Franklin’s leadership invaluable

With four grand finals and two premierships under his belt, Lance Franklin knows a thing or two about performing on the big stage.

This is why the star forward’s experience will be a valuable asset in what is a huge week for the football club, according to coach John Longmire.

But don’t expect Franklin to be the group’s main go-to man.

It’s just not in his nature to steal the show during the week – he’ll try and save that for game day.

“He’ll talk to players as required, to whoever might need to be spoken to or whoever wants to draw upon those experiences,” Longmire said on Monday when asked what role Franklin will play in helping his teammates deal with the hype and anticipation of the Grand Final.

“But it’s not as if he’ll stand up the front and address the group – he’ll get that message across in his own way.

“It’s important that our younger players feel comfortable talking to him and I’m sure he’ll share those experiences.”

Coinciding with Franklin’s incredible turnaround from last year missing Sydney’s finals campaign with illness, to this year finishing second in the Coleman Medal and looking primed for a big Grand Fina, has come a considerable growth in his own leadership.

He’s developed new and improved mentor-like qualities which has had a profound effect on the Swans’ young playing group, including the likes of forwards Isaac Heeney and Tom Papley.

“He’s been terrific this year, not only his performances but in his training, he’s been so consistent,” Longmire added.

“He’s been leading, at times, a young forward line around and being able to contribute not only on the field but off the field within our group has been highly valuable and we’re glad he’s playing.

“I think the thing he’ll emphasis this week is nothing changes as far as the demands of the game and the demands of our own players, that’s to bring extreme work rate and that’s exactly what he and everyone else needs to bring.”

Franklin has starred in back-to-back weeks, kicking six goals against Adelaide and Geelong while collecting 14 and 19 disposals respectively.

As Longmire added, the 29-year-old’s pressure “was extreme” and his two-way running impressive in the do-or-die wins.


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