Lance Franklin was ’50/50′ to retire before signing one-year deal with Sydney
Fresh from signing a one-year contract extension with Sydney, Lance Franklin says the decision came down to either retiring or playing another year with the Swans, and not joining another club as had been rumoured.
It had been reported that Sydney’s offer to the superstar forward earlier in the season had fallen short of expectations, while he was also linked with a move away from the club, with Brisbane named as a potential suitor.
The 35-year-old said it was simply a matter of weighing up whether he had the drive to continue playing and, as the Swans charged towards another grand final, he concluded he did.
“I just thought the time was right, we’ve got the grand final this week, there’s going to be a lot of speculation… I just wanted to make this about the boys,” Franklin told reporters at the SCG on Tuesday.
“Me and [wife] Jesinta and my family came to the decision that we wanted to stay in Sydney.
“There was a long process to come to that decision. I wasn’t sure whether I was going to go on but I’ve come to the decision that I’ve still got the passion and love the game.
“It was a hard decision but my passion for the game, my love for this club, my heart is still here and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
Asked how close he came to finishing up, the 340-gamer said it was touch and go.
“50/50, if I was to be honest,” he said.
“As the year went on and I spoke to people that I care about, the decision was made clear that I need to go on.”
When he signed a nine-year, $10 million contract with the Swans, many suggested Sydney would be paying Franklin for several years after his retirement.
The eight-time All Australian said it was nice to hold up his end of the bargain and even add another season on top.
“There’s been a lot of knockers over the years, haven’t there?” Franklin said.
“When I first got here people were knocking that I wouldn’t get there, I wouldn’t make it, I’d play for four or five years and that would be it. I’ve definitely proved them wrong.”
While he won two flags in his days at Hawthorn, Franklin and the Swans are 0-2 in grand finals in his time in red and white.
Sydney face the Cats on Saturday and Buddy would love the chance to add a third premiership medal to his long list of honours.
“It would be nice. It’s going to be a difficult job,” he said.
“Geelong have won 16 in a row, they’re in some fantastic form.
“We’re just going to have to go down there and give it our all and see how we go.”
Franklin will go into the game with good memories, having booted his 1000th goal in the Swans’ last meeting with the Cats back in round two.