All-Australian nod puts Buddy on cusp of history

2 months ago 17
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Lance Franklin could be on the verge of becoming the first man ever to clinch a ninth All-Australian blazer, after the superstar Sydney forward was named in the 2021 squad of 40.

Franklin is one of six men who have achieved All-Australian honours on eight occasions in the carnival era, along with Gary Ablett senior, Gary Ablett junior, Robert Harvey, Mark Ricciuto and Patrick Dangerfield.

Western Bulldogs guns Marcus Bontempelli and Jack Macrae, Melbourne's Max Gawn and Christian Petracca, Geelong spearhead Tom Hawkins, West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui and St Kilda captain Jack Steele are all vying for back-to-back selections in the All Australian team of 22, set to be revealed on Thursday.

Melbourne (seven players) and Brisbane (five) have earned the most squad nominations in the league, while Richmond, Collingwood and North Melbourne are the only clubs with zero.

Superstar Sydney forward Lance Franklin launches for goal. (Getty)

Franklin is joined in the 40-man squad by Swans teammates Luke Parker, Callum Mills and Tom Papley, in an indication of Sydney's meteoric rise back up the ladder in 2021.

Franklin has earned All-Australian squad selection for the first time since 2018, the year in which he was named captain of the 22-man team.

While a torrid run of injuries meant the four-time Coleman medallist played just 10 games in 2019 and zero in 2020, he's made an emphatic comeback this season.

The 34-year-old is sitting equal-fourth on the goal-scoring leaderboard with 48 majors at the completion of the regular season.

Franklin booted six goals in Sydney's 87-point annihilation of the Gold Coast Suns at Docklands Stadium on Saturday, taking his career tally to 992 majors.

The former Hawk is striving to become just the sixth man in VFL-AFL history to have kicked 1000 goals, along with Tony Lockett, Gordon Conventry, Jason Dunstall, Doug Wade and Gary Ablett senior.

Gun Western Bulldogs midfielder Marcus Bontempelli. (Getty)

The All-Australian selection panel consists of Gillon McLachlan (non-voting chairman), Andrew Dillon, Chris Johnson, Glen Jakovich, Warren Tredrea, Cameron Ling, Jude Bolton, Matthew Richardson, Nick Riewoldt and Kevin Bartlett.

All-Australian squad of 40:

Aliir Aliir, Karl Amon, Marcus Bontempelli, Charlie Cameron, Bailey Dale, Sean Darcy, Lance Franklin, Bayley Fritsch, Max Gawn, Toby Greene, Tom Hawkins, Jacob Hopper, Rory Laird, Jake Lever, Jarryd Lyons, Jack Macrae, Hugh McCluggage, Harry McKay, Steven May, Zach Merrett, Touk Miller, Callum Mills, Tom Mitchell, David Mundy, Nic Naitanui, Clayton Oliver, Tom Papley, Darcy Parish, Luke Parker, Christian Petracca, Daniel Rich, Christian Salem, Paul Seedsman, Jack Steele, Tom Stewart, Jake Stringer, Sam Walsh, Jacob Weitering, Ollie Wines, Dayne Zorko

Sydney champion Lance Franklin celebrates booting a goal. (Getty)

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