How will Lance Franklin go on his return to the finals? The Sydney Swans forward is ready to launch into a fresh finals campaign.
Franklin will play his 25th final on Saturday when he takes part in Sydney’s first finals campaign since 2018, and he spoke about the mood around the camp.
“The vibe’s been really good, everyone’s just really excited to be a part of the finals,” he said.
“We can’t wait to get out there on Saturday to play GWS, we think it’s going to be a really good contest.”
While Franklin is a seasoned finals campaigner, a large portion of his Swans teammates will be playing their first finals matches if selected.
Franklin had some simple advice for those making their finals debuts.
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“The biggest thing you should do, is- nothing really should change, with the way you go about it, and the way you play; keep it nice and simple,” he said.
“Prepare really well, and go out there and have fun, I think that’s the most important thing; to just enjoy what you do, and it should take care of itself if you are able to do that.”
Franklin sees Sydney’s finals berth as a culmination of what it has been building, rather than a desire to answer critics who may not have had the Swans in finals contention.
“I think over the last few years we’ve been really building; we’ve had a lot of young kids that have been given opportunities and they’ve grabbed that,” he said.
“We’ve just been playing a really consistent brand of football, and we’ve just concentrated on winning week in week out and we were able to get ourselves in a position to play finals.”
The man they call ‘Buddy’
After missing the entire 2020 season, Franklin was able to return to the field and, more importantly for him, stay on the park for most of the year.
Franklin spoke about how he thought his year had gone so far.
“Missing a full year of football, was disappointing, but that hunger’s always been there, to get back and play consistent football and I think I’ve been able to do that this season,” he said.
“I’m slowly building, and I want to have a good finals series so I’m looking forward to Saturday.”
Despite less-than-ideal circumstances, with the Sydney sides on the road in a hub, Franklin has enjoyed the time spent with his teammates.
“It’s been amazing, we’ve got such a great group, we’ve got so many kids, but we’ve got so many older guys too- guys with families,” he said.
“It’s been a great experience, we’ve loved our time away, we’ve loved being down in Melbourne, it’s been a good couple of months- but we are certainly missing Sydney and thinking of those back at home too.”
With Franklin just eight goals away from the 1000 goal mark, a potential milestone awaits, but it will be the furthest thing from his mind on the weekend.
“There’s a lot of talk about it, but for me, it’s just about winning. My focus is on this final and winning and competing and doing our best to get the win.”
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