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Buddy makes strong AFL return alongside new Sydney future star

Buddy makes strong AFL return alongside new Sydney future star

Sydney Swans superstar Lance Franklin says he is relieved to have made a successful return to AFL action.

Franklin hasn’t played in the senior side since Round 23 2019 after battling multiple injuries, including a pre-season calf niggle.

But the veteran Swan was at his prime on Saturday slotting three goals in a strong performance alongside a number of starring young guns.

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Buddy kicks 3 in brilliant return!
Buddy kicks 3 in brilliant return! | 01:36

“It’s amazing. Missing 18 months of football was disappointing, but to get back out here in front of a huge crowd it was just amazing,” he told Fox Footy post-game.

It was a new-look forward line for Franklin with first-year player Logan McDonald standing tall alongside Sam Reid inside 50, with the No.4 draft pick booting two goals.

Academy players Errol Gulden and Braeden Campbell both were in the best players, while others such as Sam Wicks and Chad Warner showed they are going to be impressive players for the future.

“Especially these last couple of years with me being out, it has actually given kids some opportunity,” Franklin said.

“The last couple of years we’ve really gone to the draft and picked up some really good young kids. I’ve absolutely loved every minute of it today.”

Franklin loved playing alongside the young Swan.
Franklin loved playing alongside the young Swan.Source: Getty Images

Franklin lauded the new rule changes in the competition believing it would help forwards like himself get up and down the ground, as well as help the ball move at speed.

“No doubt the man on the mark has made a difference. You can’t move at all, it opens (the game). The leading forward is back,” he said.

“It was just amazing to be back out here, it has been a stressful time for everyone, especially with the COVID and everything.

“(Pre-game I was) excited, nervous. It has been an amazing week, having my second child, a little boy. I’m looking forward to getting home to the wife and kids.”

Sydney is 2-0 and will play Richmond at the MCG next Saturday.

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