West Coast defender Sharrod Wellingham is glad Lance Franklin is weaving his magic again, but he doesn’t want the star Sydney forward to kick too many goals this AFL season.
Franklin sat out last year’s finals series while he dealt with a mental health condition, but he’s bounced back strongly this season with 18 goals from the opening five rounds.
Wellingham and Franklin have been close friends for several years, and the pair exchanged some friendly banter during Sydney’s 39-point win over West Coast at the SCG on Saturday.
“Both of our partners were here in Perth for a wedding, so he let me know they were going to be watching when he took that mark on me,” Wellingham said with a laugh.
“It makes me happy to see him doing so well. He’s someone who gets people through the gates.
“It’s good to see him out there kicking goals. Hopefully he doesn’t kick too many though, because we’d like JK (Josh Kennedy) to win the Coleman medal again.”
The Eagles slipped to 3-2 following their second loss on the road this season.
West Coast haven’t won away from home since beating Collingwood in round 16 last year, and they face a challenge to end that winless run when they take on Geelong at Simonds Stadium on May 7.
But in the meantime, West Coast will put their focus on beating Collingwood at Domain Stadium on Sunday.
The Eagles will start that match as hot favourites, but Wellingham said Carlton’s shock win over Fremantle on Sunday was proof that no game was a certainty.
“If you’re just a few per cent off, you’re going to be shown up,” Wellingham said.
Prized Eagles recruit Lewis Jetta was quiet against the Swans with just 13 disposals and a fluffed shot on goal, but Wellingham said the speedster was providing plenty of value to the team.
“He’s really good in terms of structural compliance and doing everything the team needs,” Wellingham said.
“Obviously we’d love to see him running down the wing and burning off players, but that’s not the only reason we’ve got Jetts in the team.
“He’s there to offer a bit of maturity and experience, and he’s doing that really well.”
Wellingham missed the first four rounds of the season after copping a knock to his knee during an intraclub match in February.
The 27-year-old former Magpie said he spent longer on the sidelines than first expected in order to ensure the injury wouldn’t flare again.
Wellingham tallied 22 disposals against the Swans, and he’s aiming to boost his output over the coming weeks.