Buddy’s de­ci­sion for flag or cash

Sunday Mail - - SPORT - GEE­LONG SYD­NEY SAM ED­MUND

FOUR years, no pre­mier­ships. Five to go.

The clock is tick­ing on Lance Franklin mega deal. The money is tick­ing, too, straight into Buddy’s bank ac­count at the ex­pense of team­mates.

In the wake of the Swans’ hu­mil­i­at­ing semi-fi­nal thrash­ing at the hands of Gee­long, we have to re­visit the ele­phant in the red and white room.

Has this nine-year, $10 mil­lion deal, still the big­gest ever in the AFL, been worth it?

As of to­day you’d say no. Not yet any­way. The Swans have re­peat­edly said Franklin does not have to jus­tify the big bucks with a flag. They would though, wouldn’t they?

But pay­ing $10 mil­lion for a player and not ex­pect­ing a premier­ship is like pay­ing $1 mil­lion for a race­horse and not ex­pect­ing a ma­jor race win.

This deal must de­liver a premier­ship or it has failed.

The con­se­quences of the Buddy deal have hit.

Shane Mum­ford was squeezed out, Tom Mitchell was squeezed out and while we ac­knowl­edge the re­peated re­cruit­ing ge­nius of this or­gan­i­sa­tion, how many more are go­ing to feel they de­serve a big­ger slice of salary cap pie?

Swans premier­ship player Barry Hall said this a year ago: “If they don’t win in the next cou­ple of years we will see some things ... it is go­ing to come back to bite them.

“They are not go­ing to be able to af­ford the salary cap. It is start­ing to get tight. Good play­ers are start­ing to leave.

“The win­dow is start­ing to shut for the Swans. They need some­thing to hap­pen very quickly and if they don’t get a flag in the next cou­ple of years they will be con­cerned.’’

GREAT EF­FORT: Gee­long’s Tom Ste­wart dur­ing a bril­liant sec­ond quar­ter burst aginst the Swans in the Cats’ semi-fi­nal win at the MCG on Friday night.

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