Lance Franklin is under an injury cloud. Pic: Getty Images
Lance Franklin is under an injury cloud. Pic: Getty Images

Swans prepare for Buddy boost

LANCE Franklin is poised to resume full training after coming through his toughest pre-season session yet but the Swans insist their star forward's lasting impact is the key consideration as D-Day looms ahead of round one.

While the Swans would dearly love the 32-year-old to line up against the Western Bulldogs next Saturday, what they desperately want to ensure is that Franklin is at full throttle and firing when the chase for glory hots up in the second half of the campaign.

A final call will be made next week with Franklin, coaching and medical staff all involved in a collaborative decision ahead of the opener.

Franklin will sit out if they believe a round-one sugar hit will risk souring the rest of his campaign.

But for now at least, Franklin remains in the running after being put through his paces at Henson Park on Thursday.

Charlie Gardiner, the Swans' head of football, was among those looking on as Franklin stepped it up.

 

"What I expect to be the case is it'll be very much a collaborative approach with Lance and Lance is very good at knowing his body," Gardiner said. "He's professional and we'll be guided by him.

"In terms of round one we haven't made a decision yet. I watched him train this morning and we will make that call next week. I can't really say whether he will or won't play. But he hasn't been ruled out, that's for sure.

Lance Franklin is firming to play in the opening round. Picture. Phil Hillyard
Lance Franklin is firming to play in the opening round. Picture. Phil Hillyard

"He's almost in full training. He did some match simulation training this morning, so he's at or around that stage of joining in full training."

While Franklin's presence would greatly boost the Swans for the Marvel Stadium clash with the Bulldogs, Gardiner stressed the club won't take any risks.

"He'll only play if he's right and we won't rush it," he said. "We'll make sure that he's fit and ready to go because we'd love him to be out there round one but we also want him to be out there in the back half of the season performing at a high level - so we have got to keep that perspective.

"The advice of the medical team and strength and conditioning team is critical to that decision-making process. It's not someone isolated making a decision. There'll be many discussions and many considerations in that decision making process."

Dan Menzel will be missing early in the season. Picture. Phil Hillyard
Dan Menzel will be missing early in the season. Picture. Phil Hillyard

Fellow forward Dan Menzel had off-season groin surgery and is yet to resume full training.

"His surgery was a few weeks later than Lance's surgery so in pure time, he's about two weeks behind Lance but he has been doing a similar level of training and he's joined in match simulation for periods this morning," Gardiner said.

"But again, it's a case of how his training progresses in the next week. A decision certainly hasn't been made. I expect if it's not round one, he'll be available early in the season, that's my expectation.

"I think they've (Franklin and Menzel) joined in for select parts of training but I think today was the biggest session they've probably done in terms of involvement in that (match simulation) type of training."

News Corp Australia


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