Main content

Buddy 'very confident' he can get back to his best and play out final three years

Buddy's declaration, Bevo calls for calm, plus Crows' awkward retirement Nat Edwards with all the latest footy news

SUPERSTAR Sydney forward Lance Franklin has declared he has plenty of quality footy in his future and plans to see out his contract before retiring at the end of 2022. 

After another tough run with soft-tissue struggles this year, Franklin is determined to fire in his 300th game against St Kilda on Saturday. 

Looking longer term, he's set his sights on going past the 350-game mark and becoming the sixth man in history to kick 1000 goals - he currently has 940 - before he gives the game away. 

Franklin will go down as an all-time great. Picture: Getty Images

The 32-year-old is in the sixth season of his monster nine-year, $10 million deal with Sydney, and while his body hasn't always helped him over the past two seasons, when he's been on the field he remains one of the game's best and most watchable stars. 

He joked about playing another 300 games for the Bloods, but admitted he's content to play for the next three years before finishing up what will be a Hall of Fame career. 

He said he'll start with a good showing against St Kilda, then after a short break, he'll throw all his energies into having a full summer on the track, something he's been unable to do in recent years.

"I'm very confident that I've got some really good football in front of me," he said on Thursday. 

"It would be nice to have a pre-season and I've got no doubt I can get back to my best next year."

The four-time Coleman medallist has been limited to just nine appearances so far this year when the young Swans desperately needed his ability and guidance on the field.

"Obviously the two hamstrings (this year) haven't been ideal but injuries happen in football," he said.

"I've had a good training block the last couple of weeks and I've prepared well. 

"It's been pretty frustrating but I'm feeling good and I'm excited to get out there on Saturday with the boys and getting a good win." - Lance Franklin

The marquee Swan travelled to Melbourne last week to be a part of the celebration for former teammate and good mate Jarryd Roughead's farewell match, but Franklin said the now retired Hawk won't be returning the favour.

Roughead is heading to Hobart as another great mate Jordan Lewis plays his final match for Melbourne against North Melbourne. 

Lance Franklin and Jordan Lewis catch up during round 22. Picture: AFL Photos

"He called me yesterday and I told him to get down there, I've still got a few left in me," he said. 

While Roughead won't be in Sydney, former Swan and close friend Dan Hannebery will be there for Franklin's big day, in a St Kilda jumper. 

"Is he playing this week, is he?" he said with a laugh.

"It will be good, obviously he's changed clubs but it will be quite fitting him being here for my 300th and the other boys playing their last game." 

Find AFL Exchange on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify.

Franklin said his personal milestone had nothing to do with his desire to get back for the final round of the home and away season. 

Instead, he made it a goal to prepare his body to face the Saints in what will be the last game in the outstanding careers of retiring veterans and Sydney premiership heroes Jarrad McVeigh and Kieren Jack.

 

"There'll definitely be a lot of emotion around the ground on Saturday," he said.

"They've been two unbelievable players for our footy club over a long period of time.

"There'll no doubt be some sad faces in the crowd but it's all about showing our respect to what they've done for us. 

"Looking from afar when I was at Hawthorn I admired the way they went about it and their leadership, but (you don't understand how good they are) until you get in the doors and really see how these boys work.

"You wonder why we've been so successful over a long period of time. 

"It's because of the leaders we've got at this club that drive the standards, it's amazing."