SYDNEY Swans superstar Lance Franklin says he's been in constant contact with former teammate Jarryd Roughead since the Hawthorn forward's skin cancer scare.
The pair played in two premierships together for the Hawks in 2008 and 2013, and it's clear the two forwards share a special bond.
Roughead will be missing when the Swans and the Hawks meet on Saturday night at ANZ Stadium while he recovers from surgery, but Franklin says his mate has never strayed far from his thoughts.
"The period Roughead is going through at the moment … I've been on the phone to him constantly to see how he is and see how he's tracking; he's been quite incredible really," Franklin said.
"He's getting some really good support around him to help him through this tough period.
"Obviously Roughy and Jordan Lewis, and Josh Gibson and all the senior guys at that football club have been a big part of my life for a long period of time."
Franklin goes into the round 16 clash against his former side just two goals shy of the 700 mark, but Buddy wasn't too keen to talk about the milestone, careful not to put any more pressure on himself.
"When I get to 700 we can talk about it then, I'm not saying anything," Franklin laughed.
The three-time Coleman medallist and six-time leading goal kicker at Hawthorn insisted he'd just be happy to get on the scorecard against the side he represented 182 times.
"It's always tough to kick goals against the Hawks - last time I didn't kick a goal, so fingers crossed I'll be able to kick a couple this week," Franklin said.
"If not, there's an even spread of goal kickers up forward; we've got Goodesy (Adam Goodes) kicking a few, and a few others too, so it's all about getting other blokes involved in the game."
If the Swans lose this week they will be replaced in third spot by Hawthorn, which could have significant implications later in the year, and Franklin says the importance of the game hasn't been lost on the players.
The result carries even more weight given the Swans will travel to Perth to take on West Coast next week, and if they can't win at least one of those games, their spot in the top four, and a potential home final, will be threatened.
"I respect Hawthorn a huge amount - they've won three premierships, they're an unbelievable outfit," Franklin said.
"The competition at this stage is so tight that if you drop a game you can drop out of the four, so you have to be on your game at all times, and play the best football you can to stay at the top.
"This week is a massive game for us, the week after that is a massive game for us, and the weekend again after that is huge, so we just have to look after our bodies, get ourselves right mentally and physically and go from there."
A one-game suspension thanks to a high bump on Richmond's Shane Edwards in round 13 didn't hurt Franklin's form - he returned to kick three goals from 17 possessions against the Brisbane Lions last week.
The West Australian says he had no problem with the ban, and doesn't feel he needs to alter his game to make sure it doesn't happen again.
"It was head-high contact and the AFL have said that any head-high contact you're going to miss weeks," Franklin said.
"In the end, you make that split second decision to not make head-high contact and you'll be fine."