SYDNEY is hopeful Lance Franklin will be ready to stride into a full pre-season running program in January as the superstar veteran ramps up his comeback campaign.
Franklin failed to play a game in 2020 as a serious hamstring injury and subsequent groin trouble kept him sidelined.
But the Swans are confident the key forward, who turns 34 in January, can get back on the park next season.
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"Our main aim at the moment is getting him really strong through the core," Sydney coach John Longmire told SEN radio on Monday.
"He's such a big man and we want to make sure he's really strong through that area and he gets himself in the best possible shape and has the strongest possible foundation before we get to the real strong running phase, which we hope will be in January."
Franklin still has two seasons left to run on the monster nine-year deal he signed with Sydney upon leaving Hawthorn at the end of 2013.
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He managed just 10 games in 2019 and had hoped to play a key role in a regenerating Swans team this year before being cut down again by injuries.
"We took him away with the aim to having him playing this year," Longmire said.
"This time last year he was absolutely flying, so we had high expectations that he'd get back and play.
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"But we were over in Perth (in August) and there was a training session there where he just pulled up a bit sore and we said that's enough now.
"We needed to try and make sure we reset him and get him really strong to see how he can go for a tilt at the 2021 season."
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Longmire also confirmed Sydney are still considering handing former No.1 draft pick Paddy McCartin a career lifeline ahead of December's national draft.
Repeated concussion issues forced the 24-year-old ex-St Kilda forward to step away from football at the end of 2019.
"We've looked at him and we're going into the draft and rookie draft with all options open," Longmire said.
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"There's been no guarantees made. We just need to make sure we keep everything open."