Franklin an early spark as Swans hang on

·3-min read

A fired-up Lance Franklin bounced back from an unusually quiet final to spark Sydney's explosive opening to the AFL preliminary final against Collingwood as they held on for a one-point victory at the SCG.

Franklin was heavily involved and booted two goals as the Swans set up what proved to be just enough of a lead against the Magpies after going scoreless for the first time in a final when the Swans overran Melbourne.

But 35-year-old Franklin arguably saved his biggest impact until the dying moments when taking a strong contested mark against two opponents on the wing with less than two minutes remaining and the Pies surging.

"What a finish, wow. Well done to our boys," Franklin told Fox Footy.

"They fought really hard, they were a really good team. We knew they were going to come and they did.

"It's been an unbelievable season. Going to the grand final, that's the most pleasing thing. That's what we play footy for. We have to be at our best next week.

"It felt longer than thirty seconds, that's for sure."

The star forward was soundly beaten and restricted to seven disposals by Demons' defender Steven May in the qualifying final, but topped that in the first half with as many touches, five marks and 2.1 against the Pies.

Franklin's second major was his 74th in 27 finals to equal Richmond legend Jack Titus for the third-most goals in finals.

Hawthorn spearhead Jason Dunstall's total of 78 is now within reach in the grand final against Geelong, while Collingwood full-forward Gordon Coventry finished with 111 goals in finals.

Franklin had the better of a running battle with Brayden Maynard until Jeremy Howe was switched onto him late in the second term, with Darcy Moore given the task after the main break.

The undersized Maynard looked to rough up and distract Franklin at any opportunity and the Pies' hardman was even seen wiping oil from the Swans' forwards arms after his second goal.

Franklin responded with controlled aggression while having an influence in the first half both inside 50 and when involved in the Swans' transitions through the middle of the ground.

He played a crucial role in the second goal of the match to Dylan Stephens after finding space in the centre square, and helped bring the ball to ground 10 metres from goal for Ryan Clarke to kick another just moments later.

Moore limited Franklin's impact after the main break after minding the Swans' young forward Logan McDonald and veteran Sam Reid in the first half as the Swans pushed to a 30-point half-time lead.

The grand final against the Cats will be Franklin's sixth appearance in a decider after winning two premierships when at Hawthorn but losing on the main stage twice since moving to Sydney ahead of the 2014 season.

"He's played in grand finals before, he gets an opportunity to play in another one," Swans coach John Longmire said.

"He knows how hard they are to win too. He respects the stage."

Franklin is out of contract after this season and is said to be considering his options of playing into a 19th AFL season.