Franklin set to let boots do his talking

Lance Franklin is in a good head space and ready to let his boots do the talking.

Superstar forward Franklin was named on Thursday in the Swans’ 29-man squad for their NAB Challenge match against Port Adelaide.

The Hawthorn dual premiership winner and triple Coleman Medallist hasn’t played since round 23 of last season, when the club went public on his mental health issues and subsequently ruled him out of their finals campaign.

About to start his third season with Sydney, Franklin had a run in a Swans intra-club hitout last week.

Saturday’s game at Blacktown will provide the first real measure of his form and condition.

“As a lot of people have been writing, he’s had an exceptional pre-season,” Swans’ midfield star Dan Hannebery said.

“We’re really excited just by the fact that he’s in a good space and he’s looking forward to playing against Port this week.”

Franklin’s return will be the major point of interest in a game which will not feature several other prominent players from both clubs.

Port will contest the match without captain Travis Boak and vice-captains Brad Ebert and Matthew Lobbe.

Other senior stars not playing are Robbie Gray, Hamish Hartlett, Jay Schulz and Justin Westhoff.

Midfielder Jared Polec will play for the first time since round five last year.

New Sydney recruits Callum Sinclair and Michael Talia will play, but several familiar names will be missing from the side.

Among the injured Swans not participating are Ted Richards (calf), Sam Reid (hamstring), Gary Rohan (hamstring), Ben McGlynn (calf) and Jarrad McVeigh (knee).

McVeigh will be head coach of the team in place of John Longmire.

“The thing that we wanted to stress is there’s no disrespect to Port having him there,” said Hannebery, a new member of the Swans’ 2016 leadership group.

“It’s another way we can develop our leadership skills, for Macca and also the other leaders on the ground to take more of a coaching role in their different areas.

“It’s about trying to improve our communication from those points on match day.

“I’m certain the coach is going to be there to help us along the way and will be overseeing everything.

“But it’s exciting for Macca and it’s exciting for the playing group to hear another voice.”

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