A sharp and happy Lance Franklin is a chance of playing Sydney’s AFL season opener against the Western Bulldogs on Saturday, with coach John Longmire suggesting the Swans will field some new faces.
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Sydney debutant Brandon Jack is on an even faster track to AFL success than brother Kieren.
Brandon will debut for the Swans on Saturday against Adelaide, roughly six months after being taken in the rookie draft.
It’s a condensed version of the path taken by Kieren, Swans co-captain and 2010 club best and fairest, who was rookie listed in 2005 before making his AFL debut in 2007.
Both were latecomers to the code, having grown up in the household of Balmain rugby league legend Garry Jack.
While Kieren made the switch from league to Australian rules football at age 12, Brandon was 15 when he first picked up a Sherrin.
“I definitely think I’ve been building up to it, but to come this soon is a bit of a shock for me. But I’m ready for it,” Brandon said.
Not only has Brandon earned his AFL debut quicker, he is physically faster than his older brother.
“He would say he’s a bit quicker than Kieren, I’m not sure whether Kieren would agree with that,” Swans coach John Longmire said on Friday.
“Brandon is only 19 years of age and just starting his journey as an AFL footballer, so he’s still feeling his way a little bit and he’s got a lot to learn.
“But he’s a really smart kid and a good athlete.”
It’s Brandon’s pace that has made the biggest impression on Longmire.
“With Lewis Jetta out of the team this week, we needed some speed and we thought that his best asset is his pace,” he said.
Chris Yard, who coached Brandon at Pennant Hills last year in-between the youngster’s stints in the Swans’ reserves and NSW under-18 side, agrees.
“He’s got the jets on. He knows where to find the goals, so we certainly played him off a wing or half-forward flank,” Yard said.
“His pace helped us get deep into the finals last year.
“In the prelim final, he showed some express speed and burned a couple off … he stepped up that day.”
Jack’s family will be on hand for his debut in Adelaide.
“They couldn’t get on the plane fast enough,” Brandon told the Swans’ website.
“I haven’t really gotten advice from dad yet but I just talked to him briefly on the phone and told him that I hold the record now for the youngest in the family to make their debut.
“So I’ve finally got one over him.”