I want to stay a Hawk, Buddy insists
Franklin admits contract issue will be a distraction
Lance Franklin says he is keen to stay at Hawthorn
LANCE Franklin has declared he wants to stay a Hawthorn player beyond 2013, but has not revealed why he decided to put contract talks on hold until the end of this season.
The four-time All Australian will become a restricted free agent when his contract expires at the end of this year, and surprised the Hawks and the football world when he told the club enter negotiations until then.
Speaking at a press conference to promote the upcoming Indigenous All Stars' clash with Richmond in Alice Springs, Franklin gave no indication he would consider changing teams.
"I love Hawthorn, they've been an absolute great footy club for myself, but it was just my decision [to put talks off]; it was something I wanted to do," Franklin said on Monday.
"I wanted to leave it until the end of the season.
"I know there's going to be a lot of speculation about what I'm going to be doing at the end of the season, but I just want to play football.
"I've got no intentions of leaving the football club, but it is what it is."
Franklin admitted the issue would be a distraction to the club in its bid to go one step further than its 2012 Grand Final loss, but said Hawthorn's playing group was strong enough to handle any added pressure.
"We've got some very good leaders around the club and our group as a whole is a very tight group," he said.
"So I've got no issues there.
"It's going to be the media that is going to be pumping it up more than ever, and it is what it is. I'll just wait until the end of the season and make my decision then."
Franklin also admitted the Hawks were "shocked" by his decision not to sign the new offer put before him, but didn't expect any negative reaction from within the club.
"It's just something that's not talked about," he said.
"Internally, it won't be spoken about.
"We'll just look forward to playing footy, and hopefully to winning a premiership."
Franklin will captain the Indigenous All Stars into battle on Friday night, but his team will be missing star Hawthorn teammates Cyril Rioli and Shaun Burgoyne.
Burgoyne is still recovering from a knee injury, and Rioli, Franklin said, is "sore".