The Swans are not deviating from their plan of giving Lance Franklin a break when his body needs it but this weekend’s Sydney derby is not the time.
If Sydney were to rest the superstar forward then a game at an icy, windswept Mars Stadium in Ballarat, where hail has been predicted, off a six-day break would seem the ideal opportunity.
Also expected to line up at Mars Stadium on Saturday is Giants skipper Stephen Coniglio, who returns after a long-term ankle injury, but weary warhorse Shane Mumford faces two to three weeks out with a back problem.
After managing just 10 games in 2019-20, Franklin has proved the nay-sayers wrong by playing in 12 of the Swans’ 16 matches this year, the last nine in a row.
The Swans say they will take no risks with the superstar forward, who, with 33 goals in 12 games in his march to the magical milestone of 1000, remains an integral part of their team, but nor will their decision making be impacted by something as fickle as the weather forecast.
As far as the club’s high performance staff is concerned, if Franklin can complete the strength work between games, clock enough minutes on the track and feels ready then he plays.
“He did some running yesterday and looked really good so that’s a good sign,” Swans coach John Longmire said on Wednesday. “We’ve got training tomorrow. We’ll see how he goes tomorrow and if he feels good then he’ll play.”
The fixture has not been unkind to Franklin, who has had to overcome just two six-day breaks, which came back to back heading into the bye. The Swans’ next six-day break will come going into round 20 when they play Franklin’s whipping boys Essendon on a Friday night.