Lance Franklin's climb up the all-time goal-kickers' list tops a list of Sydney Swans players is one of many milestones that are likely to be reached in season 2018.
By Luke McManus
Two of the Sydney Swans’ finest servants Kieren Jack and Heath Grundy spearhead a list of players poised to notch significant milestones in 2018.
Jack and Grundy, who last year shared the Paul Roos Award as the Club’s two best players in finals, are likely to tick off their 250th games at some stage this season.
Barring any significant setbacks and if both feature in the opening round and play every game to that point in time, Grundy will reach the milestone in Round 13 against West Coast at the SCG while Jack will celebrate his in Round 22 against cross-town rivals GWS at Spotless Stadium.
Grundy has been incredibly durable in recent times which means that milestone is well within reach. The last time the 31-year-old missed a game was back in Round 9, 2015, which means Grundy has enjoyed a run of 65 consecutive games within the senior team.
Dan Hannebery, Nick Smith and Kurt Tippett are pencilled in to play 200 games while Jake Lloyd could become the third fastest player in league history to play 100.
Sitting on 92, Lloyd is on track to make his ton in Round 8 against Hawthorn, making it four years and 22 days between debut and his 100th, a period bettered only by North Melbourne's Wayne Schimmelbusch (four years, two days) and Hawthorn's Luke Breust (four years, 15 days).
Lloyd's swift rise to 100 is in stark contrast to Gary Rohan's who, by his projected milestone match, will have taken seven years and 349 days to get there. Cruelled by injuries, including a serious broken leg, Rohan's long-awaited moment is scheduled for the Swans' Round 5 clash against Adelaide at the SCG.
There are also a host of Swans who have 50 games within reach — Tom Papley, Dean Towers, Sam Naismith, George Hewett and Callum Mills.
And everyone has their fingers crossed for Alex Johnson who, stranded on 45 games for the past five seasons, is closer than ever to playing senior football again following a series of knee reconstructions.
Meanwhile, Lance Franklin's standing as one of the best forwards in AFL/VFL history looks likely to be strengthened in 2018, with the superstar poised to overtake three champion goal-kickers on the league’s honour roll.
Franklin, who turns 31 later this month, has booted a colossal 860 goals over his 271-game 13-season career, the 10th best tally in the league's history.
Peter McKenna's (Collingwood) 874 goals, Leigh Matthews' (Hawthorn) 915 and Matthew Lloyd's (Essendon) 926 are all within striking distance if Franklin can enjoy another big season in front of goal.
Having averaged 70 goals a season for the past four years and on the back of claiming his fourth Coleman Medal with a league-best performance in 2017, Franklin is poised to overtake all three in one fell swoop if the seven-time All-Australian can finish with 67 goals or more by season's end.
Franklin’s 280 goals for the Sydney Swans, in his 89 club games, ranks 12th on a Sydney/South Melbourne honour roll topped by Bob Pratt’s 681.
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