Collingwood icon Nathan Buckley has teed off at fans of the AFL club for their incessant booing of Sydney Swans superstar Buddy Franklin at the MCG on Sunday. Franklin, a likely Australian football Hall Of Fame legend, had a goal-less game as the Magpies powered home in the final quarter to seal a 11.11 (77) to 6.12 (48) win.
However, the AFL great was targeted in ugly scenes by a section of Magpies fans, who relentlessly booed his every touch of the footy. Sydney coach John Longmire and his Collingwood counterpart Craig McRae were among those to hit out at the treatment of the 36-year-old champion, who is playing what is expected to be the final season of a decorated career.
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Many fans described the treatment of the AFL great as "disgraceful" and "disgusting", with Buckley insisting that Franklin deserved to be "celebrated" for everything he's achieved in the game. The former Magpies coach described the Pies' fans as being ignorant and bigoted for their treatment of Franklin and called on fans to help redeem the club in the near future.
“If we get another chance, I hope Collingwood fans that aren’t ignorant and that aren’t bigots – because there will be some booing – stand up and applaud every time he gets a touch and try and drown that (booing) out,” Buckley said on Monday morning. “That’s exactly what the stars of the game and his status in the game deserves.
“We were gifted an opportunity to celebrate this undisputed champion and a section of the faithful chose to denigrate. I don’t think that we took the opportunity to do the right thing and take the higher ground.”
Not a great fan of Bucky but hats off to him for calling out the disgraceful booing of Buddy, one of the games greats.
— MrMouse (@MrMouse29547759) May 8, 2023
— Liam MacDonald 🦢 (@LiamMac79) May 7, 2023
Pretty disgraceful booing a legend of the game for probably his last match at the mcg ever. Papley I get because he’s a pest sorta like ginnivan. But grown adults booing buddy is just pathetic. Better ways to enjoy a game than stoop that low.
— CamBox (@CameronBOX2018) May 7, 2023
Anyone who thinks Collingwood fans have got better is kidding themselves. Booing Buddy Franklin is a disgusting blight on them and the game. He is better than them, and any of their players or fans will ever be #aflpiesswans
— Tim Boyce (@BoyceTim) May 7, 2023
Why were we booing Buddy yesterday? A champion of the game! A champion of his indigenous family! When are we going to grow up? I am a lifetime supporter of the Collingwood FC and with Darcy Moore at the helm, now is the time.
— Donna Thornycroft (@DonnaThornycro2) May 8, 2023
Buddy Franklin the latest AFL star to cop the boos
Collingwood fans were the first to boo Port Adelaide young gun Jason Horne-Francis earlier this season and it became a weekly occurrence, eventually prompting a heated response from Power coach Ken Hinkley, among others. Sydney's coach said after the game against the Pies that he couldn't understand why opposition fans would target Franklin in that manner though.
"I don't know why they would - why were they booing him?," Longmire said post-match. "You'd probably celebrate a 36-year-old, wouldn't you, who's been a champion of the game? It's been 10 years since we've played Collingwood here ... it doesn't make sense."
A career-best five goals from Brody Mihocek, including a spectacular mid-air soccer strike in the last quarter, plus an outstanding captain's game from Darcy Moore and Jack Ginnivan's second-half cameo, highlighted the Magpies' win.
The win keeps the Magpies at the top of the ladder, while the Swans have lost three in a row and are struggling with a 3-5 record. Mihocek was the only multiple goal kicker in the tricky conditions and the Magpies sealed the win with five goals to one in the last term.
"Like the last two or three games, our pressure in the last quarter goes to another level," McRae said. "Teams right now are struggling with that."
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