Lance Franklin says he now tries to make every AFL kick for goal count, after revealing he was previously blase about his approach to the code’s most valuable skill.
Sydney forward Franklin has kicked more goals that any other present AFL player with his tally of 780 placing him 12th on the all time list.
He has kicked 74 this season, putting him second in the Coleman Medal, six goals behind West Coast’s Josh Kennedy.
“The last year-and-a-half to two years, I’ve really given it (kicking for goal) a little more thought, because I feel that if you’re going to have five or six shots a game, or whatever it is, you really want to make it count,” Franklin said on Monday.
“Probably when I was a little bit younger I was a bit blase, I didn’t really care about it too much.
“But the last couple of years I’ve really tried to concentrate on it and make every kick count.”
A year after missing the finals because of a mental health issue Franklin is clearly in a happier frame of mind and excited about returning to the code’s biggest stage.
“Yeah, it’s been nice, it’s been a great year and everything is going along really well, I’m just looking forward to finals,” Franklin said.
He attributed his strong form to having his first full pre-season in three years at Sydney.
“That’s really helped me and put me in good stead for the season so far,” Franklin said.
“The first couple of years (at Sydney) I’d play and then I wasn’t able to train, just because I hadn’t done a pre-season.
“It just takes you a little bit longer to recover.
“On the back of having a good pre-season I’ve been able to back it up and train during the week which helps.”
He is revelling in directing a youthful forward line made up primarily of first and second year players and converted midfielders.
“I’ve really enjoyed that role of being a leader amongst the forward line,” he said.
“The best thing about these young boys is they want to listen and they want to learn and every game they are growing.”
Franklin has kicked almost three times as many goals this season than any other Swan, but pointed out four of his teammates had booted at least 20, while another has kicked 19.
He rates fellow Swan Isaac Heeney as one of the best young players he has seen.
“The way he launches at a ball for a guy that is 184 centimetres is unbelievable and he’s got a great set of hands,” Franklin said.
“He’s a kid that always wants to learn and he wants to get better and I love playing with him.”