Lance Franklin looks to be hitting top form at the right time, as he prepares to return to the AFL’s biggest stage..
A mental health issue meant the gifted forward didn’t participate in Sydney’s disappointing 2015 finals campaign in which they lost both their games.
However, Franklin looks to be in good shape mentally and physically after playing in every home and away game for the first time in his three seasons with Sydney.
He has kicked 74 goals and provided he stays injury-free and in good form looks likely to finish with his second biggest season haul behind the 113 he booted for Hawthorn in 2008.
After kicking 34 goals in the first eight rounds Franklin had pundits predicting he would become the first man to boot 100 in a season since he achieved the feat back in 2008.
The goals didn’t exactly dry up for Buddy from that point, but 27 majors in his next 11 matches ensured the coveted century mark wouldn’t be attained in the home and away season.
But the code’s most flamboyant player turned on the fireworks again in the run to the finals, bettering his season-best game haul of five twice in the last three rounds.
He produced a six-goal blitz against against St Kilda, supplementing that with a career-high 28 disposals.
Franklin endured just his second goalless game of the season the following week against North Melbourne.
Swans fans had nothing to worry about as he turned on a show in the final round home fixture against Richmond.
He booted seven goals, several of them on champion Tigers defender Alex Rance, and snared a personal season-high 11 marks, just two less than his career best.
Not for the first time this season it wasn’t Franklin’s goal output which drew the most praise from coach John Longmire, who lauded his star forward for his efforts throughout the season.
“He’s been good the entire year, I thought his pressure was outstanding tonight,” Longmire said after Saturday’s 113-point rout of Richmond at the SCG.
“It wasn’t about just the goals, he was working really hard up putting enormous pressure on.
“He was up and and down the ground; he’s been terrific.
“I’m sure he’s really looking forward to it (the finals).
LANCE FRANKLIN’S BIGGEST SEASON GOAL HAULS
#season not finished.