Sydney co-captain Kieren Jack has tipped Lance Franklin to bounce back against Collingwood on Saturday and praised their new AFL recruit’s attitude.
Franklin kicked just one goal on his debut against GWS, and many of the stories about him have concerned off-field issues and rumoured spats with teammates – all rubbished by the club.
Midfielder Jack said the barrage of headlines and innuendo that has accompanied Franklin’s move to Sydney has probably been greater than expected.
“People ask `is it a distraction?’ It is if you read the paper every day, a little bit,” Jack told the media on Thursday.
“But inside the four walls of the club, we know the direction we’re going. We know what’s going on and we’re focused on that.
“Buddy is fine. His attitude is great and the boys love having him at the football club, so that’s the main thing.
“We’re still learning to get to know him on the football field and he’s still getting to know us.
“I’m sure he’ll bounce back on the weekend.”
Jack said the Swans weren’t sure where the innuendo was emanating from, but scotched any suggestion forward Franklin wasn’t buying into the club’s culture.
“We’re rapt to have Buddy, he’s buying into what we’re all about,” Jack said.
“But there just seems to be people talking and whether it’s to try and distract the club I’m not too sure.”
Jack also expected a lift from young midfield star Dan Hannebery, another player whose off-field behaviour has attracted scrutiny.
“He knows he wasn’t at his best against the Giants and he’s trained really well,” Jack said.
“He is a proud fellow. He’s a great kid with a great attitude. I expect him to bounce back.
“I’ve had some one-on-one chats with him. It’s probably the first time in his career he’s probably had a little bit of a dip in form.”
Jack declared himself right to face the Magpies after missing the opening round loss to GWS with a back issue.
“I trained fully on Tuesday for an hour and moved well, so it’s responded well and I’m ready to go,” Jack said.
With the Magpies also smarting from a first-round loss, Jack anticipated a fierce battle on Saturday.