Buddy’s ‘finest performance in red and white’
PORT Adelaide say it will take a team effort to contain the superstar Lance Franklin when it takes on Buddy and the Swans at the SCG on Sunday, and Jarrad McVeigh agrees.
The former Swans skipper says he's never seen Buddy play as well as he did against the Eagles in Perth and declared his eight-goal performance his finest in red and white.
"That's the best game I've seen him play for the club," McVeigh told The Daily Telegraph.
"It was an unbelievable game. The goals were fantastic, but his ability to make a contest against two or three opponents, especially in the last quarter, and his chasing and work rate, was right up there.
"It's right up there with one of the best all-round performances I've seen from anybody."
Franklin's goals filled the highlight reels, but McVeigh said they were just the tip of the iceberg and it was Franklin's work rate that was his driving force.
Champion Data revealed his work off the ball was as impressive as it was with it in his hands. Franklin's 29.1 forward-half pressure points was elite for a key forward and his stats were comparable to midfielders'.
Former teammate Tom Mitchell broke the AFL record for possessions in a single game with 54 against Collingwood on Saturday, but Buddy, playing at full-forward generated more SuperCoach points, 175 compared to Mitchell's 167.
McVeigh believes Franklin should be recognised for the labour that creates the opportunities to shine.
"For a big key forward to keep fighting through two or more defenders - there is no secret to why he's such a great player," McVeigh said."
"He just keeps on fighting and I'm glad he's on my team."
Buddy turned 31 in January and should be starting to show signs of wear and tear but there were none to be seen.
Sunday's was his 51st match in a row and he hasn't missed a game since 2015.
"He certainly doesn't look like he's declining at all," McVeigh said
"It's only one game but we're all seeing the same thing.
"Even though he had those three operations at the end of the year, he had a great pre-season. He kept himself as fit as I've seen him through boxing and other workouts.
"He certainly didn't want to get behind in what he was doing and when the matches come around he's in his element.
"He rarely plays a bad game."
The Buddy love appears to be infectious, with AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan declaring the Swans should extend his contract beyond it's current nine-year term, which expires in 2022.
"Having seen the way he played on Sunday they should extend him,'' McLachlan said.
"We are lucky to have a player like Lance Franklin playing our game. He's a physical specimen like I haven't seen.
"Andrew Ireland and Andrew Pridham would be smiling now and look like they're on the right side of the deal.
"To see someone with his speed and size is rare in international sport and we're lucky to have him."