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Saga of the slippery Sherrin solved as Swans fan returns ball to SCG

Marc McGowan, March 29, 2022 6:30PM Kids News

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Lance “Buddy” Franklin is mobbed by supporters after kicking his 1000th goal during the 2022 AFL Round 02 match between the Swans and the Geelong Cats at the SCG on March 25, a milestone made even more memorable by the ball’s temporary disappearance. Picture: Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images media_cameraLance “Buddy” Franklin is mobbed by supporters after kicking his 1000th goal during the 2022 AFL Round 02 match between the Swans and the Geelong Cats at the SCG on March 25, a milestone made even more memorable by the ball’s temporary disappearance. Picture: Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images

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Buddy Franklin got his ball back – but not before one lucky Sydney Swans fan, Alex Wheeler, briefly snaffled* it.

Franklin put the ball – affectionately known as a Sherrin*, the official AFL football brand – through the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) uprights* on Friday night for his historic 1000th goal and Mr Wheeler returned it to the superstar forward on Monday.

APAC Sports Pictures of the Week - 2022, March 28 media_cameraLance “Buddy” Franklin of the Sydney Swans celebrates kicking his 1000th AFL goal at the SCG last Friday. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

There was initial panic when the match ball went missing, with the Sydney club posting a call-out on social media for its return, but Mr Wheeler said he always intended for it to be handed back to Franklin.

Had the ball not been recovered*, the AFL and the Sydney Swans would likely have got involved to encourage Mr Wheeler to bring it back.

There was debate* in the 24 hours afterwards among footy fans as to what they would do if they were in his position, with most saying they would return it.

Buddy’s Sherrin was valued at about $200,000 on the open market and Mr Wheeler said on Monday he was encouraged in some quarters to sell it but felt that “wasn’t right”.

“I want to see it back at the SCG,” he said.

media_cameraThe moment Sydney Swans fan Alex Wheeler caught the Buddy Franklin 1000th goal ball at the Sydney Cricket Ground was caught on camera. Picture: file image

Recalling the moment, Mr Wheeler said Franklin’s 1000-goal ball struck him in the head – leaving him with “a little bruise” – as fans all around him frantically tried to grab it.

He was one of thousands of spectators who jumped the fence to mob the man of the moment on the SCG surface and said he even “had a couple of handballs to myself” on the field.

Mr Wheeler left the ground with his temporary souvenir soon after.

His mate, Matt King, who filmed Mr Wheeler marking the Sherrin on the night, effectively ended the ball’s unscheduled off-field adventure on Saturday, when he posted on Instagram that the footy would be back in Franklin’s hands this week.

Lance Franklin back at the SCG where the match ball he kicked his 1000th AFL career goal was returned to him by fan Alex Wheeler. Buddy signed a jumper, boots and ball for him and as well Alex received a five year membership from the Swans and an SCG membership for his gesture of returning the ball. Photo by Phil Hillyard (**NO ON SALES**- ©Phil Hillyard) media_cameraThe match ball was returned to Franklin by fan Alex Wheeler. The AFL star signed a jumper, boots and ball for Mr Wheeler, who also received a five-year membership from the Swans and an SCG membership for his gesture of returning the ball. Picture: Phil Hillyard

The Swans had earlier invited Wheeler to attend training, meet Franklin and present the Sherrin to him.

Franklin became just the sixth VFL/AFL footballer to reach the 1000-goal mark behind Tony Lockett (1360), Gordon Coventry (1299), Jason Dunstall (1254), Doug Wade (1057) and Gary Ablett Sr (1031).

The 35-year-old’s fourth and final goal sparked mayhem* for about half an hour, with excitable* fans storming the SCG to celebrate the special moment.

GLOSSARY

  • snaffled: taken, nabbed, claimed
  • Sherrin: Sherrin has been the official ball of the Australian Football League since 1897
  • uprights: goalposts
  • recovered: found, restored to rightful owner, regained
  • debate: discussion, argument, exchange of different opinions
  • mayhem: chaos, extreme disorder, havoc, bedlam
  • excitable: easily roused, quick to react, unpredictable

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QUICK QUIZ

  1. What historic milestone did Sydney Swans player Buddy Franklin reach and where?
  2. What position does Franklin play?
  3. The missing Sherrin was estimated to be worth how much on the open market?
  4. How many other VFL/AFL players have scored as many goals?
  5. Who is the reigning record holder and how many goals did he achieve in his career?

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. Buddy’s ball
What do you think Buddy Franklin will do with this ball now that it is returned to him?

If you had marked the ball, would you have given it back?

Why do you think this football could be worth as much as $200,000?

Time: allow 10 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Critical and Creative Thinking

2. Extension
Many football commentators and spectators are saying they won’t see another AFL player kick 1000 career goals as Buddy Franklin has just done. Why do you think this might be the case? Explain your answer.

Time: allow 10 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Personal and Social

VCOP ACTIVITY
Imaginative dialogue
Imagine you were there during the event being discussed in the article.

Create a conversation between two characters from the article – you may need or want to include yourself as one of the characters. Don’t forget to try to use facts and details from the article to help make your dialogue as realistic as possible.

Go through your writing and highlight any punctuation you have used in green. Make sure you carefully check the punctuation used for the dialogue and ensure you have opened and closed the speaking in the correct places.

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