SwansCast Episode 22: I'm going to drop him like a bad habit

Good morning all, it's hump day today and despite the win against the Giants on the weekend, it hasn't all been sunshine and sugar drops.

The Swans were terrific on the weekend, slugging it out in the first half, before running away with it in the third quarter. Trailing by 33 points early in the fourth quarter, the Giants kicked 4 goals in a row, bringing it back to just 10 points.

The Swans steadied through Franklin, goalless until the final 5 minutes of the match, kicking one of his career-best goals. As far as fend offs go, it may well be one of the best that we've seen, ever. He firmly sat Nick Haynes on his backside before drilling it home from 70m, sending the SCG crowd into raptures. It was party time just 60 seconds later when Franklin sealed the win with his second goal of the quarter, consigning the Giants to their first defeat of the season.

There really aren't enough superlatives, or even words in the dictionary, to describe how good a player he is. While midfielders continue to be crowned the AFLCA Player of the Year and rack up countless Brownlow medals, Franklin regularly has more impact on matches than any of them.

While Dangerfield is often a fan - and umpires favourite, his ability to burst from packs and drive the ball long is certainly Judd-like, and he can definitely win games off his own boot, he rarely has the impact that Franklin has. I don't think I've seen a player as capable as he is, and we were blessed to watch Adam Goodes at his damaging best. We've had a decade of Gary Ablett playing an unbelievable standard of football, and he can do it all, but rarely does he flip a game on its head in so little time.

Franklin had a decent game up until that point. He was getting plenty of the ball, had taken 8 marks and more often than not, left his opponent for dead. He had 8 inside 50s, 9 scoring assists and 1 goal assist when he spanked it into Hayward in the 3rd quarter. His 2 minute burst gave me immediate flashbacks to the 2nd Elimination Final last year, when he torched the Essendon defence with one of the greatest 15 minute spells of football a player has ever had.

There are times when he belies belief, does the unthinkable and not only makes it look achievable, but bloody easy. He kicks goals that have no right to be kicked, makes plays that are simply not on, and passes balls across 65m better than any other player, arguably ever. If he was a midfielder, there would be absolutely no argument who the best player in the competition would be.

As a 31-year-old he's finally getting the recognition he deserves. He wasn't a particularly fan-loved player during his days at Hawthorn. He had run-ins with the club, fans and reported drug and party problems. He had an on-field persona that was reckless, aggressive and extremely arrogant. Personal transformation is one of the most rewarding things any person can experience, and he must surely be experiencing that now.

He has transformed his on-field football ability, taking it to another level arguably not seen since Gary Ablett Snr, while dramatically improving his off-field persona. He has become a role model within the club and is very highly regarded by his peers. Will Hayward recently spoke about Franklin, but he certainly isn't the first one, with Hannebery, Papley, Florent, Jack and many other players speaking of his impact.

“Buddy’s been great, Kieren Jack’s been really good, Dan Hannebery, Dane Rampe, Josh Kennedy," Hayward said

There's been a lot of talk recently about his value, or even perceived undervalue in the AFL community, and whether or not he will continue past his contract. He certainly is undervalued, there's no question about it. Membership over the last two years has been more than 55,000 and has catapulted the Swans into the top-8 followed clubs. His number is one of the most sought after at the club, and the merchandise and sponsorships have greatly rewarded the Swans' gamble.

For all intents and purposes, Franklin is the Jordan of the AFL, and will be regarded as the games' greatest ever player. It's about time he received the recognition he deserves.

Despite the Franklin love, the Swans are back on struggle street, struck down by the indomitable injury curse, with Sam Reid and Lewis Melican finishing the game nursing injuries. Sam Reid did his quad and will miss at least 8 weeks, meaning a return after the bye, while Melican did his hamstring and will be back in May.

We discussed Sam Reid's importance to the team last week, and again this week, and of the two players to miss, he's certainly the bigger loss. The Swans can cover Melican with Aliir and Marsh, but don't have a ready replacement for Reid. Three of the options are yet to play an AFL game - two were drafted 6 months ago, while the third hasn't played a senior game for a year.

It's not a great situation to be in. At least we're playing the Dogs this weekend, who have their own injury issues and barely have a forward line or defence anyway. Where we're really hurting is against Adelaide and Geelong, who will most definitely have the numbers to cover Franklin. We struggled against Port Adelaide because they triple teamed him, so here's hoping lessons are learned this week.

Don't forget to vote on the Sydney Swans Moments of 2017 polls. Our first poll is closing on Friday, with the next starting at midday Friday. All polls will run for a week throughout the season. This weeks' poll is between Papley's 3 goals vs Hawthorn in Round 19 and Franklin's 4 goal haul against Port Adelaide in Round 1.

Anyway, in this episode Stephen and I review the GWS match and the round of football that was. We look ahead at Round 4 against the Western Bulldogs and discuss the injuries and news from the current round.

It's another great episode, so give it a listen and get your questions and comments to us ahead of next weeks' episode - more new on that to come.

Enjoy the week and the episode! As always, hit us up on social media using the tag @theswansblog, or the hash tag #SwansCast.


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Justin Mitchell

Justin is a passionate AFL and Sydney Swans supporter, and football blogger since 2016. All articles are of his own opinion. You can reach him by twitter and Facebook at @theswansblog

Melbourne, Australia https://theswansblog.com

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