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'All-time great' Buddy to celebrate landmark 350 games

Lance Franklin will play his 350th game this weekend. Picture: Jonathan Di Maggio.

Fans who missed Lance 'Buddy' Franklin's 1000th goal have been urged to embrace another chance to witness history.

Sydney superstar Franklin will become the 22nd player to reach 350 AFL games when he steps onto the SCG turf against St Kilda on Thursday night.

Since his 2005 debut, the forward has kicked 1057 goals, earned four Coleman medals, won two premierships and captained the All-Australian team across 182 games for Hawthorn and 167 for Sydney.

Swans coach John Longmire says the St Kilda clash is about one thing: celebrating the 36-year-old.

"Very rarely do you get a chance to see one of the all-time greats run around their 350th game."

"In the modern era, with game styles the way they are - being so hard to kick goals - him being the absolute stand-out makes him quite unique.

"To be at the very top of the goal-kicking tree as well is a special tribute to a great player."

Franklin requires one more goal to pass Doug Wade in outright fourth spot on the all-time VFL/AFL goal-kicking list.

Franklin's inclusion in the Pride Game will make him the fourth Indigenous player, after Shaun Burgoyne, Adam Goodes and Eddie Betts, to reach 350 games.

"The fact that he's one of the all-time great Indigenous players is not lost on anyone," Longmire said.

"We've had Michael O'Loughlin, Adam Goodes and Lance Franklin - some of the very best Indigenous players who have ever played the game."

The forward was met with boos during a match in May but unlike similar events which saw Goodes leave the game, all sides denounced the fans' boorish behaviour.

"The game's come a long way, but it's still learning," Longmire said.

"Lance is still loving the fact that he can get out there and run around with his teammates at 36 years of age as one of the all-time greats."

Franklin has historically loved playing the Saints in milestone games at the SCG, booting 9.4 against them in his 200th in 2014 and 4.2 in his 300th in 2019.

St Kilda coach Ross Lyon was adamant the occasion wouldn't carry Sydney home.

"Emotion can only last so long," Lyon told reporters.

"He's handy isn't he. I love watching him play (but) we're here to crash the party."

The Swans will enjoy a bolstered backline as co-captain Dane Rampe returns following his neck injury while Angus Sheldrick has also been summoned, with Luke Parker (suspended) and Lachlan McAndrew (dropped) to miss.

St Kilda recalled livewire Mitch Owens and Marcus Windhager to replace Hunter Clark (knee) and Ben Paton (omitted).


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