AS LANCE Franklin closes on the magical 1000-goal milestone, we've dug into the archives to relive the biggest and best moments of Buddy's brilliant career.
Check out the milestones on Franklin's journey to greatness, ahead of his expected ascent into footy's most exclusive club - the 1000-goal champions of our game.
November 20, 2004
Draft day – a day that would change the future for three clubs and the fortunes for one very lucky one. Franklin was taken by Hawthorn at pick No.5, behind Brett Deledio (Richmond), Jarryd Roughead (Hawthorn), Ryan Griffen (Western Bulldogs) and Richard Tambling (Richmond). While the Tigers cop the retrospective flak for missing Buddy, it's often forgotten the Bulldogs had the chance to snaffle him as well.
March 27, 2005
Franklin plays his debut game – coincidentally, against Sydney at the SCG. It's a quiet day for the teenager, going goalless from six disposals and two marks as the Swans win by 63 points.
June 18, 2006
After an injury early in his second season, Buddy has his breakout game against Richmond in round 13, kicking six goals in a 41-point win in Launceston. There's everything we'd come to love about him in the future, with a goal from outside 50m, snaps from congestion and quick recovery at ground level. Legendary commentator Dennis Cometti likens Franklin's playing style to Adam Goodes, who would win his second Brownlow Medal later that year.
July 13, 2006
Big news for the Hawks when Franklin signs a two-year contract extension late in his second season. The signature wards off reported interest from West Coast, Fremantle and Essendon.
May 5, 2007
Fresh from a six-goal haul against the Western Bulldogs the previous week, Buddy announced his rise to superstardom with a stunning nine-goal haul against Essendon at the MCG. After going goalless in the first term, Franklin kicked five goals in the second quarter to spark the Hawks to a 35-point win over their fierce rival. The Bombers became Buddy's 'bunnies' after that game, producing two nine-goal hauls and a bag of eight in the following years. Franklin has still kicked more goals against the Bombers (75) than any other club.
August 26, 2007
At the end of Franklin's breakout season (where he'd end up with 73 goals), this match would be remembered for the wrong reason. While Hawthorn thumped the Western Bulldogs by 84 points at Marvel Stadium, the damage could have been so much greater if their emerging superstar had his goalkicking boots on. Franklin kicked a staggering 2.11 in one of the most inaccurate displays in front of goal in recent history.
September 8, 2007
If a week is a long time in footy, then two weeks is an eternity. Just a fortnight after his horror goalkicking display against the Bulldogs at the same venue, Buddy announced himself to the footy world with a clutch elimination final goal against Adelaide that is still so vivid almost 15 years on. With less than 10 seconds remaining and his team trailing Adelaide by three points, Buddy went back and banged home his seventh goal from outside 50m to steal victory.
August 30, 2008
Franklin became the only player since Tony Lockett in 1998 to kick 100 goals in a season on a memorable Saturday night against Carlton. Needing two goals entering the night, he did it before quarter-time, marking a Cyril Rioli pass and kicking truly, emptying the Marvel Stadium stands as fans stormed on to the field to celebrate.
September 27, 2008
Franklin wins the first of his two premierships with Hawthorn, kicking 2.1 as the upstart Hawks pulled off one of the biggest Grand Final upsets this century.
August 8, 2009
What should have been a celebration was far from it as Franklin's 100th game resulted in a 25-point loss to the surging St Kilda. As if that wasn't bad enough, Franklin would fail to register a solitary point – the first time that occurred since his sixth career game.
July 18, 2010
The night when Franklin kicked the 'Cale Hooker goal'. In what could well be at – or at least near – the top of his most iconic goal list, Franklin got the ball right on centre wing of this Friday night contest against Essendon at the MCG with Hooker right on him. He audaciously ran away, bouncing the ball three times with Hooker in pursuit, before barely steadying on the left hand boundary line and threading what looked to be an impossible goal.
