Sydney coach John Longmire has hailed Lance Franklin’s character and resilience as the Swans superstar enjoys his finest start to an AFL season since his magical 2008 campaign.
After missing last year’s finals while battling mental demons, Franklin has bounced back in extraordinary fashion to be leading the Coleman Medal with 29 goals in seven games.
The dual premiership-winning forward is on track to become the first player to boot 100 majors since he achieved the feat while helping Hawthorn to the flag eight years ago?
“There’s no question he had a challenging off-season as far as getting himself right to play a consistent brand of footy at the start of the year and he’s been able to do that and it’s full credit to him,” Longmire said.
“There’s no no doubt that the club and his family were really supportive around that time and continue to be, and we’ve always said that that support will always continue.
“But, most importantly, he’s driven that by himself to a large degree as far as his willingness to talk, to listen, and then go about his training in the off-season.
“He’s been so consistent in regards to his ability to put training sessions together and now we’re seeing the benefits of that in the season itself.
“That’s been a really pleasing aspect.”
Longmire commended Franklin not only for his own goalkicking prowess, but for the 29-year-old’s leadership qualities during the Swans’ impressive six-from-seven start to the season.
“He’s leading the young forward line that we’ve had in the season to date and giving them great advice and instruction on game day, which is really good,” said the coach.
“But we know (his challenges are) always ongoing and we’ll continue to support Lance as he continues to prepare as good as he’s preparing at the moment – which is of a really high standard.”