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Shayne Hope

Doubts over Franklin for AFL farewell year

Geelong defender Jack Henry outplayed Lance Franklin in the GFL grand final. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

AFL greats have cast doubts about how effective Lance Franklin will be during his farewell season after a horror finals series exposed the legendary Sydney forward's declining mobility.

Franklin boldly announced a one-year contract extension in the days leading up to Saturday's grand final, which could have been the crowning moment of his initial nine-year mega-deal with the Swans.

But to say Franklin's sixth appearance on the big stage didn't go to plan is an understatement.

The 35-year-old was blanketed by Geelong defender Jack Henry and managed just one behind from five disposals; his equal-lowest tally since his debut season.

It came as the Swans slumped to an embarrassing 81-point defeat - their third in a grand final since Franklin's arrival from Hawthorn at the end of 2013.

Franklin's statistics throughout this year suggest he isn't done yet.

The left-footer kicked 52 goals from 23 games, and became just the sixth player in history to reach 1000 career goals.

But poor finals displays against the Cats and Melbourne - when Franklin was towelled up by Steven May - have raised concerns ahead of what is set to be his last AFL campaign in 2023.

"Leigh Matthews made a great point after the game when he said that (Franklin's) athleticism has allowed him to play as a running, mobile forward, but he hasn't got that anymore," Essendon great Matthew Lloyd told the Nine Network.

"He has to play like a key forward for the rest of his career, and that's not what he is.

"They (Geelong) played Jack Henry on him, who's got the mobility to go with him, but then he (Franklin) hasn't got the aerial ability.

"It's going to be a real challenge for him next year.

"He has to play like a Jonathan Brown or a (Wayne) Carey in his last year, which he isn't, because he can't move like he used to."

Franklin managed just two goals from 23 disposals across three finals matches, with both majors coming in the second quarter of the Swans' preliminary final win over Collingwood.

"Two of his worst games in the whole of his career have come in this finals series," Port Adelaide 300-gamer Kane Cornes told the Nine Network.

"Firstly, he was badly beaten against Steven May and yesterday he just had the butter fingers early, wasn't reading the ball in flight.

"Whilst there wasn't a whole lot of opportunity for him, he's clearly not the same player that he was."

Henry found out on Wednesday he would be playing on Franklin, who he idolised before being drafted, but said plans were initially for he and Sam De Koning to share the job.

"I played on him when he kicked his 1000th goal (in round two) and he gave me a bit of a bath that day," Henry said.

"Nothing much sort of changed. I was a bit rustier earlier in the year. I just needed to get to his body and try my best to beat him in the air."

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