• Lance Franklin ended the AFL regular season as the leading goalkicker. (AAP)
Sydney superstar Lance Franklin looms as a key factor in Friday night's AFL semi-final clash against Geelong at the MCG.
Source:
AAP
14 Sep - 7:58 PM 

Key tips for AFL defenders playing against Buddy Franklin: whatever you do don't let him goal side of you and bring reinforcements.

The Sydney superstar and 2017 Coleman Medallist looms as a key factor in Friday night's semi-final against Geelong.

Collingwood back man Tyson Goldsack has had the unenviable task of playing on Franklin on a few occasions and he says there are many issues to consider.

"Although he's tall his biggest strength is his agility and his ground work," Goldsack told AAP.

"Players of his stature (199cm) are usually really strong in the air but he's more dangerous when the ball hits the ground and at stoppages.

"That's why you find some coaches put a smaller defender on him to try and beat him on the ground but it's a fine line because if you go too small he can still beat you in the air.

"That's the key, how much aerial strength do you give up to try and get him around the ground and at stoppages?

"When he gets the ball he wants to turn onto his left and get going back towards goal, so you want to try to stay goal side of him and keep him up the ground.

"If you can do that that's at least half a win and you go from there.

"It's tough to do that for a whole game though."

Cats key defender Tom Lonergan will almost certainly renew his long-standing rivalry with Franklin.

The retiring veteran has enjoyed more success than most when it comes to curbing the Swans star.

So why does Lonergan do well where others have failed?

"Tom is a good match up for Buddy ... he generally gets some good body work in on him early," Goldsack said.

"Take nothing away from Tom, he's a great defender, but he gets a lot of support, which is really important.

"Guys like Harry Taylor or Andrew Mackie get across to support him in the air and then help out when the ball comes to ground as well.

"You just have to get numbers around the footy too.

"There's lots you need to try to do to curb his impact, but if you can it goes a long way to beating Sydney."