Buddy Franklin's wife Jesinta has gone some way to explaining why he didn't attend his own retirement press conference on Monday, revealing the 'emotional' toll the decision had taken. Franklin announced on Monday that he was hanging up the boots immediately after suffering a devastating calf injury in the Swans' clash with Essendon on Saturday.
The injury was set to rule Franklin out for the remainder of the AFL season, and with the 36-year-old already considering retirement, he bit the bullet and called it quits. But Buddy was a conspicuous absence from his own retirement press conference as coach John Longmire and CEO Tom Harley fronted the media instead.
On Monday night, Jesinta posted on social media: “The end of an era. It’s been an extremely emotional 24 hours. So proud of my husband on what has been an incredible career.
“For 12 years footy has been such a huge part of our lives and has come with lots of highs and lows. It’s been an honour to be a part of the journey with you. A fairytale career.
“The kids and I love you so, so much. Thank you to everyone who has supported us, we have made memories that we will cherish forever. Here’s to a new and very exciting chapter of our lives together.”
Buddy Franklin 'devastated' after emotional retirement call
Longmire and Harley also moved to explain Franklin's absence, saying the veteran forward never wanted any fanfare. "He is an unbelievably private person," Harley said.
"From the club's point of view, we are absolutely comfortable with that. We probably all want to hear from Lance and I'm sure that will happen in time."
Longmire added: "He's always been low key - 'I don't want any fanfare, there's no fanfare'. I said, 'Well, there's a fact of life here mate, you are one of the all-time greats'. But he just doesn't like these situations."
"He's most comfortable at the footy ground, and everyone sees the way he walks over from the ground and thinks it's 24 hours a day. It's not - he's just very humble and very private."
Longmire also revealed how Franklin was extremely emotional when he rang his coach to tell him of the decision. “He rang me when I was sitting on the plane,” Longmire said during the press conference. “He was pretty emotional and devastated that could be the way it’s finished.
"It certainly sounded like he’d made the call there and then. I said, ‘Sleep on it and we’ll get up and have a chat this morning’. I went to his place this morning. He said ‘I’m done’. I think the best way to do it is to call it now.”
Franklin stunned the AFL world at the end of the 2013 season when he signed a mammoth nine-year deal with the Swans as a free agent, which was extended by one year in grand final week last season. "He will be enormously missed but he has absolutely exhausted every last inch of his mind and body," Harley said.
"He was a better player than I thought he was. To see him day in and day out, it's not a stretch to say, he's certainly the generation forward of our time."
Franklin is a four-time Coleman medallist, an eight-time All Australian and a 13-time leading goal-kicker for his club. He is also the fourth Indigenous player to reach the 350 VFL/AFL games milestone, having reached 354 through 182 with Hawthorn and 172 at Sydney.
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