300 no factor in Buddy’s return
GETTING Lance Franklin to his much delayed 300th AFL game before the season ends won’t be a factor in whether he plays in Sydney’s final round home match, Swans coach John Longmire says.
Franklin has been stuck on 299 since round 14, having missed the past seven matches with hamstring issues and won’t play against Melbourne at the MCG on Friday.
That leaves Saturday week’s SCG clash with St Kilda as the only other opportunity for the 32-year-old forward to attain the landmark this year.
Longmire made it clear chalking off the 300th game wasn’t the biggest concern for Franklin.
“300 is obviously a significant milestone but it’s more about not being able to being out there and playing – that’s what he gets disappointed about,” Longmire said.
“He’s a massive competitor, but he knows also that you don’t want to put him out there too early and not have him ready to go.
“We want to make sure that he’s right and we’re going to require another couple of weeks’ (of) training.”
Retiring defender Jarrad McVeigh, who has missed the last eight games with soft tissue issues, also won’t be ready for Friday’s game.
Longmire said Sydney was still three or four training sessions away from deciding whether McVeigh would be able to play St Kilda in the Swans’ final match before he retires.
Sydney has lost their last six games with last week’s 47-point defeat away to Port Adelaide their biggest of the season.
“We’ve had some games over the last six weeks that we’ve been really competitive (in), even though we haven’t got our nose over the line when the siren has gone,” Longmire said.
“We’re absolutely determined to keep the foot down, which we have been doing quite well until the second half on the weekend.”
© AAP 2019