AFL manager Damien Hardwick wasn’t bothered by Lance Franklin’s slap in Richmond against Sydney

Super coach Damien Hardwick watched Buddy Franklin hit one of his players, but his reaction was not what one would expect.

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick had no problem with Lance Franklin going after Tigers veteran Trent Cotchin in the second quarter of Sydney’s exhilarating six-point win on Friday night.

Franklin scored five goals to inspire a return to Sydney for the ages but could find himself in hot water for hitting Cotchin with an open hand in the second quarter.

The Swans need everyone on deck to top the Demons’ enviable backline next week, so they’ll be keeping their fingers crossed that Buddy is available.

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While praying for the game review officer to show him some mercy, Franklin found an unlikely ally in Hardwick, who said the dust on the ball was part of the theater of footy.

“I think we like a bit of argy-bargy in the game, don’t we? Some of us do,” the three-time winning coach said.

But Hardwick stopped short of suggesting punishment — or lack thereof — for Franklin.

“It’s up to others to decide,” he said.

In a game that ended with 61 free-kicks on the stat sheet, Longmire said he was “disappointed” that Franklin gave the referees another excuse to blow the whistle.

“I’m just disappointed it was a given free-kick,” he said.

“It was our second where we had the chance to go ahead and have a shot on goal. So that’s what disappointed me. »

Remarkably well contained by Josh Gibcus in the first half, Buddy went wild as the Swans staged a comeback.

He finished with five goals in the Sir Doug Nicholls Round and won his manager’s admiration.

“He did some pretty special things,” Swans coach John Longmire said of Franklin’s performance.

“In the big moments, he was able to raise his hand and do things that very few players can do.”

When Franklin began dominating Gibcus, Hardwick traded Dylan Grimes to superstar forward, but said he was pleased with how Gibcus handled one of footy’s toughest assignments.

“I thought he was really good. He has good leg speed Josh and we rate him highly,” Hardwick said.

“It’s a good opportunity for him to learn from one of the best players.

“I think up to three-quarters of the time we did a reasonable job (on Buddy). Josh, in all honesty, probably got a little tired and then we moved Dylan onto him.

“Overall Buddy was a very impactful player, but we were also very happy with the way the kid (Gibcus) did his job tonight.”

Originally posted as Damien Hardwick not bothered by Buddy Franklin’s brain snap

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