SUPERSTAR Sydney forward Lance Franklin sees no reason he can't match the footy longevity of good mates Adam Goodes and Shaun Burgoyne and play into his mid-30s.
Franklin, 31, will enter his 14th AFL season in 2018 having played 271 games for Hawthorn and the Swans, and given the form he's showed over the past two years – he's kicked 154 goals from 50 games and polled 39 Brownlow Medal votes – few would bet against him slowing down.
The West Australian needs to look no further than former teammates Goodes (372 games in 17 seasons) and Burgoyne (341 games in 16 seasons so far) for inspiration, and with five more seasons on his nine-year mega-contract, he might have one more deal to negotiate.
The four-time Coleman medallist has been remarkably durable for a big man, but while he's had multiple surgeries on his shoulders, knees, and ankles, 2006 is the only year he's failed to play at least 17 games in a season.
Speaking at the Swans' community camp in Coffs Harbour, Franklin said that being meticulous with his training and recovery is paramount to extending his phenomenal his career.
"I'm young in footy terms, you look at the older guys that are still running around like Shaun Burgoyne, who is 35 going on 36," he said.
"The same goes for 'Goodesy', he got to 372 games from doing all the right things.
"It's about looking after yourself and preparing your body right to be able to train, and the club has been great with my management too.
"That's how you achieve longevity in football by doing everything right, because you can drop off pretty quickly.
"At this stage the body is holding up really well, my mind is feeling good, and I'm still passionate about playing."
Rightly or wrongly, many have and will continue to judge the success of Franklin's move to Sydney on how many premierships he can win, and not surprisingly, his quest to add another flag to his pair of Hawks' medals is still what drives the game's best forward.
Franklin knows how valuable they are, and having played in three losing Grand Finals, he also knows how much it takes to feel the joy of premiership success.
"They're bloody hard to win there's no doubt about that," he said.
"You have to have everything go your way and everyone playing their part to win it on the day."
Lance Franklin still hasn't tasted premiership success at Sydney. Picture: AFL Photos
One of footy's biggest names might have the reputation to go with it, but in recent seasons, Franklin has become just as valuable as a mentor to Sydney's batch of young forwards as he has been with his own performances.
He quickly formed a tight bond with Isaac Heeney and has continued to have a major influence on Tom Papley, Will Hayward and Oliver Florent over the past two years.
"It's nice to be down there teaching them," he said.
"Them learning every day is a positive thing for me and as long as I can try and influence their career in some kind of way, I think that benefits everyone.
"They're so talented and they bring that enthusiasm to the group, and there's nothing better than running out with guys like that.
"I'm happy to educate them and give them feedback on their football any time they want."
Franklin drags thousands of fans through the gates and even more eyes to televisions around the country whenever he steps onto the field, and the man who sits 10th on the all-time goalkickers list with 860 majors, is happy with how the footy landscape is looking.
"I enjoy watching it, I think we've got a great game and so many great players," he said.
"There's nothing better than sitting back and watching a game on a Friday night.
"I think the game is in a really strong position and it's good to see."