I don’t need to justify Swans move: Buddy

He craves it and will do everything in his power, but Lance Franklin says he does not need an AFL premiership to justify his move to Sydney.

And coach John Longmire has declared the superstar’s mega salary is warranted whether the Swans win Saturday’s grand final or not.

The Swans have made the season-decider twice in the three years since Franklin was recruited on a $10 million, nine-season deal, missing out only last year when the 29-year-old took time out from finals to deal with mental health issues.

There’s been an external perception among some that the Swans need to win a premiership to justify the mammoth investment on Franklin.

But Longmire has rubbished such talk, explaining his biggest star was recruited to help with the club’s regeneration.

“There’s no team that would ever think that and no team ever will, and certainly not the Sydney Swans,” Longmire said.

“He was recruited because we knew we were going through a transition phase as far as some older players going out the door, some stars of the past and some younger players coming through.

“We thought he could help us be competitive. I think he’s certainly helped us be competitive.

“He was really keen to come to Sydney and they’re the reasons why … we know it’s about a full team effort, the full 22 this week.”

When Franklin contests his fifth grand final, against the Western Bulldogs, the 2014 decider will still be fresh in his memory.

Despite booting four goals – his biggest grand-final haul – the triple Coleman Medallist and two-time Hawthorn premiership player admitted that 63-point humiliation by the Hawks still burned a little.

Yet he did not feel pressure to claim a first flag with Sydney.

“I love playing football and I’m living in Sydney now. I don’t have to justify it by winning a premiership,” Franklin said.

“If we find ourselves in that position then we’ll get the chance to win one and I’ll be doing everything I possible can to get that.

“I think it’s been a pretty consistent season for myself … but at the end of the day it means nothing.

“All I want to do is win this premiership and play in another premiership.”

The Swans’ outlay has already been returned this campaign, with Franklin delivering 80 goals to eclipse his previous best in a season for Sydney of 79 in 2014.

His towering influence has been key in leading a mostly inexperienced forward line and Longmire expected his chasing and tackling to prove daunting for Bulldogs defenders.

“He’s been terrific this year,” Longmire said.

“Not only his performances but his training – he’s been so consistent and leading our young forward line around.

“Being able to contribute both on the field but also off the field with our group has been highly valuable and it’s been great to have him playing.”

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