A club insider has noted that Franklin is slimmer but also goes down more often. While he believes Franklin can no longer beat the best defenders in the game, he would still be dangerous against a club’s second or third major defender.
An assistant manager expects most clubs to play their best defender against him. Carlton used Jacob Weitering in a practice game against Franklin. “Underestimating him is the worst thing you can do,” said the assistant coach.
King, a respected football analyst at SEN and Fox Footy who won two flags with North Melbourne, is optimistic about what Franklin can achieve. By playing on the field alone, King said Franklin would help the Swans by relieving the pressure on Isaac Heeney and rising star Logan McDonald.
“The criticism of where Lance stands is overstated,” King said Age and the herald at a Fox Footy event this week.
“Every week for 15 years he’s had the best defender the opposition can find. If you want to take the risk of putting the second-place defender on Buddy, keep an eye out. He is still a top liner in our competition.”
Franklin, one of the most athletic players the game has ever seen, is belated to show his age. The sparkling toes he once needed to get back on his left foot aren’t as quick anymore. He scored two goals with his right foot last year, a sight so rare that Longmire said he couldn’t recall the great shot on target with his unpreferred side.
Though Lloyd says Franklin still has enough speed to worry defenders, he believes the veteran has lost the explosive speed to burn up his opponent and isn’t getting to as many contests. King wants Longmire to give Franklin an occasional run on the wing, à la Matthew Richardson in his near-Brownlow year of 2008, where he doesn’t need to be as ballistic.
“As a key striker, that’s your biggest asset – your first few yards wide,” Lloyd said.
“I can only speak from my own experience. I didn’t feel so confident about speed at 31. I felt like I lost a bit of speed and power.
“Once you lose that, you lose some confidence and you start thinking, ‘I’d best go now’, instead of being under pressure and fighting to keep my position for another year.
“Buddy has tremendous confidence but I’m sure he will have doubts going into this season.”
Still, Lloyd is confident Franklin still has a lot to offer the Swans despite reservations after last year’s grand final.
“I remember James Hird saying to me, there aren’t many players who can score 40 or 50 goals in a season. I still think he’s capable of scoring 40-50 goals a year, which is a huge return for a player that age,” said Lloyd, who retired at the age of 31 after a 35-goal season .
“That will still be better than your 23rd best player in my opinion.”
Franklin’s disrupted preseason points to a slower start to the year, but King isn’t worried about his disrupted preseason if it gives him more chances to be fresh in September. The Swans have already signaled breaks to Franklin, who played 23 games out of a possible 26 last year.
Regardless of Franklin’s performance in 2023, he will be remembered for his accomplishments over the past 18 years.
“We’ve never seen an example like Lance: 1000 goals that give us highlights year after year,” said King. “Everything is in overdrive, everything is full of crash and bash, full of noise.
“I don’t think we’re overestimating the next 12 months. I love what Buddy did for our competition. Let’s just appreciate what this guy was.”
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https://www.smh.com.au/sport/afl/he-s-still-a-topliner-what-is-a-reasonable-expectation-for-36-year-old-buddy-20230316-p5cso4.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_sport What’s a reasonable expectation for 36-year-old Buddy?