Lance Franklin hones his kicking skills during a training session at the SCG on Tuesday. Photo: Getty Images
Lance Franklin has already become Sydney's bankable multimillionaire after only 12 games yet he says he is yet to become fully accustomed to John Longmire's game plan.
In an ominous sign for the rest of the competition, Franklin says he is still learning what is expected of him from the Swans coaching staff, though his numbers suggest he clearly has a good grasp of his job description.
After a tumultuous start to his career in the red and white, Franklin has become the most dependable cog in the Swans' star-studded forward line.
Since turning the corner in round five against Fremantle, Franklin has kicked 28 goals in his past eight games, a haul bettered only by Richmond's Jack Riewoldt, whose tally was swollen by a bag of 11 against Greater Western Sydney.
Franklin also ranks second for the number of scoring shots in that period and his set-shot conversion rate of 68.6 per cent is his best since 2006.
To put that in perspective, Matthew Lloyd, who is regarded as one of the best shots for goal in the past 15 years, had a similar accuracy rate in his decorated career.
Franklin's hot run of form, however, has come midway through his first season as a Swan and in a forward line that has been largely unsettled due to injury.
The Swans have had the big four of Franklin, Kurt Tippett, Adam Goodes and Sam Reid together in only four games this season, while the trio of Franklin, Goodes and Reid has featured six times.
After nine years at Hawthorn, Franklin said he had "slowly" learnt the Swans' game plan.
"It's taken a little while," Franklin said. "The first three or four games it took me a bit to get used to our set-ups and the way we want to go about it.
"I'm still learning as we go. I just keep learning off the coaches and take it all in. There's no doubt it will come in the next few weeks."
Franklin is not quite at his career-best form of 2012, according to Champion Data, but he said his ability to train consistently had helped him improve after a slow start.
He is spending more time up the ground this year, winning 61 per cent of his possessions in the midfield – the highest proportion since his debut year of 2005.
However, he has been stationed closer to goal in Tippett's absence, as seen the past fortnight against Port Adelaide and Richmond.
Tippett is set to return this week from a knee injury after training strongly with the Swans' main group on Tuesday.
"It does help having Tippo back in the side. I think anyone would love a Tippett in their side – he's such a big presence and always takes a defender with him," Franklin said.
Franklin attracted headlines for his deeds off the field early in the season but now it is his football that has him in the news as he has been a key reason behind the Swans' embarking on a nine-game winning streak.
He said he was enjoying life in Sydney and refused to criticise the media for their scrutiny of him, which Swans chairman Andrew Pridham believed had bordered on bullying earlier this year.
"You can write what you want, it is what it is. I'm just here to play football and win as many games as possible, that's it really," Franklin said.
Franklin's arrival in Sydney has also coincided with the Swans posting a record membership tally, passing the 39,000 mark.
The Swans' average crowds at the SCG have also increased, up to 32,388, the highest since 1997 during the Tony Lockett era and after the club's first grand final appearance since relocating to Sydney. There is also a noticeable buzz in the crowd whenever Franklin gets near the ball.
"Living in Melbourne for so many years, going to the MCG, there's split supporters. Here everyone is going for the one club," Franklin said. "I'm absolutely loving it up here at the moment."
Franklin said the Swans had let themselves down in a narrow win against Richmond last week but were looking to atone against the Giants, against whom they suffered a shock loss in round one.