Buddy Franklin called into question over actions during brutal Swans loss

The Sydney Swans forward's actions may have contributes to the loss to Port Adelaide.

Buddy Franklin, pictured here during the final play of the Swans' loss to Port Adelaide.
Buddy Franklin has been called out over his actions in the final play of the Swans' loss to Port Adelaide. Image: Getty/Channel 7

AFL journalist Mitch Cleary has called out Buddy Franklin's actions that may have cost the Swans in their heartbreaking loss to Port Adelaide. Callum Mills has copped the most heat for celebrating early and clearing space for Aliir Aliir to spoil Ollie Florent's last-gasp kick on the goal-line, which sealed a two-point victory for Port.

Mills appeared certain that Florent's kick was sailing through the goals, with the co-captain raising his arms in triumph and running out of the square. That freed up space for Aliir to come forward and tap the ball away to safety, denying the Swans a last-gasp win.

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But as Cleary has since pointed out on Twitter, Franklin may have been more at fault than Mills. The veteran forward didn't celebrate early, but came rushing into the square and cleared a Port Adelaide defender out of the way.

Franklin's actions also inadvertently left miles of space for Aliir, Charlie Dixon and Tom Jonas in the goal-mouth, with Aliir offered an easy run to spoil the kick. While Mills and Franklin may not have been able to provide enough blocking for Florent's kick to find its way into the goal, they've still come in for heavy criticism.

“Forget Callum Mills, where’s Buddy’s arm across Aliir Aliir to impede the most dangerous defender’s run at the ball,” Cleary wrote on Twitter. “Aliir is getting to it regardless of whether Mills is there or not.”

Should the Sydney Swans drop Buddy Franklin?

For Fox Footy pundit and Essendon champion Matthew Lloyd, there may be bigger concerns for the Swans regarding Franklin. Lloyd suggested Swans coach John Longmire might need to make a difficult call and drop the 36-year-old Franklin due to his indifferent form.

Lloyd also said Sydney's young forwards Logan McDonald and Joel Armartey haven't been able to strive due to Franklin's presence, with the Swans often preferring to target the veteran. “Johnny Longmire either has to drop one of the kids and he’ll probably cop it a fair bit for it,” Lloyd said.

“(Franklin) has to be (dropped). He’s not playing well. The three don’t work and then you’ve got Ladhams in the ruck so they’re just too big. They’ve got to make a hard decision, Sydney. They’ve got a lot of talent.”

Buddy Franklin, pictured here in action for the Sydney Swans against Port Adelaide.
Buddy Franklin in action for the Sydney Swans against Port Adelaide. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Lloyd suggested the Swans might need to manage Franklin's workload and rest him throughout the season. “They’re not going to cut him because they’ve got too much respect for him, but in some weeks he’s not the right option for the Sydney Swans," he added.

Discussing the final-second drama on the goal-line, Jordan Lewis said the Port Adelaide players were the only ones alert to the situation unfolding. “If you look back at that play, it was the Port Adelaide players who were in the moment, who knew what was at stake,” he said.

“They probably knew it would fall short or be right on the limit so they had to have their taller players right on the line to affect that play. Mills celebrated, Bud (Franklin) got knocked over, (Pete) Ladhams got caught behind. We sit here and just can’t believe they’ve done it. It’s an extraordinary effort.”

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