Longmire defends Franklin’s AFL display

Sydney coach John Longmire has leapt to the defence of Lance Franklin’s goalless AFL display against Hawthorn.

The superstar forward contributed 19 disposals and six marks in last Thursday’s five-point loss to the Hawks, but couldn’t manage a major against his former side.

It was the first time in more than a year – since round eight last season – that Franklin hasn’t scored in an AFL match.

The triple Coleman medallist is currently second in this season’s running on 53 goals, two behind West Coast’s leader Josh Kennedy.

“If he kicks too many goals there’s too much of a reliance on him, if he doesn’t kick a goal it’s not enough,” Longmire said.

“We need to get the balance right.

“I think he played alright.

“If you’re talking about just goals, he didn’t kick a goal, but he contributed to quite a few and was up the ground a bit.

“It’s one thing to look at the goals contributed, but it’s another to look at the goals he was actually able to assist.”

The Swans head into Saturday’s clash with Carlton in fifth place and on equal points with three other teams.

They’ll be without defender Zak Jones, who will be sidelined for at least a month with an ankle injury sustained against the Hawks.

A decision will be made on his replacement later in the week.

“Whether it’s a couple of players who have been playing that role really well in the reserves, or just a change of roles in our senior team,” Longmire said.

The coach said Isaac Heeney may even be considered as an option at the back.

Regardless of position, 20-year-old Heeney is set to return following his two-goal, 29-disposal effort in the reserves on the weekend after he was rested against Geelong a fortnight ago.

“He’s very versatile and played really well on the weekend in our reserves,” Longmire said.

“He was really lively through the midfield.

“He played forward, but we also know he’s capable of playing back because he’s so good overhead.”

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