Buddy Franklin under fire over staggering act in AFL grand final week

Buddy Franklin, pictured here with wife Jesinta.
Buddy Franklin said his loved ones, including wife Jesinta, convinced him to keep playing. Image: Getty

AFL pundit Kane Cornes has questioned the timing of Buddy Franklin's announcement that he'd re-signed with the Sydney Swans during AFL grand final week.

Franklin announced on social media on Monday night that he'll play on with the Swans in 2023, ending months of speculation about his future.

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The veteran goal-scorer had been heavily linked with a move to the Brisbane Lions, but re-signed with the Swans on a one-year deal.

Speaking on Footy Classified on Wednesday night, Cornes questioned why Franklin made the announcement during the week of the grand final, suggesting it could have been a distraction for the Swans.

“I’m fascinated by the scenario around it,” the former Port Adelaide player said.

“If I’m being super critical, I think this is an individual thing to do to announce it.

“He should have waited until after the grand final, but that’s being incredibly picky on an absolute legend of the game.”

Veteran reporter Caroline Wilson revealed that the Swans initially didn't want the announcement to be made until after the finals series, but decided it would be better to get the news out of the way so Franklin and his teammates could focus on Saturday's game against Geelong.

“The club’s plan was to put it aside and announce it after the finals campaign had ended whenever it did end, and that it was not to be a distraction,” she said.

“What happened in recent days is there was so much talk about, ‘Will this be Lance’s last kick? Will this be his last goal?’

“(The Swans) thought it was actually going to be more of a distraction if they didn’t announce it."

Franklin's one-year deal is reportedly worth about $600,000, with Wilson revealing he had decided to stay at the Swans last month.

“The deal was agreed to - the money anyway - back in August. It was never about the money," she said.

“(Chairman) Andrew Pridham and (chief executive) Tom Harley kept telling us it was more about whether Lance wanted to play on another year.

“They insist he was never going anywhere else.

“Shortly before the qualifying final against Melbourne … he came to the club and said, ‘I want to play on’, so the deal was done.”

Callum Mills and Buddy Franklin, pictured here during a Sydney Swans training session at the SCG.
Callum Mills and Buddy Franklin look on during a Sydney Swans training session at the SCG. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Buddy Franklin speaks out after re-signing with Swans

Speaking to reporters at the SCG on Tuesday, Franklin said the decision to keep playing or retire had been a '50-50' call.

"As the year went on and I spoke to the people I care about, the decision was made clear that I need to go on, there's obviously unfinished business," he said, referring to a Swans premiership.

"I feel like I still have a little bit to give. It's been a long process to come to this decision. It hasn't been easy.

"I've been in the game a long time, I have a young family now, so it was a hard decision.

"But my passion for the game, my love for this football club, my heart is still here and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else."

Buddy Franklin, pictured here with Jesinta at the 2018 AFL All-Australia Awards.
Buddy Franklin with wife Jesinta at the 2018 AFL All-Australia Awards. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Franklin, a future AFL Hall of Fame legend, said he wanted the decision made now to avoid any distractions for the Swans in grand final week, with Sydney to start as underdogs against the Cats.

"I just wanted to make this about the boys. This is a huge game for us," he said.

"I'm over the moon with this decision. As the year went on, I still have that passion and drive to want to compete.

"I'm still pumped, I'm ready to go this weekend. It was purely based around what was best for my family."

with AAP

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