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Swans coach likes Buddy further up field

Lance Franklin is the most prolific AFL goalkicker of his generation but Sydney coach John Longmire would prefer to use the key forward up the ground.

Swans coach likes Buddy further up field

Lance Franklin is the most prolific AFL goalkicker of his generation but Sydney coach John Longmire would prefer to use the key forward up the ground.

LANCE FRANKLIN of the Swans kicks during the AFL match between the Sydney Swans and the Greater Western Sydney Giants at SCG in Sydney, Australia.
LANCE FRANKLIN of the Swans kicks during the AFL match between the Sydney Swans and the Greater Western Sydney Giants at SCG in Sydney, Australia. Picture:Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

Sydney AFL coach John Longmore would prefer to use his star spearhead Lance Franklin further up the ground.

All-Australian captain Franklin has been Sydney's leading goalkicker in each of his first five seasons at the club but 2018 was a trying year for the champion.


A niggling fitness issue meant he was unable to train much throughout the year while key forward Sam Reid played just one game.

It meant Franklin had to play deep more than Longmire would have liked, with teenager Tom McCartin frequently deployed as the other key forward.

At times last year, when Franklin and Reid were injured and before McCartin made his debut, Sydney couldn't field a specialist forward over 189cms.

This year, Longmire looks to have more tall timber in his armoury to supplement the exciting small forward trio of Tom Papley, Will Hayward and Ben Ronke.

The acquisition of Daniel Menzel and drafting 196cm prospect Nick Blakey gives Longmire plenty of tall forward options and potentially frees up Franklin to create havoc outside the Swans attacking 50.

"I think he's very hard to defend when he's right up the ground," Longmire told AAP.

"When he's playing that high centre-half forward role because of his kicking ability, his kicking is so good hitting targets inside 50.

"He's not just kicking goals but he sets goals up so well and also makes it a bit more difficult for opposition defenders, when to drop off him it gives him space to get back into towards goal.

"Anyway he always finds himself inside 50 so that's never a problem, he always finds himself within range.

"It just gives him more space to run around, to use his athleticism it makes him harder to defend, so I actually prefer him up the ground."

Franklin, Menzel and McCartin have all had pre-season injury issues but should be ready for round one or soon after.

Longmire stressed Franklin's fitness levels could also determine how much he can be used further up the ground.

"A bit of it will depend upon how much training he can do, so its a bit like last year," he said.

"He couldn't do a lot, so he was forced deeper and a lot of work was on Tommy McCartin to play that high centre-half forward role."

AAP


AAP




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