A MYSTERY prankster has tested the patience, and diet of Sydney Swans star Lance Franklin, determined to make sure Buddy's goalless effort against Melbourne on Saturday night didn't go unnoticed.
Franklin didn't kick a goal against the Demons, the first time he's failed to register a major in a game since round four last season, and it didn't slip under the radar of his teammates inside the relentless inner sanctum of the footy club.
"One of the boys actually put some donuts in my locker this week, so I had a bit of a laugh at that, so it was quite funny," Franklin said at training on Tuesday.
Match preview: Swans v Cats
Zeros in Buddy's goals column have been a rarity across a glittering 210-game career at Hawthorn and the Swans, where he's won two premierships, been named All Australian on five occasions, and won three Coleman Medals.
Apart from his rookie season in 2005 when he went goalless six times, the West Aussie has only missed the scoreboard for multiple games in a season three times (2006, 2009, 2013), and has twice (2007, 2008) kicked a goal in every game for the year.
In other words, last week's result on a personal level isn't exactly weighing on Buddy's mind ahead of Saturday night's huge clash with Geelong at ANZ Stadium.
"It's all about a team game and playing your role for the football club, and if you don't kick goals, you don't kick goals," Franklin said.
"I think my form has been OK, but there's still a lot of improvement, not only in me, but in all players on our list.
"Tippo kicked his four and we had a couple of midfielders who kicked goals, so it was just a super team effort by the boys on the weekend and it's going to have to be that way against the Cats."
A healthy Kurt Tippett has spent more time in the ruck this season, leaving the forward 50 more open for Franklin to roam free. The pair's dynamic might have changed slightly in 2015, but Franklin says it hasn't diminished the value of the Swans' star duo; in fact it's only been enhanced.
"When Kurt goes into the ruck he gives us a good contest in there, and he's also really good at ground level which is good for the side," Franklin said.
"He played up forward down in Melbourne on the weekend against the Dees and bobbed up and kick four goals for us, which was really important."