Buddy Franklin has been slammed after a horror performance in the Swans’ 81-point thrashing at the hands of the Cats in the AFL Grand Final.
Although not the only player to endure the nightmare in a game what was all but over at quarter-time, Franklin is the Swans’ biggest name player and couldn’t stand up in the match.
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Champion Data rated Franklin the worst player on the field in the Grand Final and the ex-players on the Channel 9’s Sunday Footy Show are painting a bleak view of his future in the game after announcing he’d signed on for another season earlier in the week.
Former Port Adelaide 300-gamer Kane Cornes appeared to suggest Franklin was being selfish earlier in the week for announcing his extension after a long drawn out saga.
“I’m fascinated by the scenario around it,” he said on Footy Classified earlier in the week.
“If I’m being super critical, I think this is an individual thing to do to announce it.
“He should have waited until after the grand final, but that’s being incredibly picky on an absolute legend of the game.”
He had been critical of Franklin throughout the process, calling the saga a “me, me, me” thing to do after he pushed a decision back until “after the season is done” in August.
Although still the biggest name in Sydney and one of the biggest in the entire AFL, Franklin had five possessions for the game, kicking just a single point when be hit the post from close range early in the second quarter.
Cornes was part of the Port Adelaide side that was beaten by 119-points by Geelong in the 2007 decider, the AFL/VFL record.
He said the loss “wrecked the club for a good five to six years”.
Although not suggesting the same would happen to the Swans, he said the loss highlighted Buddy Franklin is not the player he once was.
Having signed a new one-year extension in Sydney earlier in the week, Cornes said the legend’s future would be “a big discussion point” from the match.
“Two of the worst games in the whole of his career have come in this finals series,” Cornes said.
“Firstly badly beaten by Steven May (against the Demons). Yesterday, had the butter fingers early, wasn’t reading the ball in flight.
“While there wasn’t opportunity for him, he is clearly not the same player he was. He’s signed that one-year contract extension. It will be interesting to see how that plays out for him and the club next year.”
AFL journalist Damian Barrett said it was interesting Franklin had lost four of his six Grand Finals and three straight for the Swans.
“It just goes to show, a guy who will be legend of the game at a very early stage once he retires has lost double the amount of grand finals he’s won,” he said.
Essendon great Matthew Lloyd said Franklin’s final year could be a struggle as at 35-year-old, he’s not the player he once was.
“He had a really solid year, he kicked his 50 goals,” he began.
“But Leigh Matthews made a great point after the game. He said that his athleticism has allowed him to play as a running mobile forward but now he hasn’t got that any more. He has to play like a key forward for the rest of his career. And that’s not what he is.
“They played Jack Henry on him yesterday who has the mobility to go with him but he hasn’t got the aerial ability. It is going to be a real challenge for him next year.
“He has to play like a Jonathan Brown or a Carey in his last year which he isn’t because he can’t move like he used to.
“He was totally within his rights to go on but you hate seeing players struggle in their final year.”
It paints a bleak picture for Franklin going forward particularly when he had arguably the moment of the season when he kicked his 1000th AFL goal.
The Swans have been widely panned for their Grand Final performance.
Controversial Cats great Sam Newman branded the performance “almost insulting to the fans”.
“The Swans were disgraceful. Not because they lost, but because ostensibly the game was over at quarter time and they played the most ridiculous football I’ve ever seen.”
Co-captain’s Dane Rampe and Callum Mills said Sydney “we failed you today” and “feel pretty embarrassed” by the result.
Coach John Longmire said: “We really let ourselves down and our supporters down.”