Hawks greats love watching 'Buddy' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hawks greats love watching 'Buddy'

By Roger Vaughan 24/09/2008 07:37:28 PM Comments (0)

They are Hawthorn and AFL legends, three of the greatest figures in their club's storied history.

But when it comes to watching Lance "Buddy" Franklin and his on-field exploits, Leigh Matthews, John Kennedy and Peter Knights are no different to the rest of us.

The trio all made it clear they are in awe of Franklin, who could be the difference in Saturday's grand final against Geelong.

He won his first Coleman Medal this season as the league's leading goalkicker, kicking 102, and that led to his first All-Australian award.

Matthews, newly-retired as Brisbane coach and Hawthorn's greatest player, has previously lauded Franklin's freakish abilities.

Speaking at a Hawthorn club luncheon, Matthews amused his audience as he described his previously-torn emotions.

"In the deep recesses of my soul, when I was coaching against them, I almost wanted to go to the footy to watch him play," he said.

"It was almost like my dark side coming out, I almost felt ashamed - I didn't say it in public, I didn't even want to present it to myself."

Kennedy coached Hawthorn to their first premiership in 1961 and also coached another Hawks goalkicking machine, Peter Hudson.

Asked to compare the two players while he was on stage at the lunch, Kennedy said Franklin, like Hudson, had the ability to attract fans to the game.

Kennedy said Franklin still had a long way to go, but admitted he was exciting to watch.

"He (Buddy) generates a certain level of excitement that hasn't been in football," Kennedy said.

"He runs after the ball, he turns around, he's right out on the boundary and he kicks vaguely in the direction of goal.

"You watch it and watch it and watch it and it's a goal - people jump up in excitement, even I do."

Kennedy also immediately noted that Franklin will have an easy set shot at goal, but regularly miss.

Knights pointed out that the Hawks have a long tradition of No.23s who have performed well in the finals - John Peck, Don Scott and Dermott Brereton.

"There's no doubt the guy wearing No.23 this week, I feel he's going to have a fair impact on the game," Knights said.

"It's exciting - he'll only be one player (among) 21 others and, as we all know, it will be a team effort that's going to win the grand final.

"But I've got a feeling we're going to see the No.23 in a few highlight reel tapes in years to come for this last (Saturday) in September."

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