This week Lance Franklin has the most talked-about groin in footy. Picture. Phil Hillyard
This week Lance Franklin has the most talked-about groin in footy. Picture. Phil Hillyard

Why all eyes are on Buddy

SYDNEY will pull out all stops to get Lance Franklin on the park for Saturday night's blockbuster against Hawthorn, with the Swans putting a premium on clinching a top-four berth.

Franklin is nursing a tight groin but given he has only trained for 20 minutes all season, playing hurt has become second nature for the superstar forward this season.

If the Swans' fate for the finals were already set in stone, it's hard to imagine Franklin being risked this weekend when there's a bye week to follow.

However, the fact Sydney is playing the Hawks for an all-important top-four finish has heightened the stakes and made the Swans desperate for Franklin to push through.

The Western Bulldogs famously won the flag from outside the top four, but as far as Swans coach John Longmire is concerned, securing two bites of the cherry in the playoffs is absolutely critical.

Longmire says he has enormous faith in the resilience of Franklin's battle-hardened body.

Lance Franklin at Swans recovery on Monday ahead of Sydney’s huge clash with Hawthorn this week. Picture. Phil Hillyard
Lance Franklin at Swans recovery on Monday ahead of Sydney’s huge clash with Hawthorn this week. Picture. Phil Hillyard

"We're certainly hopeful and if anyone can play we tend to back Buddy in because he's just got the ability to get himself up week in and week out," Longmire said.

"He's shown it for a long time and we'll give him every chance to play this week and we'd obviously love him to play.

"The last couple of minutes of (last week) his groin tightened up a little bit, but if you understand what he's able to play with during the year, you're usually pretty confident in his ability to get himself right.

"We'll have a bit more of an idea on Thursday but (if he needs more time) we'll give him to game day."

Longmire was not trying to water down how critical Saturday night at the SCG could be to the Swans' finals chances - with Channel 7 reacting to the size of the battle by making the landmark decision to move the clash to its primary channel in Sydney.

It goes without saying that Sydney's chances of finishing in the top four would plummet if Franklin was sidelined.

Swans Harry Cunningham, Gary Rohan, Tom Papley, Isaac Heeney, along with coach John Longmire, pose with co-founder of Buy A Bale Charles Alder. Picture. Phil Hillyard
Swans Harry Cunningham, Gary Rohan, Tom Papley, Isaac Heeney, along with coach John Longmire, pose with co-founder of Buy A Bale Charles Alder. Picture. Phil Hillyard

"There's no question a top-four spot is an enormous carrot for all of those teams that are now locked into the finals," he said.

"If you have a chance to have control of your own destiny which we do, and Hawthorn do … there's a bit on the line this week and we'd be keen for Lance to play if he can obviously."

Sydney are joining forces with the SCG Trust on Saturday night to raise money for the NSW Farming crisis, with the Swans foundation having already pledged $10,000.

With 100 per cent of the state in drought and the entire country in danger of running out of hay, the SCG Trust is planning to pledge a dollar for every person who comes through the gates at the SCG and at Allianz for the NRL clash.

Sydney will donate all guernsey's from the match to auction and fans can text the word 'footy' to a campaign hotline to donate to the cause.

"We know it's not a replacement for rain but hopefully it makes some communities and families feel like people in the city are thinking about them," Longmire said.

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