LANCE Franklin could become a leader of the game if he joined Greater Western Sydney, coach Kevin Sheedy says.
The Giants are embarking on a recruiting drive aimed at the AFL's senior players with the club confirming on Friday night
that they are in talks with the 26-year-old's management.
While at pains to say the Giants were seeking to add several players and that Franklin was just one player under consideration, Sheedy said joining the club presents a great opportunity for players to grow their game.
Citing Gary Ablett's move to Gold Coast of a perfect example of a player thriving at a developing club, Sheedy said GWS was seeking four to five experienced players willing to undertake that challenge.
"He (Franklin) may not want to go," Sheedy told AFL.com.au. "In the end if you want to be a leader and you want to bring the game to where it should be growing in the west of Sydney then it is a great opportunity for the players that we select now to come in and be leaders of the game, whoever they are."
Sheedy said he had never spoken to Franklin and whether he wanted to join the Giants would be a decision for 'Buddy', but he was clear about the type of players GWS requires.
"It could be another key forward. It could be two key forwards. It will definitely be a tall midfielder like a Josh Kennedy type, a strong player who can get over a ball, [and] a player like a Franklin or a Barry Hall or a Lockett, that is the sort of thing Sydney eventually need to have, the Western Sydney Giants," Sheedy said.
He said Jeremy Cameron's development had been excellent and Josh Bruce and Tim Mohr had played well in key positions.
The veteran coach emphasised the club needed to be careful in talking too much about the prospects of gaining Franklin because there could be a negative perception created if he did not join the club.
"Whether it is a Franklin or not, in the end it is going to be someone," Sheedy said. "The style of player and the style of the impact that person will bring to Sydney is important in the growth of this young club."
He said there were examples of people growing as a result of moving north of the Victorian border before Ablett, including Tony Lockett, Barry Hall and even Paul Roos – whose career went on in leaps and bounds after joining the Swans – and Stuart Maxfield, a key figure in developing the Swans' famed culture.
Sheedy suspected there would be 10, possibly 20 players for the club to seriously contemplate and said it was list manager Stephen Silvagni's job to determine who would be the best fit for the club.
AFL NSW/ACT general manager Tom Harley, who played alongside Ablett at Geelong, said Franklin would have a huge impact in the Sydney market and particularly on the Giants.
"First and foremost, he's a quality player. The Giants are a developing side, and craving that senior experience that I guess Gary [Ablett] has provided to Gold Coast," Harley said.
"And then on the other side of the coin, the comparisons to Tony Lockett when he went up to Sydney would be around about the mark. You only have to listen to people like Richard Colless, as the president of the Swans, talking about the impact of those sorts of players. He is a rockstar and he's certainly recognised up in Sydney. It would have a significant influence.
"At the same time, he's a Hawthorn champion and a Hawthorn premiership player, so it would be sad to see him leave the Hawks."