Buddy returns early for AFL pre-season

Roger Vaughan
Buddy Franklin is expected to be back to full training before Christmas

Imagine what Lance Franklin might do in the AFL with a full pre-season under his belt.

It's certainly a scenario that excites Sydney coach John Longmire.

Hamstring problems restricted the 32-year-old key forward to 10 games this season but Franklin has started his training early.

It is only a year since he captained the All-Australian team and he remains one of the AFL's biggest stars.

Yet six seasons into the monster nine-year free agency deal with Sydney that stunned the game, Franklin has never enjoyed an uninterrupted summer of training.

"He's pretty invested and he's really looking forward to being able to train, probably for the first time with the team before Christmas since he's been at the club," Longmire told SEN.

"He loves working with the younger blokes, he really enjoys that

"He's feeling good and he's getting stronger, so we're really confident that he'll be on the track in full training before Christmas, which is a great sign.

"He just wants to get himself in the best possible condition, which is great for him, but also for the young blokes who turn up and see him running around."

Longmire also spoke on Thursday about Swans small forward Tom Papley and his failed bid to join Carlton in the trade period.

Sydney were adamant throughout negotiations that the deal hinged on their attempt to recruit Essendon key forward Joe Daniher, which also did not happen.

Longmire said their starting point with Papley was that he was a required player at Sydney.

"As the process unfolded, we were working in good faith to see if something could happen and when it didn't happen it was a matter of touching base again," he said.

"Talking about it is pretty simple process; you just sit down and have a chat about it and get back into training and he's got his shoulder he needs to rehab and get back in and get going.

"That's just the way it goes, particularly with modern footy."