Playing, not staying, delayed Buddy's deal

·3-min read

Lance Franklin considered ending his storied AFL career with Saturday's grand final, saying the decision to keep playing had been a "50-50" call.

But the Sydney star decided that he still had the passion to extend his career into an 18th season and his family will stay put.

The 35-year-old gave the Swans a huge boost in grand final week when they tweeted a two-word statement on Monday night - "one more".

It ended months of speculation about Franklin's future.

Franklin was adamant that possible retirement, and not contract terms, caused the delay.

There was rampant speculation about a possible move to Brisbane, but Franklin said his contract was "absolutely not" the issue.

Asked how close he came to quitting, Franklin replied "50-50".

"But 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."

Franklin also did not rule out playing beyond next season.

"Hopefully we could have this conversation next year," he said.

Franklin joined Sydney from Hawthorn in 2014 on a landmark nine-year deal worth $10 million.

He is particularly proud to have made that bumper deal a success.

"There have been a lot of knockers over the years, haven't there, really?," he said

"When I first got here, people were knocking that I wouldn't get there, I wouldn't make it.

"So I've definitely proved them wrong, haven't I?"

Franklin has played in two losing grand finals at Sydney and said a flag with the Swans "would be nice ... but it will be a difficult job".

The goalkicking ace put the contract decision on hold during the season.

"There's so much speculation and things put out there that aren't in my control," he said.

But the more he thought about it, the more the decision became clear.

"I'm over the moon with this decision," he said.

"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."

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.

He has played 340 games and kicked 1047 goals - he famously reached 1000 in round two against Geelong - and Franklin is fifth on the AFL all-time goals list.

Franklin played 182 games for Hawthorn between 2005-13 before he shocked the game with his move north.

This will be his sixth grand final, with the first two resulting in Hawks premierships.

A flag is the only prize missing from his 158 games with Sydney.

Franklin has well and truly delivered on his bumper deal with the Swans, winning the club's goalkicking award six times along with two Coleman Medals and four All-Australian selections.

He has eight All-Australian blazers altogether and was made captain of the 2018 team.