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The Roar



Buddy Franklin's time at the Swans has been a failure

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Roar Guru
2nd June, 2020
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Lance Franklin has been a wonderful servant for the Swans, surpassing all key performance indicators during his time in Sydney.

He and his family have my sympathies in this time and I hope we have not seen the last of the mercurial talent that is Buddy.

But his time at the Swans has been a failure.

He was considered to be the final piece of the puzzle brought in to win premierships in 2013. While the Swans have made it to the big dance twice since, neither time did they look close to winning the flag.

Now, little of this can be attributed to Franklin himself, who has given his all each and every match. But it is nonetheless a failure for a side that has not been starved of success recently.

Under Paul Roos, the Swans played an unapologetically defensive style that won them games and eventually a drought-breaking premiership.


But under John Longmire, they have only managed to win one premiership, which can in large part be attributed to the coaching and recruitment of Roos in 2012.

Longmire has overseen a period in which the Swans have choked at the last hurdle multiple times in something similar to Nathan Buckley or Brad Scott, both of whom have overseen similarly successful periods at Geelong and Collingwood. They did not, however, sign the most talented player of this generation, with a preternatural ability to kick goals and turn games on their head.

Franklin was the hottest commodity coming out of his contract at Hawthorn in 2013.

Jarryd Roughead and Lance Franklin of the Hawks celebrates with the Premiership Cup after the hawks won the 2013 AFL Grand Final match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Fremantle Dockers at Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 28, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia.

(Photo: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

His time at the Swans has been personally successful, but not for the club.

He won the Coleman in 2013 and 2017, as well as winning four successive leading goal kicker medals at Sydney, along with two Brett Kirk medals (awarded to the best on ground in the Sydney derby between Greater Western Sydney and the Swans).

But these are an indictment on the Swans’ playing style – far too dependent on a ‘kick it to Buddy’ paradigm. The Swans targeted Buddy even with other accomplished forwards such as Kurt Tippett, Sam Reid and Tom Papley there.

They’ve developed other avenues to goal with the drafting of Nick Blakey and the improvement of Tom Papley and Ben Ronke, however this does not change the fact that the signature of Franklin must be considered a failure for the Swans as an organisation.