AFL Round 14 – Richmond v Sydney: All About Buddy

Is Lance Franklin the most famous Buddy in the world?

There aren’t too many of them. Buddy Baer, who fought Joe Louis for the world heavyweight title in 1942. Buddy Holly, composer of legendary standards such as Peggy Sue and That’ll Be The Day. Buddy Rich, the jazz drummer. Buddy Guy, the jazz guitarist still plying his trade in his seventies. Buddy Love, the glamorous but obnoxious alter ego of Dr. Julius Kelp as played by Jerry Lewis in The Nutty Professor. Eddie Murphy reprised the role some years later. Some householders, such as Australian netball coach Simone McKinnis, have named their pet dogs Buddy.

Very few boys are actually christened Buddy at birth, although there must be some offspring of Hawthorn fanatics named in Lance’s honour. Our Lance was called Buddy by his family to distinguish him from his father, also called Lance.

Franklin has had his knockers in the harbour city. Paid too much, plundering Sydney’s so-called player retention allowance, compromising the Bloods’ culture, too much celebrity partying, trophy  girlfriend and dud driver. His form wasn’t too flash earlier in the season. It all started to turn around when he combined with Kurt Tippett to demolish Geelong by 110 points in Round 12. Then he booted the Swans’ last five goals in the four-point win over ladder leaders Port Power in their previous match. That made it eight wins in a row for the Swans after their undignified opening round loss to GWS.

Buddy mania, after dissipating somewhat in the last few seasons, has re-emerged in the nation’s largest city in a new and virulent form.

How are the Tigers, coming off three losses in succession and with another season down the drain, going to cope with the world’s most famous living Buddy? The task falls to Alex Rance. Rance completely outplayed Franklin when Richmond downed the Hawks in 2013. Maybe Buddy will have one of those bizarre outings where he can’t find his range and sprays his kicks all over the park. I’ve seen it before. In 2008, when he won the Coleman Medal with 113 majors, he had returns of 3-6 and 1-7 against Richmond. Will he be interested at all after helping despatch a far harder opponent last week? What’s more, the Tigers have defeated the Swans on the last three occasions they’ve met at the MCG.

Sydney follows its usual pattern of swarming around stoppages and backing its fearsome fleet of onballers to win possession. But the Tigers take it up to the premiership favourites by matching them in the clinches. In the first term they win pivotal contests and seek to circumvent the Swans’ zone defence by transferring the ball by hand and foot to the open side of the ground. It works. Rance restricts Franklin to only one possession and is raucously cheered by the Tiger faithful every time he lays a spoil or overcomes his nemesis in a marking duel.

Richmond is up by 18 points at the first change. Cotchin, Martin, Ellis and Miles are dominating. When Deledio sprints into an open goal and converts at the 17-minute mark of the second quarter the Tigers are out to a 26-point lead. Then Franklin swaggers onto the stage. He had earlier accepted a pass from Kieran Jack and despite the derisive jeers of the home fans, had coolly slotted it from a sharp angle. Now he overcomes a flailing Alex Rance and manages to juggle the ball. He shoots and that makes two. When Kieran Jack pops it through from the square just before the half-time bell a dark cloud of inevitability settles upon the stadium. Hannebury might be missing, but Kennedy, Malceski, McVeigh and Jack form what is arguably the best midfield in the business. They simply can’t be contained all night.

In the third term Franklin’s only attempt at goal results in a kicking in danger free to Rance. He picks up a few possessions ranging up the field. The Sydneysiders take the lead for the first time at the 13-minute mark of the quarter, but the Tigers grab it back when Miles roosts a goal from 50 metres out after the three-quarter time siren.

In the final term Martin has on open goal before him but misses. Riewoldt marks on the lead and also comes up short. Rance has battled fanatically to keep Franklin out of the game. Then Vlastuin decides to keep the ball in play in a pressure situation rather than rushing a behind. Franklin snaps truly from the resulting contest to put the Swans back in front. The battle rages between the midfield contingents, but Richmond can’t buy a goal. Franklin is infringed by a desperate Rance in a marking contest. He boots his fourth for the night. That’s four from a team total of nine. Last week against Port he booted Sydney’s last five goals, but tonight it’s the Swans’ final two. The goals that were needed for Swans victories. Rance matches Franklin for possessions and wins more contests than he loses. But Franklin, when in form, needs only a limited number of opportunities to pinch the game for his team. Rance is praised by all of the commentators for his efforts but his opponent receives their three votes.

They made a musical about Buddy Holly. If this Buddy can bring home another flag for the Swans I reckon someone might write one that’s all about Lance Franklin.

Comments

  1. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Excellent Greeny I for one was more than questioning the recruitment of Buddy re culture etc should have known better with the strength of there leadership group and
    Richard Collis , Buddy was breath taking against the power and then was the difference in this game ( you have mentioned every buddy I no of ) Well done

  2. Callum O'Connor says

    Don’t forget ‘Buddy Holly’ by Weezer

  3. Rick Kane says

    Buddy Ebsen – Jed Clampett, The Beverly Hillbillies
    Buddy Miles – Hendrix’s drummer
    Buddy Miller – so many things, including Emmylou’s guitarist

    They’d all look good in the bown and gold.

  4. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Lemonheads, ‘My Drug Buddy’

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