Unique Franklin up alongside AFL greats

Lance Franklin deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the greats from the golden era of AFL forwards, according to Sydney coach John Longmire.

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Franklin, 30, will play his 250th game on Friday against Collingwood at the SCG, having started his career in 2005 with Hawthorn where he played 182 games and kicked 580 goals.

After signing a nine-year $10 million deal with Sydney in late 2013, he has booted 215 majors in 67 games, topping the Swans’ goalkicking list in each of his three years at the club.

He needs five goals to reach 800 and six will take him above former Richmond hero Matthew Richardson into 11th on the all-time leading goalkickers list.

Longmire, who played with or against legends Wayne Carey, Tony Lockett, Jason Dunstall and Gary Ablett in what is widely considered the code’s greatest era of forward talent, said Franklin was a massive competitor who worked hard and was a wonderful contributor to the side.

“His athleticism for his size is what makes him a really unique forward if you’re comparing eras,” Longmire said

“He gets up the ground and back and he’s so quick and such an amazing kick that he is quite unique, but he certainly deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as those guys.

“I guess we’ll have to wait and see how his career pans out but to this point you’d certainly say he’s in that bracket.”

He confirmed ruckman-forward Kurt Tippett was unlikely to play against the Magpies due to ankle ligament damage.

The potential replacement is expected to be either Callum Sinclair, or Darcy Cameron, who if selected would be the Swans’ fifth debutant this season.

While pleased with how the four debutants performed in last week’s loss to the Western Bulldogs, Longmire conceded he needed to get more out of his midfield stars.

All-Australians Josh Kennedy, Luke Parker and Dan Hannebery have all been below their best.

“Probably compared to the normal standard that they set week in week out over the journey they are a little bit below that,” Longmire said.

“But we’re confident they can bounce back. They are quality players and we’ve got confidence in them to certainly start to play a bit better than what they’ve been playing.”