They kept him behind closed doors at training on Wednesday, but the Sydney Swans are hopeful of having star forward Lance Franklin back on deck for the AFL clash against Collingwood at the SCG.
The Swans play the Magpies on Friday for the first time at the famous ground in 15 years due to the Sydney club’s deal with ANZ Stadium.
Franklin missed last weekend’s 32-point loss to Geelong due to a back injury and while media didn’t get to see him train on Wednesday, he was expected to have a hitout when the cameras and journalists departed.
Midfielder Dan Hannebery was asked about Franklin’s prospects of taking on Collingwood.
“Hopefully, I think he’ll train today and we’ll see how he pulls up,” Hannebery said.
“Whether he plays this week or not, I’m not entirely sure, but no doubt he’d help though.
“I actually haven’t spoken to him but he was pretty jovial this morning, if that means he’s going to train and play, I’m not quite sure though.”
Franklin kicked three goals in the Swans’ win at the SCG two weeks ago but struggled with a sore back during the match, the injury preventing him from playing against West Coast in Perth a week earlier.
Swans officials are hoping for a big crowd at the SCG in what is a crunch game for the fifth-placed hosts, who were replaced in the top four by the Western Bulldogs after the loss to the Cats.
Collingwood sit in 11th place and six points outside the top eight and come into the match after defeating Carlton by 18 points, recording their first win in seven matches.
Hannebery is expecting a tough game.
“Their win-loss record probably doesn’t reflect the footy they’ve played. I think they’ve only just come up short against Freo and the Hawks and have played some really good footy throughout the year,” he said.
“We know what we are up against and obviously their midfield is a super-star midfield and it’s going to be an extremely tough test.”