Sydney coach John Longmire has hailed the selflessness of Buddy Franklin as the superstar Swan was yet again happy to hit up teammates in better scoring positions in the side’s nine-point victory over St Kilda at the SCG on Saturday afternoon.
As the Swans rode their luck in the last quarter due to the Saints’ wayward kicking from set shots, Franklin’s call to centre a ball for James Rowbottom created the Swans sealer and was indicative of many unselfish acts from the 34 year old since his return from injury this season.
The four-time Coleman Medallist still managed to snare two goals himself as the Swans recorded their eighth win of the season and move to within only two of Jack Titus’ 970 goal mark and sixth all-time on the VFL/AFL goalkickers list.
“We’ve been really happy with how selfless he is. He’s obviously one of the greats of the game but he’s able to bring in the other players around him to the extent that they really feed off it,” Longmire said.
“He’s got a great team ethos and we saw it again today a number of times when he uses up other players in better positions.
“It’s great to have such a star player that’s really selfless like Lance.”
The Swans survived a late scare to take home the four points against St Kilda. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
Buddy’s ability to spot up others in attack is a direct result of his expanded role up forward that has seen him roam into far deeper positions up the ground compared to his movements earlier in the season, following his lengthy injury lay-off.
“It’s just a natural progression from training and playing more. He played a bit deeper when he first came back because he didn’t have that run in his legs. The more he’s been able to train and play it allows him to stretch right out and play more of that traditional centre-half forward role at times,” Longmire said.
While Buddy was important in game 308, young Joel Amartey, in just his second match of senior football, will also have Swans fans salivating as he impressed with 14 disposals and six marks – several of them contested – during pressure moments in the contest.
The 21-year-old of Ghanaian descent provided strong support to Tom Hickey, who was brilliant yet again in the ruck and has now emerged alongside Errol Gulden, Logan McDonald, Braeden Campbell Chad Warner and others as a Swan to watch in the future.
“Really for the last month he’s put together three or four weeks of really good form at the lower level which means when you get a game, you’re feeling good about yourself and confident enough to get at the ball like he did today a few times,” Longmire said.
“Some of his contested marking was really good. He’s got that ability to play in the ruck and since Sam Reid’s been out of the team it’s important for us to give Hick (Tom Hickey) a bit of a chop out so that forward/ruck role becomes important.”
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