Iconic pop band The Beatles had a hit in 1964 with ‘Can’t buy me love’: while money may not be able to buy love, it sure can buy a potent forward line.
The Sydney Swans this weekend delivered an ominous warning to the rest of the competition with its 110-point defeat of the previously second placed Geelong at the SCG.
Sydney’s two key forwards, Kurt Tippett (five goals) and Lance Franklin (four goals) combined for 9.6 between them out of the Swans tally of 22.16 (148).
In the three weeks Tippett and Franklin have shared the Swans forward line, their partnership has gelled immediately and they are achieving some impressive numbers. Before the wipe-out of the Cats, Tippett and Franklin have also produced combined tallies of 6.7 (43) against Hawthorn and 8.1 (49) in the thumping win over Essendon.
Over this three-week period, the Swans have kicked an impressive 55.39 (369) compared to their opponents combined total score of 27.28 (190).
Amazingly, Tippett and Franklin together have almost scored as much as their opponents in this time, with 23.14 (152) between them.
The role of Tippett at the Swans cannot be undersold: after a delayed start to his 2013 season, he produced 35.20 in 12 games, averaging a tick under three goals per game. Along with his tally of 12.3 in three games this year, Tippett has now kicked 47 goals in just 15 matches for the Swans.
Franklin also seems to have lifted his game to another level since Tippett rejoined the side, for he has kicked 11.11 in the last three weeks. He’s also taken 10 contested marks, averaging an impressive 20.7 disposals in this time.
These numbers are far in advance of Franklin’s early games at the Swans without Tippett alongside him. In those six games, Franklin only kicked 12.8, took just three contested marks and averaged a disappointing 13.3 disposals per game.
What seems apparent now is that after a shaky start to 2014 for the Swans, the expectations for this season are rising – and talk of a third premiership in the modern era for the Swans is now very much on the radar.
Should both Tippett and Franklin remain together in the Sydney forward line in this sort of form, along with the core midfield group avoiding any major injuries between now and September, it is indeed hard to see if any side has the capabilities to stop the rampaging Swans.
While there are arguments as to the validation of the Swans extra salary-cap allowances, the extra funds are certainly being put to good use at this stage.
In turn, with the forward duo of Tippett and Franklin in the form they are in, anything short of a premiership this year will seemingly be a wasted exercise for the Swans million-dollar forward line.