AAP AFL

Franklin fined, Vlastuin banned in AFL

By AAP Newswire

Sydney superstar Lance Franklin has escaped with a misconduct fine arising from their fiery AFL loss to Richmond.

The Tiger's David Astbury similarly avoids suspension but teammate Nick Vlastuin has been offered a one-game ban for striking during the Thursday night Etihad Stadium clash.

Franklin struck Alex Rance in the throat during the Swans' 26-point defeat.

Clearly-aggravated, he appeared to be provoked by Rance pressing his elbow into his throat while pinning him in a tackle.

But AFL match reviewer Michael Christian ruled it misconduct, not striking and fined Franklin $1500.

Sydney coach John Longmire was not concerned by the incident but former Geelong premiership captain Cameron Ling suspected Franklin was in trouble.

"In the throat, is that considered high impact? If it is, it might tip him into the one-week category," Ling told the Seven Network.

Astbury can accept a $1500 fine for misconduct against Tom McCartin, while Vlastuin was always going to be in more serious strife after inexplicably elbowing Luke Parker flush in the face during the third quarter.

The Rance-Franklin duel had been hotly anticipated and the pair were at the heart of the action when the game was on the line.

Franklin was gifted a simple shot on goal on the three-quarter time siren when Rance gave away a blocking free kick, then encroached on the Swans forward's set shot.

'Buddy' then outmarked Rance out of the opening bounce of the final term and slotted his fourth major to cut the deficit to four points.

It proved to be the final punch the Swans landed with goals to Kane Lambert and Shane Edwards putting the Richmond victory beyond doubt.

"I thought it was terrific," Richmond coach Damien Hardwick said of the Rance-Franklin battle.

"Both those two are champions of the game and to see that kind of battle on Thursday night footy, that's what you come to the footy to watch.

"I really enjoyed the battle and I think both those guys can walk away with their heads held high."