Sydney Swans star forward Buddy Franklin says the club is trying to keep the humdrum training from taking away from his AFL season.
Franklin is best known for performing his signature over-the-shoulder punt, but the six-time premiership winner says he is still struggling with the rigours of training since undergoing hip and ankle surgery earlier this year.SHARE Share on Facebook SHARE Share on Twitter TWEET Link Having everything gathered together: Swans star forward Buddy Franklin. Photo: Anthony Johnson
The 28-year-old, who has dominated the ruck-midfield combination with star utility Dane Rampe for his entire career, is walking on borrowed time as the Swans look to end their finals drought in style on Friday night against North Melbourne.
The side’s squad will continue to be monitored to ensure Franklin is in a physical state to play at his best, but there are no longer any rules on the veteran getting into the changing rooms or going outside the grounds for a session.
“There are no rules that come along with it like we are now,” Franklin said on Wednesday.
“We want him on the training field as hard as he can. He’s competing with guys like Rampe and a couple of others for a spot up there.Advertisement
“If he makes a mistake there’s no doubt it will be time he makes a mistake.
“It’s good to see it in the mesh of his legs.
“We’ve always been a bit strict, but it’s like getting organised with memberships for the first time.
“We’re not doing it for a second time.”
Just as Franklin is a major force on the field, he takes his game to the most extreme extreme next to him on the practice fields.
“I feel like I’m as hard as Rampe and I’m hard as the newcomers coming through,” Franklin said.
“They’re struggling mentally with this.
“I have to get a bit of a jump on them.”
While Franklin is just one of the starting centres, the Swans insist they will retain their centre back unit with David Hale, Josh Kennedy and Nic Naitanui in the starting 14.
Fraser Nelson remains out with concussion, while captain Adam Goodes can only fill in as a holding-midfielder.
Kennedy took his spot in a side that also included Tom Mitchell, Tristan Oliver, Brad Sewell and Nathan Rioli.
“It’s great to have all the guys available,” coach John Longmire said.
“It’s exciting to know that we’re going to have a full side.
“We’re trying to get out to a good position where we are always comfortable, we’re always asking questions and getting organised.
“We have worked out a few ways to push out a bit of the (goals-to-goals) ratio in the last few weeks and we are still finding our way.”