AFL news 2022: Brisbane Lions respond to Buddy Franklin bombshell

AFL news 2022: Brisbane Lions respond to Buddy Franklin bombshell

Brisbane is reportedly the frontrunner to secure the signature of veteran forward Lance Franklin in 2023, with Lions players already planning how they would best use his talent.

Franklin is reportedly set to turn his back on the Sydney Swans for a deal with the Queensland-based club, according to a report by Nine on Thursday night.

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“It’s my understanding that Franklin has informed the Swans that he won’t be playing in Sydney next year,” Nine reporter Michael Atkinson said.

“Franklin and his wife Jesinta have a desire to move their family up to Queensland to be closer to family on the Gold Coast. But it’s not the Suns where he wants to keep playing, Buddy wants to win more premierships and he’s identified Brisbane as the club most likely to help him achieve that goal.”

Franklin is a restricted free agent, meaning the Swans are able to match any bid. The 35-year-old has reportedly been seeking a fresh deal worth between $700,000 and $800,000, a figure the Swans baulked at.

According to the Nine report, Franklin’s management has already entered into discussions with the Lions, but a club official told the Herald Sun they had not yet spoken to the eight-time All-Australian.

“But if he wants to move to Queensland we would have a chat,” the spokesperson said.

Speaking to Triple M On Friday, Brisbane morning Jarrod Berry revealed the players’ group chat lit up after the Franklin news broke.

The Lions already possess two left-footed forwards in Joe Daniher and Eric Hipwood, but Berry believes there is room for two-time premiership player Franklin.

“I was talking to the boys on text last night, we reckon we just line them up on the right side of the ground and kick it long,” Berry said.

“Yeah it definitely would be pretty special … you grow up watching these guys.

“Even Hodgey (Luke Hodge), being able to play with him was one of the highlights of my career.

“It’d be awesome if Buddy came.”

When asked last month if he would be interested in securing Franklin’s services, Lions coach Fagan said: “I’ve had an association with Bud, so I’ll be pretty happy to have him here, but that’s just purely from my perspective.

“We’ve never had a conversation about it because we’ve never ever thought that would be on the cards.

“I would imagine that Sydney and he would work something out, but the way he’s looked this year, he still looks like he’s got some good footy left in him so we’ll see how all that goes.”

On Thursday evening, Swans chief executive Tom Harley said contract talks were progressing with Franklin, confessing the report linking Sydney’s star forward to Brisbane was “news to him”.

“There’s nothing to announce, but there’s nothing untoward at the same time (on Franklin’s future),” Harley told 3AW.

“There’s no hurry from our point of view and no hurry from his point of view.

“Things are all tracking well at the moment.”

Franklin joined the Swans from Hawthorn in 2014 on a nine-year, $10 million deal.

Although he has been injury-prone in recent years, the scenes of fans flooding onto the SCG when he kicked his 1000th career goal showed he is still one of the sport’s biggest drawcards.

Reports of a move out of Sydney dominated headlines in early July, and wife Jesinta told Channel 7’s The Morning Show “we’ve got options” when questioned about the speculation.

“There’s always rumours and speculation swirling around Bud, and I think when he’s coming to the end of such an amazing contract, this was always going to happen,” she said at the time.

“But I think they’re just that; they’re rumours and they’re speculation.

“We’re really happy in Sydney – at the moment – and we’ve got our life set up here, so we’ll just have to see what happens.

“I still feel like he’s got lots to give, and he still feels like he’s got great footy (left in him), and he feels so good.

“He keeps saying, ‘I feel like I’m 21’, which is great. And the stats really show that as well.”

The couple also owns a beachside apartment just south of the Gold Coast and rumours are swirling they’re set to sell their Sydney home.

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