Lance 'Buddy' Franklin on the shoulders of fans after kicking 1000 goals. Image: Dan Coppel

Buddy 1000: The Swans' man, myth and moment

On Friday night, Lance 'Buddy' Franklin became the sixth player in VFL/AFL history to kick 1000 goals. It meant plenty to the Swans fans supporting.

Lance 'Buddy' Franklin became the sixth player ever to kick 1000 goals in VFL/AFL football. He might well be the last. On Friday night,Edge of the Crowdhad someone in the thick of the action.

Buddy Franklin has been a star of the game for almost his whole career. Very early on, it was clear that he would be a truly special full forward.

In 2008, he became the first player in almost a decade to kick 100 goals in a season. The fans rushed the field, and Buddy had 225 goals to his name.

It was an early taste of the superstardom that Buddy would create, as one of the most magnetic figures in the game.

He was one of the few players who seemed to be a chance at a goal every time he wheeled around onto his left boot, as long as he was within 70m of goals.

And there was a reason that people had that expectation. Because he delivered. Regularly.

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Buddy is the latest in a line of spectacular full forwards that have played in the red and white for the Swans since they relocated to Sydney 40 years ago.

Warwick Capper, Barry Hall, and the greatest full forward of all time, Tony Lockett.

Lockett was the last player to perform feats that brought the crowd onto the stadium when he kicked his 1300th goal at the SCG.

Coming into Friday, Buddy needed four goals to become the sixth player into the 1000 goal club.

For years, in a Hawthorn guernsey, Buddy tormented Geelong. And in the years since he switched to Sydney, he has thrived against Geelong.

Coming into the Round Two matchup, Buddy had played the Cats at the SCG twice, and kicked four goals each time.

When it started slowly on Friday night, it looked as if Buddy's streak was coming to an end.

In the dying moments of the first quarter, Franklin found a goal, after winning a free kick for a push in the back.

The momentum slowed in the second quarter, as Buddy failed to get in on the action. He was well held by Jake Kolodjashnij and Tom Stewart as Geelong gave extra focus to stopping the milestone man.

But something changed in the third quarter, and partway through, something clicked.

In a matter of what seemed like moments, Buddy reeled off two goals, to put himself one curved kick away from the magic moment.

The crowd scattered, moving from the upper decks down to ground level in anticipation of the moment.

Over the three quarter time break, it seemed like three-quarters of the crowd migrated to the lower bowl, this writer included.

As the fourth quarter unfolded, the crowd was in every moment. There were audible boos when Buddy came off at the interchange for a break.

The tension was palpable as he arrived back on the ground. And then, the moment.

A mark, at the Member's End, across the ground from where Lockett kicked.

The crowd were on the ground before the ball was through the posts. And out in force, with estimates of 15,000 or 20,000 people out on the ground.

They took in the moment en masse, with the milestone man swarmed by adoring fans.

The crush was crazy, as Buddy, and his teammates tried to make it to the club race to get off the ground.

There was something special about the moment. At a very obvious level, the chance to see a player reach 1000 goals, and rush the field is hardly commonplace.

And there's a reasonable argument that it may be the last time that a player reaches that milestone.

For Swans fans though, it meant something more. Buddy was a huge addition for the Swans, almost a decade ago when he signed.

He signed as the Swans were contending at the top of the competition, with the hope that he would deliver another premiership, and be the spearhead for years to come.

The Swans haven't managed a premiership in that time, but the recruit has been far from a failure.

He celebrated the moment with Josh Kennedy, and Callum Mills, and Isaac Heeney. Kennedy was already a leader of the club when Franklin arrived, and Heeney and Mills have been designated the future from the Sydney Swans Academy since that time as well.

Franklin was the star the Swans needed when he did arrive at the club, but as his contract comes to an end, whether or not he plays again next year, the club now has stars it can lean on.

Homegrown stars like Isaac Heeney and Callum Mills have already reached superstardom, and young guns like Errol Gulden and Braeden Campbell are on the way.

Part of the growth of those stars has been fuelled by Franklin and his profile. Those stars have grown with the success of the Swans, and the magnetism of Franklin.

The moment last night, was just that. It was recognition of the achievement, but also a recognition of so much more that has come from the Swans, and will come in the future.

Whether or not Buddy plays on next year, and whether or not Buddy brings home a premiership for the Swans, he will have been a glowing success for the club, and every fan who stormed the ground last night was a reflection of that.

And how special it was.