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Lance Franklin on fire in all the wrong places

Wrong place, right time: Lance Franklin's latest wonder goal shouldn't have been.

Wrong place, right time: Lance Franklin's latest wonder goal shouldn't have been. Photo: Anthony Johnson

Lance Franklin's latest contender for goal of the year would not have happened had the prized Sydney recruit not been in the wrong place at the right time.

It has emerged Franklin's fourth goal on Saturday night, where he broke one tackle and was too quick for three other would-be tacklers, did not happen by design.

But so well is the dual Coleman medallist playing he is capable of producing breathtaking passages of play even when he is out of position.

"He was up at that stoppage when he kicked that goal, he probably shouldn't have been at that stoppage," quipped Swans coach John Longmire, who had earlier jested he would be able to find a flaw in Franklin's game during his review of the game.

"I was halfway through asking Henry Playfair, our forwards coach, what he was doing at that stoppage and I stopped. Just as well he kicked the goal."

And if there will be any stern words from the coach towards Franklin they will come via Playfair, Longmire joked.

Franklin's stunning form has been a key factor in the Swans' 10-game winning streak, which has taken them from as low as 13th on the ladder to third and only percentage separates them from ladder leader Hawthorn.

Port Adelaide's slip-up on Sunday in Showdown XXXVII has also blown wide open the race for a top-two berth and, with it, the right to host a final first up in September.

But the Swans are ignoring their ladder position as they prepare for their road trip to Perth to take on West Coast, who were narrowly beaten by the premiership fancy Fremantle.

Sydney's hot form has made life difficult for club great Ryan O'Keefe, whose hopes of adding to his 286-game tally are slimming by the week.

O'Keefe, a former Norm Smith medallist, club champion and All Australian, has not played a senior game since the Swans' humiliating loss to North Melbourne in mid-April.

Given youngsters Zak Jones and Jake Lloyd have since been blooded, O'Keefe appears well down the pecking order, but Longmire says the door has not been shut on the veteran or on youngsters Tom Mitchell and Gary Rohan.

"It's obviously been tough to this point because our players have been playing pretty well and been pretty consistent," he said. "What happens from here I'm unsure.

"Things do change pretty quickly. I'm sure Jake Lloyd wasn't expecting to get a senior call-up and he's come in and been able to hold his spot. You don't expect to have Rhyce Shaw or Daniel Hannebery miss a couple of weeks.

"Those opportunities always present themselves. That's why you've got to be in the best possible form you can because those opportunities will no doubt come between now and the end of the season."

There will be no rush to bring back Shaw and Hannebery from ankle injuries, Longmire says. Hannebery is now walking unaided but Shaw remains on crutches.

"They're going along pretty well. We're a bit mindful we don't want to start them too early because you don't want to get them too early and retweak their ankles and face being back a couple of weeks.

"They won't be doing too much this week just yet, we're making sure they're both healed as much as possible."

With no fresh injuries from the weekend, the key selection issue for the Swans is whether Tom Derickx returns to share the ruck duties with Mike Pyke against the Eagles, who boast the high-class ruck pair of Dean Cox and Nic Naitanui.

5 comments so far

  • I'm still not sure that we didn't pay too much for a single player, but watching Franklin at the ground on Saturday I have to say that he may well be playing the best footy of his career. Certainly very high quality indeed. Early on I was really disappointed in his defence, 1% and second efforts but two months later all those things were there, as well as the flashy stuff. He seems to have settled in very well with his teammates, which was another concern early on. All in all he's playing footy like a Blood, which is the highest compliment I can give.

    Date and time
    June 30, 2014, 8:20PM
    • I reckon you can put that down to his fitness levels. early in the season he wasn't in peak shape and it showed. getting on the track seems to be doing wonders for both his game and the team cohesion. Long may it continue!!

      Date and time
      July 01, 2014, 10:01AM
    • Having been a Hawks member my entire life, I still love watching Buddy tear opponents up. However, I have to disagree with your notion that he is currently playing the best footy of his career. I suspect you're only noticing it now because he wears your colours, and you would not have seen nearly enough of his highlights while in the mighty brown and gold. Having said that, it's obvious that he still has years left in his tank and I'm going to enjoy cheering on big Bud for the rest of his career. Until he matches up against the Hawks.

      That guy
      the internet
      Date and time
      July 01, 2014, 10:34AM
  • I have looked at the Swans for many years, and have been impressed with their recruitment, list management, coaching and their commitment to play for each other. I regard them the most professional, in a professional sport in the country. They do it without a high profile media identity president windbagging, whining and ranting like a petulant child when his lolly bag is not full. The same said president whining about Brisbane being over compensated when his side lost to them in consecutive grand finals, now screaming publicly for compensation, not at all professional. Well done Sydney for knowing the rules and how best to play within them. A very good organization, little wonder Buddy wanted in, he is in the right place at the right time.

    Date and time
    July 01, 2014, 11:59AM
    • +1

      Date and time
      July 01, 2014, 5:12PM

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