Buddy-minded Swans feel heat
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.
TIME ON: Sydney's Lance Franklin.