Dumbfounding Franklin hyperbole just an old man yelling at cloud

Justin Mitchell Roar Rookie

By Justin Mitchell, Justin Mitchell is a Roar Rookie

 , ,

24 Have your say

    Life as a Sydney Swans supporter is full of ups and downs. Nothing is more certain – not even taxes – than Victorian media bias against the Harbourside club.

    Victorian centric football media won’t talk about the Swans unless they’re defying the odds, or mucking it up big time. The irony wasn’t missed in the wash-up of Friday night’s loss to Geelong, with all and sundry taking a swing at the Swans and their superstar players.

    Friday night’s performance was as surprising as it was dumbfounding. The Swans lead the week with the campaign #defytheodds, the team banner displaying the same slogan. Instead of defying the odds with a win, they defied the odds with their worst performance of the year. Alanis Morissette with her 10 thousand spoons has nothing on the Swans.

    It’s hardly surprising the usual suspects are critiquing Lance Franklin’s worth based on a handful of finals. It’s the same useless mouth pieces that continue to get airtime when most people stopped paying any attention to them. Unfortunately they’re also former AFL greats, club legends and loved, if not revered icons of the sport. Like Cameron Ling’s nauseating commentary, you just can’t avoid it.

    Dermott Brereton recently stuck his fork into the Franklin discussion, adding to the growing list of yearly articles by various journalists. His recent effort – albeit a radio interview – added more noise to the growing cacophony of narrow-minded criticism.

    “Given what they have paid for the players they have attracted there… they got close, but you would probably say (2017 is) a failure,” the five-time premiership star told SEN’s The Run Home.

    “I mean Lance’s contract of $10 million, I would think they would have expected to win a premiership or two in that era. He’s been fantastic and they haven’t landed one with him yet. It’s starting to mount up a little bit on them.”

    Lance Franklin of the Sydney Swans

    (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

    Gary Ablett and Chris Judd lived through the same pressure through their big money moves, and while Judd was better suited to deal with it, and Carlton did a superb job of protecting him, Ablett and Franklin have struggled with the expectations. But not as much as people would think.

    Judd and Ablett won their second Brownlow medals after moving clubs, have won their clubs’ best and fairest and collected more All Australian guernseys. Their legacy at both clubs are set – they’ll be future AFL legends.

    The same goes for Franklin. A three-time All Australian and two-time Coleman medalist since moving to the Swans and boasting countless match-winning performances, arguably better than he was at Hawthorn. Throw in two grand final appearances as well, and it’s not all bad.

    Dermott is hardly the first AFL personality to stick the fork in, following the well-trodden path of Lloyd, Lyon and many former players in the media. The one thing they steadfastly refuse to budge on is his “worth”.

    They see a club willing to spend $10.3 million over 9 years to win premierships. They don’t see the impact he’s had on the club and football in New South Wales.

    Which is why the staunch support from Gerard Healy, Steven Johnson and Chris Judd is so polarising in an industry that thrives on negative criticism. Johnson, the only current footballer from the three in his final season, was the first to write about Buddy’s positive influence on AFL in Sydney and New South Wales.

    “There haven’t been many more watchable players than Buddy in the 150 or more years the game has been played. He hasn’t just captivated the avid AFL followers; he is one of the key reasons why football in Sydney is going from strength to strength,” Johnson wrote.

    “He drags people to the game up there just to say they have seen him in action, much the same was as Winx does on the racetracks.

    “Sydney’s aggressive, expensive decision to recruit Buddy — as a 26-year-old at the end of the 2013 season — was a football decision but they also knew he would put bums on seats — which he has.

    “It’s fair to say Sydney’s huge investment in Buddy — which was questioned by some at the time because of the nine-year contract — has been justified both on and off the field.”

    Gerard Healy echoed similar sentiments when he spoke on Fox Footy’s On The Couch on Monday night.

    “It seems to be almost a rush to the phone or the typewriter as soon as the Swans get knocked out in a final,” Healy told Fox Footy’s On The Couch.

