Just when we thought Sydney’s Lance Franklin had shown his whole repertoire when it came to goalkicking, the champion forward pulled out another trick on Monday against his former club.
The 35-year-old with the famous left foot put the Swans in front in the last quarter with a right foot set shot snap, marking goal 1006 as something special in a career that is now in its 18th season.
As good and confident as Franklin is, there is no way he would just pull a rabbit out of the hat when scores are tight without having practised the kick Cats triple premiership star Steve Johnson was responsible for bringing into the game.
Lance Franklin booted three goals for Swans against his former side on Monday. Credit:AFL Photos
In fact, industry sources suggest that Johnson, who was an assistant for three years at Sydney, had encouraged the goalkicking legend to keep trying the right foot set shot snap at training. Those same sources suggest the triple premiership Cat even elicited a promise from ‘Buddy’ that he would one day execute the right foot set shot snap in a game.
On Monday, Franklin took his chance to deliver on that promise to ‘Stevie J’ as he lined up in the pocket with the Swans trailing by one point with his right foot and kicked accurately in what, if nothing else, was an instinctive tribute to what Johnson – who is now back at the Giants – has added to the game.
It also added a missing piece to the Franklin puzzle for Sydney coach John Longmire, who had told The Age in the build-up to the veteran reaching the 1000-game milestone he could not recall ‘Buddy’ even kicking with his right foot, let alone snagging a goal in the nine years he has been his coach.
“That’s not to say he hasn’t done it,” Longmire said at the time.
That was a smart qualifier from Longmire as Franklin has kicked at least one other goal – out of 1007 – with his right foot, a dribble kick against the Gold Coast in round 10, 2015.
It wasn’t exactly executed with the sort of fluency his premiership teammate Sam Mitchell used to display on his ‘non-preferred’ foot, but it was sufficient to roll through the goals from the right.
It’s not said out loud, but there is no doubt everyone is left with a feeling of disappointment when a player is named as a medical sub on debut and the opportunity to play does not arise, as happened with the Bombers’ Tex Wanganeen earlier this season.
Tex Wanganeen. Credit:Getty Images
Here is another quirk of the medi-sub system that applies to Geelong’s improving midfielder Max Holmes.
Holmes finished his first season last year with 12 games next to his name meaning he was ineligible to be nominated for the Rising Star in 2022 as he had played more than 10 matches entering the new season.
However, Holmes spent three of those 12 matches as the unused medical sub meaning he only had a chance to show his wares in nine matches in 2021 and, of course, just nine chances to be nominated.
Not that the improving Cat will be too concerned, but the recruiters certainly enjoy someone from their club earning a Rising Star nomination, particularly at Geelong, who have not had a nomination since round 15, 2019.
Darcy Fort’s cannon
Ruckmen are noted for their accuracy in front of goal but Lions recruit Darcy Fort is an exception. Nearly four years have passed since he kicked three goals on debut for the Cats in May 2019, and he is yet to register a behind.
Fort has kicked 11 straight, including one on the run against the Gold Coast in round six as he begins to chase down 29 consecutive goals without a miss, a record that Tony Lockett and Luke Breust established in their careers.
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