Lance Franklin is seen with daughter Tullulah and son Rocky during the match between Hawthorn and Sydney at the MCG in round seven, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

HAWTHORN and Sydney goalkicking legend Lance Franklin had "goosebumps" on his return to the MCG as he made a rare public appearance to pay tribute to his two former clubs and bid farewell to fans.

Franklin was a guest of Hawthorn on Sunday as they took on Sydney for the first time since the 37-year-old's retirement last year.

Famously private, Franklin was presented to the crowd on the ground at half-time in an interview with two-time Hawks premiership teammate Jordan Lewis.

"Goosebumps ... it's nice to be back here," Franklin said.

"I spent nine years playing at this great football club and then spent another 10 years playing at another great football club.

"I feel very blessed to have played at two great clubs."


Franklin won premierships with Hawthorn in 2008 and 2013, kicking 580 goals in 182 games for the club before a shock switch to Sydney.

He kicked another 486 goals in 172 games with the Swans but couldn't add to his flag tally, losing three grand finals in red and white.

"It was really important to me, I wanted to come back and thank all the Hawthorn fans," Franklin said.

"You guys have been unbelievable and I won the two flags with you guys."

Lance Franklin poses with Hawks fans ing the match between Hawthorn and Sydney at the MCG in round seven, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Franklin recalled his two famous goals for Hawthorn against Essendon and the leapfrog effort against Collingwood among his favourite moments at the MCG.

"But for me it's the big finals that we played here over the years," he said.

"There were some huge games played here and obviously the grand finals and those premierships were really important."

Hawthorn coach Sam Mitchell invited his former teammate Franklin to speak to the current playing group as part of their preparation for the round-seven clash with Sydney.

Childhood fans Dylan Moore, Jack Scrimshaw and Jack Ginnivan were among the wide-eyed Hawks who lapped up Franklin's words at the club's Waverley Park base on Saturday.

"It was very much a day of those boys seeing up close and personal for the first time, apart from playing against him, an absolute icon of our football club," Hawthorn football boss Rob McCartney said on 3AW.

"It was really interesting. It went to questions at the end and the boys were starstruck.

Lance Franklin salutes the crowd during the match between Hawthorn and Sydney at the MCG in round seven, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos)

"There were little giggles. Jack Ginnivan was chewing his fingernails, not being able to open his mouth and ask a question - a first time for Jack. It was just really special.

"Then when the boys walked down onto the oval, that's when it started to become more authentic and there was conversations between a number of them.

"It was great to see Josh Weddle, who's now the new custodian of number 23, speaking to one of the greats who have worn it."