Franklin's rising form bad news for Essendon

The debut of Sydney's high-priced forward-line pairing has been hailed a success by John Longmire, and prospects are high for more scoring riches on Friday against Lance Franklin's bunny, Essendon.

Franklin needs six goals to become the 28th man to reach the 600 mark and, based on his recent performances against the Bombers, there is a strong chance he will achieve that milestone at Etihad Stadium.

As a Hawk, Franklin owned the Bombers, against who he kicked eight goals the last time they played, last year, and also boasts twin bags of nine in 2007-08.

Franklin has polled 12 of a possible 18 Brownlow votes in his past six games, consisting of four best-on-ground performances and in the other two matches he booted hauls of five. His average of five goals a game in 10 outings versus Essendon is his best against any club and his tally of 50 goals against the team is surpassed only by the 56 he has booted against Collingwood, who he has played four more times.

If this is not ominous enough for the Bombers, the Swans were not afraid last Friday of targeting Franklin and their other prized recruit Kurt Tippett.

Champion Data stats showed the Swans, who had 65 forward-50 entries, kicked the ball inside 50 to Franklin 15 times, while Tippett was sought on 10 occasions. The combined total of 25 is the equal highest tally between two players this season. Furthermore, there have been only 10 games since 2010 where that total has been exceeded.

The pair generated 13 scoring shots between them for a score of 6.7, which could have been far higher if not for Franklin's erratic ways in front of goal.

Longmire said he was happy with how the duo fared in their first appearance together.

"They haven't trained much together, let alone played much," he said. "It certainly helped that our midfield played well and we were able to get a good quantity of inside 50s and able to get plenty of the ball down there, which makes a big difference.

"They semed to work it out pretty well, they'll have theirs ups and downs during the season like any players in any part of the ground will, but we thought on the weekend they did pretty well."

Franklin and Tippett were limited to goal-kicking practice at Swans training on Monday but Longmire said all players had pulled up well from last week's game.

Longmire said Franklin's goal-kicking, with a return of 2.7, had suffered because of a lack of training after injuring his knee.

"It's like any profession, if you're not working at your craft it makes it really difficult to improve that or maintain your standards, and he wasn't able to do that," Longmire said.

"Last week he was able to do some training and this week he'll do some more training, and he'll continue to do more training – that means he'll get better results."

Franklin, who has received goal-kicking tuition from former sharpshooter Nick Davis and Ben Moore from the Swans Academy, is practising a straighter approach to goal and minimising a pronounced natural arc to the left.

"The biggest aspect is actually getting out there and doing it," Longmire said. "It's a bit about techinique, but it's also about how you feel."

The Swans have ruled out Mike Pyke for another week because of a hamstring problem, which means mature-age recruit Tom Derickx will again shoulder the burden of the ruck duties.

The Bombers have been hot and cold this season, but Longmire noted they were good enough to push Hawthorn to four points and catch Collingwood on the hop early on Anzac Day.

Essendon will be without Paul Chapman, who was given a one-match ban by the match-review panel for striking.

This story Franklin's rising form bad news for Essendon first appeared on Brisbane Times.