The Courier-Mail



LANCE Franklin will miss to­mor­row night’s crit­i­cal game against Colling­wood at the SCG as he con­tin­ues to strug­gle with a back in­jury.

Franklin did not ap­pear for the Swans’ main train­ing ses­sion yesterday and was ruled out dur­ing the af­ter­noon.

It is the first time the for­mer Hawk has missed two games in a row since he moved to Syd­ney in 2013.

“We need to be smart with him,” Swans co-cap­tain Kieren Jack said.

“He helped us win the game against Ade­laide (Round 18) but it’s prob­a­bly put him back in his re­cov­ery.

“We need to be con­ser­va­tive with him so that when he comes back he’s back for good.”

Franklin missed last week with a sore back af­ter hurt­ing it at train­ing three weeks ago be­fore the game against West Coast.

He car­ried the in­jury into the game against Ade­laide at the SCG but pulled up sore and missed last week’s match against Gee­long.

His ab­sence has come at the worst pos­si­ble time for the Swans, with their top-four hopes hang­ing in the bal­ance.

The Swans sit in fifth spot, be­hind the Western Bull­dogs on per­cent­age, and in the run home play Colling­wood, GWS (Spot­less Sta­dium), St Kilda (Eti­had Sta­dium) and Gold Coast (Metricon).

To­mor­row night looms as a dan­ger game for the Swans, with star for­ward Travis Cloke and ex­pe­ri­enced premier­ship player Tyson Gold­sack big chances to re­turn for the Mag­pies.

Mag­pies coach Nathan Buck­ley con­ceded his team must win all four re­main­ing games – against Syd­ney, Rich­mond, Gee­long and Essendon – to have any hope of play­ing in the fi­nals, and the re­turn of Cloke and ab­sence of Franklin as­sists their cause.

Cloke (pic­tured) trained strongly yesterday, and ap­pears cer­tain to be named tonight. “He has had two re­ally strong weeks of train­ing on the track,” Buck­ley said.

“We will speak to the medi­cos and get their ad­vice on whether they feel he is up to speed. “If he pulls up well, and we get the tick there, I won’t be stop­ping him from play­ing.”

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