Franklin looms large for high-fly­ing Ea­gles

The Daily Examiner - - SPORT - —AAP

AFL: West Coast coach Adam Simp­son in­sists he isn’t wor­ried about his club’s hor­ror record at the SCG, but you can bet Lance Franklin has been giv­ing him night­mares of late.

The Ea­gles are the hottest team in the com­pe­ti­tion, hav­ing won 10 straight games.

Their only loss this sea­son came in round one, when a Franklin-in­spired Syd­ney beat West Coast by 29 points at Perth’s Op­tus Sta­dium.

Hav­ing booted 8.1 from 21 dis­pos­als that day, Franklin looms as a key fig­ure in tonight’s re­match at the SCG.

West Coast has lost its past seven matches at the SCG, last win­ning there in 1999, but has played at the venue only twice since 2005.

Simp­son is hardly los­ing sleep about those sta­tis­tics.

“What do you do about that? Ev­ery time we play Syd­ney in Syd­ney it’s a dif­fer­ent side,” he said. “I’m not too wor­ried about that.”

But Franklin is on his mind. “I’m hop­ing that heel is still lin­ger­ing from round one,” Simp­son joked, in ref­er­ence to the heel in­jury Franklin picked up from the hard Op­tus Sta­dium sur­face that day.

“He’s an ex­cep­tional tal­ent and we strug­gled to han­dle it. But we’ve got to deal with it.

“I’m sure some of our boys learnt some lessons that day. But part of it was he was just too good.”

Syd­ney (9-3) has won five straight to move into third spot. West Coast is a win ahead with a game in hand.

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