Buddy or the King? Two of the greatest forwards in AFL history.
Buddy or the King? Two of the greatest forwards in AFL history.

Who’s better — Buddy or Carey?

John Longmire played with Wayne Carey and coaches Lance Franklin, but don't ­expect him to reveal who he thinks is the better player.

Not yet, anyhow.

Longmire initially laughed at the craziness of the question.

 

 

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"I will reserve judgment until Lance is finished,'' Longmire said.

"I won't be coaching him then, and then I can make a ­decision.

"But they're close. There's not much in it."

Carey is widely considered one of the greatest players to have played the game, a claim that also sits comfortably with Franklin.

Carey played 272 games and kicked 727 goals, was a powerhouse centre half-­forward, highly skilled on both sides of the body, a ­prodigious kick and superb pack mark.

And a leader on the field of the highest calibre.

 

 

 

Franklin has played 300 games and kicked 944 goals, does not mark like Carey, and never uses the right side of his body.

But he is dynamic on the deck, agile, and arguably a more penetrating kick than Carey. He has become a strong leader.

"I just can't call it now," Longmire said.

 

 

 

Franklin, 33, needs 56 goals to become the sixth player in VFL/AFL history to kick 1000.

The five are Tony Lockett (1360), Gordon Coventry (1299), Jason Dunstall (1254), Doug Wade (1057) and Gary Ablett Sr (1031).

Whether Franklin begins the quest for 1000-goal greatness in Round 1 against Adelaide remains to be seen.

 

Longmire was a long-time teammate of Wayne Carey’s at North Melbourne.
Longmire was a long-time teammate of Wayne Carey’s at North Melbourne.

 

He had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in early January.

Longmire told the Herald Sun Franklin had undertaken a heavy training block to ­ensure he was available for the Round 1 game against Adelaide, and that his body would stand up for the entire season.

In 2019, Franklin played just 10 games after enduring a groin injury before the ­season and hamstring ­issues throughout. He missed seven matches before playing his milestone 300th game in the final round.

"We've got to make sure we train Lance so he doesn't just stand up for Round 1, but he gets miles in his legs so he becomes resilient to soft-tissue injuries," Longmire said.

"So we had to make sure we put a block of training into him."

 

Longmire has overseen the best years of Lance Franklin’s career. Picture: AAP
Longmire has overseen the best years of Lance Franklin’s career. Picture: AAP

 

The Swans followed the same process that allowed Franklin to play his 300th.

"People said we just played him because of his 300th, but it wasn't about that at all," Longmire said.

"We put the hammer down in a training sense and played him to make sure he had a good off-season.

"If we had just put the cue in the rack and said, 'Worry about it next year, Bud, don't train in the back end of the year', if that happened, we're not really sure what his body would be like (in pre-season).

"But we trained him hard and played him in the last game and then he had a ­ripping off-season. He was training really well."

Franklin will miss the Marsh Community Series match against Greater Western Sydney this weekend and is doubtful for Monday week's game against North Melbourne.

If he does play against the Crows, he is likely to do so without having played a pre-season match.



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