June 2, 2012
This grim, overcast day in Launceston would play host to Franklin's biggest bag of goals as his slaughtered hapless North Melbourne to kick "thirteeeeeeeen". Fred Fanning's League record of 18 looked in some strife halfway through the third term when Franklin kicked his 10th, but he had to settle for the lazy baker's dozen. His three final-quarter goals were all remarkable in their own right and need to be re-watched to appreciate.
April 14, 2013
The 'hurdle goal' was from the absolute top drawer, and like the one against Hooker, would win Goal of the Year. This time it came on a Sunday afternoon against Collingwood at the MCG. Brent Guerra sent a kick-in spiralling towards the centre circle, where Ben Stratton marked., offloaded a handball to Franklin who was cruising past. Not only did Franklin gather, but somehow managed to hurdle a falling Stratton and his Collingwood opponent and then off two steps drill the goal from 75m as it bounced in the goalsquare and through. Truly remarkable athleticism and skill.
October 8, 2013
The day a bombshell hit the AFL world. Just days after winning his second premiership with Hawthorn, the restricted free agent confirmed he would move to Sydney to play with the Swans. After nine years with the Hawks it was mooted Franklin was being courted by GWS, who had offered a six-year contract worth $7 million. But ever-so-quietly, Sydney had made a whopping nine-year, $10 million offer to poach the superstar full forward.
March 15, 2014
Franklin's first game in red and white did not go to plan, suffering a 32-point loss to the same Giants team that thought he was theirs six months earlier. Buddy kicked just one goal from seven disposals.
September 27, 2014
It was a promoter's dream as Hawthorn and Sydney clashed in the Grand Final just 12 months after Franklin left, but for the big left-footer it was a nightmare. The Hawks romped to a 63-point triumph to win the second of three straight flags. It wasn't from lack of production from Franklin though, who kicked four goals in the losing cause and earned a kiss from Luke Hodge for his efforts. It capped a year in which Franklin won his third Coleman Medal, fifth All-Australian selection and was second in Brownlow Medal voting.
On the eve of the finals, in a year in which he had also struggled with his body, Franklin took time away from the game to take care of his mental health. The Swans bowed out in straights sets against Fremantle and North Melbourne, but their superstar rehabilitated and came back fresh in 2016.
November 4, 2016
On the personal front, Franklin married former Miss Universe Australia model and Channel Nine presenter, Jesinta Campbell.
May 26, 2017
As part of Sir Doug Nicholls Round, Franklin, like others around the competition, Franklin wore the No.67 jumper to commemorate the 1967 referendum which allowed indigenous Australians to be counted with the general population in the census.
Although Sydney lost to Hawthorn by six points, Franklin put in a magnificent performance on the Friday night stage, kicking five goals and moving ahead of Bernie Quinlan (817) and into the top-10 of all-time goalkickers.
August 26, 2017
Trailing West Coast's Josh Kennedy by four goals in the Coleman Medal race entering the final round, Franklin wasn't done. He kicked the second double-digit bag of his career, 10, to snatch the title away from the Eagle.
August 24, 2019
With his body once again proving problematic through the season, Franklin got back for the final round against St Kilda to play his 300th game alongside retiring teammates Jarrad McVeigh and Kieren Jack. Always one for the big occasion, Franklin kicked four goals to celebrate with a win. It was the last time we'd see him for 18 months.
March 27, 2021
Franklin finally made his return in round two against Adelaide. It was a new-look Sydney outfit, and Buddy's three goals in the win over the Crows were complemented by contributions from first-year teammates Logan McDonald (two) and Errol Gulden (one). Now 34, Franklin missed the following week as recovered from soreness but managed 18 more games and 51 goals for the season to guide the Swans to the finals.
August 28, 2021
Franklin and the Swans made a heartbreaking exit from the 2021 finals race at the hands of crosstown rival GWS, courtesy of a one-point loss in Launceston. Franklin was among five Swans players to miss shots at goal in the final term as their chase of the Giants fell short.