BUDDY’S BACK & ON TARGET
Franklin nervous after Docker decked in Swans’ easy victory
THE SYDNEY Swans’ emphatic 59-point win over Fremantle last night could come at a cost, with superstar Lance Franklin to come under scrutiny for an elbow to the jaw of Joel Hamling.
“Buddy” finished with three goals in a good return from four weeks on the sidelines with a bruised heel, but he and the Swans face a nervous wait after he caught Hamling with a stray elbow late in the second quarter.
The Fremantle le defender took a long time to regain his feet after the blow, failed his concussion test and d didn’t return to o the field in the e second half.
The only saving grace for the he star forward was he was in possession on of the ball and swung ung his forearm across his is body in a bid to shrug off Hamling.
While the blow was heavy heavy, Franklin’s intent certainly wasn’t to hit his opponent.
“He was concussed,” Fremantle coach Ross Lyon said.
“He seems OK, it was a concussion. We did the right thing, not the right thing it’s what should happen and hopefully he recovers well enough to get up. But if he doesn’t, we wouldn’t play him next week. I didn’t see the incident.”
Swans coach John Longmire also said he didn’t see the clash and couldn’t comment.
Sydney suffered a knock to the head themselves when Zak Jones clashed with Michael Walters in the last quarter and didn’t return.
“He’s OK, I just didn’t put him back on,” Longmire said.
“I had a chat with him and they (medical staff) didn’t want to put him back on and said, ‘don’t worry about it for the rest of the game’. He seemed OK.”
The incidents were the only downsides for the Swans who dominated the match from the outset, claiming just their second win at the SCG after surprisingly losing three of the first four at their home ground. They also improved their percentage by 8 to 114.6. The Dockers were a man down for the second half but it didn’t excuse a sub-par performance in which they kicked just one first-half goal and two by three-quarter time.
Their 52 points was their second-lowest score against the Swans, breaking the mark they set only last year when they could manage only 5.9.39 in round 21 at the SCG.
Sydney’s pressure levels were high but the Dockers butchered the ball continuously, giving their forwards little hope of taking advantage of a 31-25 clearance win.
For the Swans, the defenders led the way with Jake Lloyd picking up a career-best 41 disposals and former cocaptain Jarrad McVeigh 31.
The twin pillars of Dane Rampe and Heath Grundy were again outstanding.
“They played well, they all contributed,” Longmire said.
“Most importantly keep- ing the opposition down to a goal or two at halftime is critical and everything else gets built on top of that.
“It was a really good performance tonight, good offensively and good defensively. It was a good spread of players contributing whether it was blokes who have been around a bit or just the young kids.”
There were also milestones galore for Sydney, Franklin’s three goals moving him to 300 for the Swans.
Only he and Tony Lockett have scored more than 300 goals at two different clubs. Buddy booted 580 in his nine seasons at Hawthorn.
Skipper Josh Kennedy celebrated his 200th game as a Swan with three goals and defender Nick Smith was at his economical best with an outstanding job on Hayden Ballantyne, keeping him to just a solitary late goal.
Last week’s seven-goal hero Ben Ronke booted one.
Sydney’s Lance Franklin battles for possession against Fremantle and (inset) elbows Joel Hamling. Pictures: Phil Hillyard