Lance Franklin capable of reaching rare goalkicking milestones, says Barry Hall
The Sydney Swans’ superstar full forward is one of the major beneficiaries of the AFL’s more free-flowing, high-scoring playing style this season.
And he’s now within reach of two targets that have become rarer than an all-in brawl — 100 goals in a season and 1000 goals in a career.
Former Swans full forward Barry Hall is convinced Franklin can reach the lofty goals but cautioned the 29-year-old will have to adapt his style as he ages.
This year’s rule changes introduced exclusion zones around the mark, restricting defending teams from slowing play down.
Interchanges have been reduced and umpires are also hot on deliberate out of bounds, helping speed up and open the play.
Hall kicked 80 goals in a season twice (2005, 2010) and believes there are two players capable of a ton, a feat not achieved since Franklin’s 2008 season.
“A hundred is gettable for a couple of players and Buddy Franklin is definitely one of them,” Hall told The Daily Telegraph.
“He’s the sort of player who can score heavily and kick three or four in a few minutes even when he’s having an ordinary game.
“Josh Kennedy (West Coast) is another who can kick big bags of goals. He’s kicked double figures in a game three times now, there’s not many others.”
Hall also believes the prolific Swans and Eagles midfields will help Franklin and Kennedy.
“Take a look at the Swans against the Giants on Saturday,” Hall said.
“Sydney had the ball inside 50 truck-loads, they had a plus 20 advantage with Kennedy, (Dan) Hannebery and (Kieren) Jack all pumping the ball in. With the game opening up and those midfielders look out.”
The Swans are averaging 119 points after three wins to start to the season, up from 91.2 a game last year.
By season’s end he could be knocking on the door of the top 10 with a cluster of goal scoring greats now within his sights including Hall himself, who is 14th with 746 goals.
If he maintains his average of 3.2 goals a game, Franklin would need another 88 to reach 1000.
“I reckon Buddy could get to 1000 easily,” Hall said.
“He’s going to kick 50-60 goals in a bad year. Touch wood with injury and health all he needs to do is play and he will kick goals.“He’s a rapid fire goal scoring who can turn games on their head. It is certainly a realistic achievement to get to 1000 I’m very confident about that.”
Hall believes Tony Lockett (1,360), Gordon Coventry (1299) and Jason Dunstall (1254) are all out of reach but Gary Ablett Sr (1030) and Doug Wade (1057) are both within Franklin’s capabilities given a good run with injury and health.
“He might need to adapt his game in a few years,” Hall said.
“His body is still pretty good and he hasn’t really been banged around with the style of game he plays, he doesn’t play that crash and bask key forward type of game, that helps him out a fair bit.”
Franklin is still moving well at 29 years of age but like everybody he will eventually slow down and that will be the challenge for him and the Swans long term.
“I’m not sure if he can be a sit at home full forward,” Hall said.
“Once he gets a bit older he will need to have a real think about how he will play because his biggest asset is his size and how he can get a mismatch running players around with his speed. He’s a good player so he’ll adapt but how he adapts will be the interesting thing.”
If Franklin wins his fifth Coleman medal this year he will become the first player in more than 80 years to achieve the feat with Dick Lee (10) and Gordon Coventry (5) the last to with five or more goal kicking awards.