to get that from him. A move to another club was always going to happen. The Swans tried for seasons, but only succeeded last season. As for Mummy, I agree that it was a shame, but he was the unfortunate tall that was out of contract. As for the other kids, i.e. Jed Lamb, Andrejs Everitt, they were only fringe best.
          I think that Buddy has been rather impressive so far this season. He has not lit the world on fire, but none of the Swans players have (except for last week). He has been one of the better players this season, in a team that has looked tired and lacked the skill level required.
          As for Roos, I think that it is bad taste to make the comments that he has. The Swans and he had a rather tight bond and I would have thought that would have meant a little more. I personally think that Roos is still a little dirty for being asked to take a 50% pay cut at the Swans Academy and then being called out for trying to poach a academy prospect (Lloyd Perris) to the Dees when he got the job. It didn't help him that the parents players dobbed him in.

          Date and time
          April 26, 2014, 11:15AM
        • Daniel, Hawks have been building their forward line for years to have many scoring options, even before they knew buddy would leave. While I always say give me the 100 Goal a year forward any day, fact is This Hawks forward setup may even as a unit be better than when you had Dunstall, Brereton etc. Shut 1,2 or 3 Goal scorers down at the Hawks and they still have others to score. Like when Ablett left Geelong and they covered him so to has this Hawks team not missed Buddy. Amazing

          Go Blues
          Date and time
          April 26, 2014, 3:11PM
        • Lj. Roos is Coach of another Club. His thoughts and loyalties must lay with Melbournes players, the club its supporters. He has a job to do and is paid for it. You have an ex Carlton player at the Swans right now who Im annoyed we let go, how would you feel if he said he missed Carlton etc?. Right now his focus is to be a Swans player and be part of their next Premiership. As it should be

          Go Blues
          Date and time
          April 26, 2014, 3:17PM

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