    “The Buddy deal, irrespective of a premiership, to me is a great success already.

    “He’s going to have to play another three or four or five years to make sure that the average that they’re paying him doesn’t blowout. (But) they’ve got a record number of memberships, they had a record number of people at the SCG (against Essendon) — Buddy Franklin makes people talk about football in Sydney.

    “We’re spending 30-odd million dollars out in the west to get people to talk about footy — Buddy’s doing it for one (million dollars).”

    Lance Franklin Sydney Swans AFL 2017

    (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

    Chris Judd was similarly full of praise, and along with Gerard stated that there’s an unhealthy obsession in the football media with the Swans and Buddy Franklin.

    “After Sydney’s convincing defeat to Geelong in last Friday night’s semi-final there has inevitably been commentary around whether the Buddy Franklin deal has been a failure,” Chris wrote.

    “Many in the media have an opinion, which they hold as fact, that for the deal to have been a success, Sydney must win a premiership.

    “To believe that one player holds the responsibility for premiership success on his shoulders is the stuff made of fairy tales and fails to take into account just how many moving parts are required to be working at full capacity before a club can hold up the cup.”

    Franklin does things on the field no other football can do and very few before him have done. His superstar presence on and off the field has turned a Rugby League market’s indifferent attitude towards AFL into a craved frenzy, where the kids just can’t get enough.

    There’s more kids wanting to play football than there are clubs or facilities that can support them. It reached critical stage two weeks ago when AFL chief Gillon McLachlan declared the situation as “almost the biggest challenge facing our game.”

    “We’ll play whatever role we can in turning it around and whatever the solutions are, I’m not going to accept turning kids away,” said McLachlan.

    Two successful teams in Sydney has driven the dramatic growth of the league in the toughest market in Australia. Memberships for both clubs are at record levels, almost 80 thousand between them (the Swans had 24,995 in 2005).

    A grand final appearance for the Giants, coupled with the remarkable recovery of the record-setting Swans, will no doubt lead to further growth in New South Wales and challenge the pre-conceptions held by those in established football markets.

    Lance Franklin isn’t solely responsible for the rapid growth of AFL in Sydney, but there’s no denying that he’s had a significant impact. While the Swans will rue the ’14 and ’16 deciders, Franklin has been far more successful in Sydney than anyone could have hoped or imagined.

    Johnson said it best – “he puts bums on seats”. Everyone wants to be him, especially the kids.

    This video is trending right now! Submit your videos for the chance to win a share of $10,000!

    Have Your Say

    If not logged in, please enter your name and email before submitting your comment. Please review our comments policy before posting on the Roar.

    Oldest | Newest | Most Recent

    The Crowd Says (24)

    • September 21st 2017 @ 11:19am
      Deir-ba-zor said | September 21st 2017 @ 11:19am | ! Report

      What Franklin hyperbole?

    • September 21st 2017 @ 11:23am
      Birdman said | September 21st 2017 @ 11:23am | ! Report

      Buddy has delivered in spades (although he will be personally disappointed with the final failures as he moved for love, money AND flags) but from a club’s perspective, the deal hasn’t quite paid off as expected although increased membership and attendances has eased the pain while loss of COLA and those trade bans are the oppournity cost.

      Without Buddy and Kennedy I wonder where they would be?

      For mine, Longmire and Tippett are the real culprits not Buddy – although he’s still dead to me 🙂

      • September 21st 2017 @ 1:12pm
        JD said | September 21st 2017 @ 1:12pm | ! Report


    • September 21st 2017 @ 11:32am
      mickyo said | September 21st 2017 @ 11:32am | ! Report

      Tippett is the big waste here, although tries hard is just not really a footballer like Buddy.

      Whether they win a flag or not, he is the flagship of the sport in Sydney and seems to be delivering the best he can.

