Buddy-minded Swans feel heat

Sunday Tasmanian - - Sport - SAM ED­MUND

FOUR years, no pre­mier­ships. Five to go.

The clock is tick­ing on Syd­ney star Lance Franklin’s 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, the big­gest signed in the AFL, been worth it?

As of Septem­ber 17, 2017, 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 shelling out $1 mil­lion for a race­horse and not ex­pect­ing a Group 1 win.

This deal must de­liver a premier­ship or it has failed.

The con­se­quences of the Buddy deal keep hit­ting. Shane Mum­ford was squeezed out, Tom Mitchell de­parted and while we ac­knowl­edge the re­cruit­ing ge­nius of the club, how many more are go­ing to feel they de­serve a big­ger slice of salary cap pie in the fu­ture?

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.’’

Franklin has churned out 79, 47, 81 and 73 goals in his first four years in the Har­bour City and taken home two Cole­man Medals and three Al­lAus­tralian gongs. He played every game last year and every game this sea­son.

You could make a de­cent ar­gu­ment this year was among his best in four sea­sons in Syd­ney. Along with his 73 goals, he was far and away the lead­ing score in­volve­ment player in the league.

He will go down as one of the all-time greats.

But in the here and now, Franklin has 13 sea­sons un­der his belt. While not a bash-and­crash for­ward, he has re­peat­edly been bashed into.

Franklin fin­ished with 0.3 from 14 touches on Friday night – only the third time he’s been held goal­less this year in what was an ugly set of num­bers by the fi­nal siren.

Speak­ing of num­bers, Franklin turns 31 in Jan­uary.

Tick, tock.


TIME ON: Syd­ney's Lance Franklin.

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