Swans hopeful on Franklin AFL return

Star Sydney forward Lance Franklin is on track to return for Saturday’s crunch clash with Adelaide at the SCG, but the fate of ruckman Mike Pyke is up in the air.

Franklin was a late withdrawal from Sunday’s 52-point loss to West Coast in Perth after injuring his back at training on Friday.

Coach John Longmire says the injury is minor, and he expects his star charge to return against the Crows.

But Pyke is likely to be a week-by-week proposition for the rest of the season because of a dodgy knee.

Pyke was subbed out at three-quarter time against the Eagles, having tallied just four disposals and 11 hit-outs.

The 31-year-old missed his side’s 89-point loss to Hawthorn a week earlier because of the knee issue.

“He’s had ongoing knee problems,” Longmire said.

“We knew at the halfway point of the year that it was going to be an issue for him to try and manage the back-end of the year, and it’s going to be.

“It has gradually gotten worse as the year’s gone on, and he’s just going to have to manage it.

“What that looks like we’re not sure.”

With Kurt Tippett (hand) still injured, 20-year-old Toby Nankervis could be forced to lead the ruck against Adelaide if Pyke can’t play.

Of more immediate concern to Longmire is Sydney’s poor form, which has seen them slump to three losses in their past five games.

The fourth-placed Swans are now in danger of being leapfrogged by either Richmond or the Bulldogs in the coming weeks.

But coach John Longmire isn’t giving up on his side’s flag hopes just yet.

“We worry about what we can control,” Longmire said.

“There might be a two or three week period where one team is written off, and one team is looking like a premiership chance. But it tends to change.

“We need to make sure we keep focusing on our improvement areas.”

Lewis Jetta hit the headlines in Sunday’s match when he directed a war dance at Eagles fans after kicking a fourth-quarter goal.

Jetta performed the dance in retaliation to the crowd’s relentless booing of fellow indigenous star Adam Goodes.

West Coast coach Adam Simpson said he was surprised that some people in the crowd booed Goodes throughout the match, but he hoped it was just a small minority of Eagles fans who took part.

* All Offers and Promotions posted in this article excludes NSW residents.
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