Buddy 'desperately needed' at Swans: Longmire

·2-min read
Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS

An injured Sydney side "desperately needed" star player Lance Franklin despite him being bed-ridden in the days before the Swans' defeat to Fremantle at the SCG.

Coach John Longmire said the decision to pick a "really sick" Franklin was due to Sydney's growing injury list, leaving him with no other choice.

"I spoke to him (Franklin) Friday afternoon at 4.30 and he had spent all day in bed, he wasn't going to play," Longmire said.

"And just because of the competitor he is, and knowing that we didn't have any other options, he said, 'I'd like to play'."

Franklin struggled during the side's defeat against the Dockers last Saturday with the forward failing to kick a goal for the second consecutive week.

It's the first time in a decade one of the AFL's greatest players has failed to goal in back-to-back games.

"Clearly at 36 it's a challenge for him, but he knows that we desperately need him. We desperately need him at the moment," Longmire said.

Last year's runners up have had to make several changes, with their tall forwards and co-captains Callum Mills and Dane Rampe ruled out.

Key forward Aaron Francis was in line to start in Franklin's position but the coach made the decision to play him down back.

"In our VFL team, all of our forwards were of 180 centimetres," Longmire said.

"There was no one else.

"For him (Franklin) to be able to climb out of bed last week and get on the footy ground was just extraordinary."

The 2012 premiership coach urged people to moderate their expectations but dismissed talks around whether Franklin was a spent force, having played on for longer than he needed to.

"His ability to be able to play like he did 10 years ago, I think everyone has to sit back and just understand that that's not the case. The expectations have to be adjusted," Longmire said.

"He knows that we need him out there, and we love him at his very, very, very best.

"But there's also an understanding that whatever he can give us is something that we're really fortunate to have.

"And our team sports to be able to have a player like Lance be able to get out there and give us whatever he's got, and understanding that whatever he's got, is a real bonus for us.

"The realistic opportunity for us at the moment is we need him playing and he's doing everything he can to get himself right every week to get out there."

The Swans are looking to reset after four straight losses in their next match against a struggling North Melbourne on Saturday.