Buddy Franklin’s insane AFL goals milestone after historic Swans horror show

The Swans spearhead's milestone night was spoiled by the Saints, who consigned Sydney to a stunning AFL first.

Buddy Franklin.
Buddy Franklin moved up to fourth on the all-time AFL goalkicking ranks, but his 350th game was spoiled by the Saints. (Photo by Matt King/AFL Photos/via Getty Images )

Sydney Swans superstar Buddy Franklin moved up one place on the AFL's all-time goalkicking list during Thursday night's loss to the Saints, but he had to do so the hard way. In the process of recording an impressive 14-point win over the Swans at the SCG, St Kilda managed to hold the home team to a remarkable first.

Never in the club's history of playing at the SCG had the club been held scoreless in the first quarter - but that's just what the Saints managed to accomplish on Thursday night. The Swans have been held scoreless in any quarter on one other occasion in their history in Sydney.

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Fans derided the spectacle in the first quarter, with the Saints only booting 1.1 for the quarter themselves, leaving some to fear it would be a somewhat dour defensive contest. Fortunately, the game opened up in the second quarter, the Swans seizing the lead as they kicked five goals to three to take a half-time lead.

Franklin was key to that, kicking two of those as he surpassed Doug Wade four fourth on the all-time leaderboard with his 1058th major. Only Tony Lockett, Gordon Coventry and Jason Dunstall sit above him.

The 36-year-old had paid an emotional tribute to his family and teammates prior to his 350th game, with the Saints unfortunately going on to spoil the party. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my … sorry guys, I’m getting a bit emotional … my parents,” Franklin said through tears.

“I wouldn’t be here today, play this amount of games. They were the ones that drove me to and from training, dropped me to games at a young age and got me to where I am today.

“To (wife) Jess, my two beautiful kids, you’re the reason I play this great game and still have that passion to get out there and perform each week.

“And then to the boys and this great footy club. I’m just so passionate and love this club and everything it stands for. Let’s go out there and have a really good win tonight.”

Key defender Callum Wilkie clamped down on Franklin after the star forward threatened to spark the hosts, as the Saints (8-4) booted five goals to two in the final term to overrun the Swans.

Swans left to rue costly 50m penalties as Saints snap SCG losing streak

Jack Sinclair (32 disposals, seven clearances) was superb for the Saints, whether winning the ball at stoppages or starting their ball movement from defence, while Brad Crouch (33) and Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera (30, one goal) were also important.

Max King finished with three goals as Mitch Owens and Dan Butler both booted two, while Rowan Marshall (16 disposals, 51 hitouts) dominated in the ruck as the Saints snapped a seven-match losing streak at the SCG going back to 2009.

"Sometimes you have got to respect the conditions and how difficult it is. That ball is like soap, then you've got these bodies flying around," Saints coach Ross Lyon said. "We hit the scoreboard pretty well in the second half. In the last quarter, I thought we dominated, didn't we, when we kicked 5.4."

Buddy Franklin celebrates a goal with Sydney Swans teammates.
Buddy Franklin kicked two goals against the Saints, but it wasn't enough to stop the away side from storming home in the final quarter. (Photo by Matt King/AFL Photos/via Getty Images )

Swans coach John Longmire was left frustrated after the Saints kicked two of their final quarter goals as a result of 50m penalties. He said both had come at a 'crucial' time.

Onballers James Rowbottom (24 disposals, nine clearances) and Chad Warner (24, six) battled hard in the absence of Swans co-captains Luke Parker and Callum Mills, as young midfielder Angus Sheldrick (19, eight) enjoyed a breakout game. Oliver Florent (34, five) and Justin McInerney (22) also stood out with their outside run and clean ball use, while goalsneak Tom Papley joined Franklin on two goals for the Swans.

"We gave five free-kick goals away and I think we had 11 free kicks against us in the first quarter," Longmire said. "Five free-kick goals, it's extraordinary numbers. Two 50m penalties in the last quarter, pretty key moments in the game. That was very costly."

With AAP

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