Sydney coach John Longmire has hailed his “humble superstar” Lance Franklin after the forward became the sixth VFL/AFL player to kick 1000 career goals.
Franklin brought up the milestone with his fourth goal against Geelong on Friday night and was mobbed on the field amid extraordinary scenes of adulation following a mass invasion of fans at the SCG.
The match had to be stopped for 33 minutes as the players and then the crowd slowly made their way from the field to allow for the final five minutes of the contest to be completed.
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“I’ve never seen that. I’ve never been a part of that. That was one of the most special moments you’re going to get or that I can look back on,” Longmire said.
“We’re all privileged to, in my instance coach Lance, but also the players that he’s played with over the years at both Sydney and Hawthorn.
“We’ve just been able to watch one of the all-time greats go about his business.
“He’s played for Hawthorn and us and been a star at both clubs, and a star of the game.
“He’s a very humble superstar. They’re always the best types.”
Franklin had only one goal to his name at the main break and needed to kick three more in the second half to reach the milestone at the Swans’ home ground, rather than aiming to do it next week at Marvel Stadium against the Western Bulldogs.
With the Swans in command, Franklin’s milestone became the focus for much of the crowd and once he kicked two goals in the third quarter a chant of “Buddy” was heard around the ground just before three-quarter time.
“1000 goals wherever it was kicked was going to be pretty special,” Longmire said.
“To have our home supporters be witness to that and to be a part of that was pretty special.
“Plenty of people talk about ‘Plugger’ [Tony Lockett], that they were here and where they sat. I’m sure the same thing will be talked about in the future with Lance.”
Longmire said he was focused on the match rather than the milestone throughout much of the game but admitted to getting caught up in the moment when Franklin was on 999 goals.
“It did creep into my mind just at the last little bit when a couple of the boys had the ball inside 50, I might’ve said once or twice, ‘kick it to Lance’,” Longmire said.
“I probably shouldn’t have said it but it’s just a special moment.”
After Franklin kicked the 1000th goal and a sea of fans in red and white washed over the SCG, players from both teams gradually made their way to their changerooms although two Swans were forced to make an unexpected detour .
“When [Franklin] first comes off there was some stories,” Longmire said.
“A couple of the players, I think Chad Warner and Oli Florent, were walking down Driver Avenue [outside the SCG] in their footy boots because they went out another exit and couldn’t get back into the changerooms across the ground.”
Warner will also go down in folklore as the Sydney player that kicked the ball to Franklin for a mark and set shot that turned out to be his 1000th career goal.
“For those young blokes, what a great moment to be a part of that,” Longmire said.
© AAP 2022