LANCE Franklin is feeling fit, fresh and desperate to return to the finals, having left the door open to play on beyond the end of his mammoth contract that expires at the end of 2022.

Franklin's nine-year Sydney deal, worth approximately $10 million in total, has been the prism through which so many have judged the four-time Coleman medallist, his output and his club.

Countless pundits have questioned the merits of the contract and whether the superstar will complete it, dating back to when he shocked the League by shifting from Hawthorn to the Swans after winning the 2013 premiership.

Doubts grew during a 21-month stretch in which Franklin played one AFL game because of a stack of soft-tissue injuries.

02:09 Mins
Published on

WATCH: Buddy on his future, 1000 goals and Swans' flag hopes

Sydney superstar Lance Franklin speaks to the media ahead of the Swans' Marn Grook game against Carlton on Sunday

Published on

But the 34-year-old has now played five of the Swans' past seven matches, notably returning ahead of schedule from bone bruising in his knee.

And most commentary about Franklin, who will tackle Carlton at the SCG in Sunday's Marn Grook match, now centres on the looming 1000-goal milestone rather than his durability.

"We'll come to a decision when the time's right," Franklin said, when asked about potentially playing on beyond next season.

BROWNLOW PREDICTOR Who's leading the race for Charlie?

"It'd be nice. If my body's holding up and I'm feeling good, then we'll have that chat.

"I just need my body to hold up. There's a lot of great young talent at this football club and it'd be great to go all the way with them."

Franklin's six-goal haul in Sydney's loss to Fremantle means he now sits on 963 career goals.

03:46 Mins
Published on

It's going to go off: Why Sir Doug Nicholls Round is more than just footy

AFL stars on the legacy of Sir Doug, and why they love this special round

Published on

The prospect of becoming the first man since Tony Lockett to kick 1000 goals is exciting fans and former players but Franklin is yet to contemplate the enormity of the achievement, nor discuss it with Lockett.

"I haven't thought about it at all," he said.

"If that happens, it happens.

"For me it's more about playing, playing consistently, winning and getting the club back to finals."

SIR DOUG NICHOLLS ROUND Celebrating our First Nations heroes 

The Swans haven't contested finals since 2018, with the ensuing seasons being particularly frustrating for Franklin given his hamstring and groin issues.

"I had that 15 years of playing - week in, week out - then to miss that much football in the last couple of years was disappointing," the veteran said.

"I just focused on getting myself in good condition and resilient, so I can hopefully play week in week out for the rest of my career."

Franklin, who become a father of two during the layoff, added that fatherhood had changed his perspective on football.

"When you have a family your priorities do change," he said.

Franklin, a Noongar-Whadjuk man, will take centre stage in this weekend's Sir Doug Nicholls round as one of the sport's Indigenous icons.

"It's a special round, not only for the Indigenous players but for the non-Indigenous players," he said.

"The AFL do such a great thing, the ambassadors of the game do such a good thing too; Shaun Burgoyne, Adam Goodes have all been tremendous in recognising and teaching people about our culture."


* 22 games, 79 goals (2014)
* 17 games, 47 goals (2015)
* 26 games, 81 goals (2016)
* 24 games, 73 goals (2017)
* 19 games, 57 goals (2018)
* 10 games, 27 goals (2019)
* 0 games, 0 goals (2020)
* 6 games, 19 goals (2021)
* ? (2022)

Watch AFL On Demand

A free entertainment destination showcasing the best of AFL

Watch Now