Lance Franklin is in a goal-scoring mood, expect him to blow GWS away in the AFL's first qualifying final.
The 29-year old is coming off a dominant performance against the Tigers, kicking seven goals and claiming a season-high 11 marks last Saturday as Sydney thrashed Richmond by 113 points. After missing the 2015 finals to deal with mental health issues, Buddy will be absolutely raring to take the field next weekend.
The Swan's forward is currently in the form of his life. Having scored 74 goals during the regular season, averaging 3.3 goals a game, Franklin is on track to beat his personal best of 79 for the Swans in 2014 and finish with his second biggest season haul overall, behind the 113 in 2008. Even more impressive is that this comes at a career-best 68.5% conversion rate from set shots.
Franklin will likely line up against Giants defender, Phil Davis. The GWS co-captain had an excellent game in their 42-point upset win in Round 12 and made Buddy work extremely hard for his two goals. Their personal duel will be fascinating to watch, but my money's on the Swans forward to win the encounter.
Buddy will be out for blood and you only have to look at 2014 to see how he responds to a challenge. After a terrible performance, scoring only a single goal, in the Swans upset loss to the Giants in Round 1, Franklin returned with a vengeance and slotted five goals in the corresponding Round 14 clash two seasons ago.
This year the 29-year old has added an extra dimension to his game. Buddy is playing further up the ground and has collected 64% of his possessions outside the forward 50 since round 8, having averaged only around 50% over his entire career. His athleticism in the midfield has played a major role in Sydney's minor premiership triumph.
Franklin has also had to create more of his own opportunities for a snap at goal in the latter half of 2016. While he remains the Swans go-to man in their forward 50, since Round 16 he was kicked to only 28% of the time, down from 34% over the first 15 matches. Yet another sign of improvement after their loss to GWS in Round 12.
Having been named in the 2016 All Australian side last Thursday, capping off the sixth time he has been selected, Buddy is at the peak of his powers. Sportsbet has Franklin paying 1.25 to boot a hatrick and it's hard to argue against it.
The three-time Coleman Medal winner is clearly back to his best and will be a handful for the GWS defence to try and contain. After a premature end to 2015, Sydney fans will enjoy watching the big man playing finals footy again.