      • Roar Guru

        September 21st 2017 @ 3:10pm
        JamesH said | September 21st 2017 @ 3:10pm | ! Report

        Tippett’s problem has been getting on the park. The few times he’s had a consistent run at it, he’s been good. I personally think he needs to shed some muscle and build his endurance so he can play in the ruck.

      • September 22nd 2017 @ 9:46am
        Trevor said | September 22nd 2017 @ 9:46am | ! Report

        Tippett will be gone in a couple of months.

    • September 21st 2017 @ 11:59am
      Liam said | September 21st 2017 @ 11:59am | ! Report

      I agree with this article in its entirety.

      Any single person who says they wouldn’t have paid what Sydney did, were they in the situation Sydney was and had the wherewithal to do it, is lying. Franklin is the best footballer in the AFL, and has been since 2008; just because the AFL media is impressed with midfield statistics and has the memory the size of a goldfish is as reductive as it is foolish.

      More than anything else, if his recruitment has resulted in the growth of the game in NSW, then what’s the bad here?

      • September 21st 2017 @ 1:20pm
        Bretto said | September 21st 2017 @ 1:20pm | ! Report

        Second sentence spot on – anyone would have paid that to get Buddy – I wish my team had.
        Third sentence rubbish – he not the best player in the league by a long shot. Most watchable, yes.
        Like Warnie wasn’t the best cricketer, but you wouldn’t be getting a fresh beer while he was bowling.

        • September 21st 2017 @ 3:28pm
          Liam said | September 21st 2017 @ 3:28pm | ! Report

          Higher ceiling than anyone playing? Yes.

          Better than anyone else at turning the result of a game? Yes.

          Immediately makes his side more of a threat of winning any match? Yes.

          Outside of purely statistical comparisons, name a player who is better in each of these three ways than Buddy is, and I’ll willingly admit that he isn’t the best player in the AFL. He’s not the most consistent out there, but if you listed players that were – Kennedy (Swans) Pendlebury, Mitchell, Rockcliff – you’ve a group of excellent players, but not the best in the AFL.

        • September 21st 2017 @ 5:13pm
          Maurice said | September 21st 2017 @ 5:13pm | ! Report

          Who was the best cricketer if it wasn,t Warnie ?

      • Roar Guru

        September 21st 2017 @ 3:47pm
        Cat said | September 21st 2017 @ 3:47pm | ! Report

        All depends on why he was recruited. As a marketing exercise, absolutely its a homerun.

        If you are talking from a purely football point of view, it gets a whole lot murkier. Franklin’s recruitment saw Sydney unable to keep Mumford (who Sydney would very much have liked to keep) at the very least and potentially others as well (hard to separate Tippett’s and Buddy’s effect on the salary cap). Sydney didn’t choose to play with a 38 man list because they couldn’t find two more players worthwhile having on the list, they did it because of salary cap constraints.

        Sydney have also become too ‘Buddy-centric’ at times since his arrival. Hawthorn actually became a better side after Franklin left because they were able to balance their attack better. Franklin does make Sydney better, but he also makes them more one-dimensional.

    • Roar Guru

      September 21st 2017 @ 12:22pm
      Paul D said | September 21st 2017 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

      The Victorian football media should stick to writing about Victorian clubs

      I like the Swans because they don’t give a stuff what anyone south of Mildura thinks and long may that continue.

      Agreed also that it is still far too early to assess the Franklin deal as a failure. Good article.

    • September 21st 2017 @ 1:48pm
      Shane said | September 21st 2017 @ 1:48pm | ! Report

      When I saw the headline Franklin hyperbole – I assumed it’d have some reference to Bruce McAvaney.

      Special’s calls contain such gushing hyperbole, it’s almost a parody.

      His “Oh Dennis, where are you, I need you” response to Buddy running lose down the boundary line a couple of weeks ago sounded more like Slash (and I’m not referring to the guitarist).

      • Roar Rookie

        September 21st 2017 @ 4:59pm
        Justin Mitchell said | September 21st 2017 @ 4:59pm | ! Report

        Could hear BT grunting in the background too

    , ,