After months of speculation over his future in the sport, Sydney Swans legend Lance Franklin has signed a one-year contract extension with the AFL club.
The 35-year-old striker, who has played 340 AFL games and scored 1,047 goals since his debut in 2005, will represent Sydney next year despite reports of a possible move to the Brisbane Lions.
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The Swans paid tribute to sports icon Michael Jordan by mimicking his famous 1995 press release, announcing Franklin’s deal via social media on Monday night.
“The following statement was released today by Lance Franklin, via Sydney Swans Football Club located in Sydney, NSW, Australia, in response to questions about his future career plans,” the statement read.
Franklin, who joined the Swans from the Hawthorn Hawks in 2014 on a monster nine-year deal worth $10 million, officially suspended contract negotiations in August.
“At this point, conversations have come to a halt around my contract so that I can fully focus on football,” Franklin said in a statement last month.
“No further comment will be made until the season is over and I have decided on my future.
“I am still undecided and need time after the season to make a family decision on whether I will continue playing next year.”
Although he has been injury prone in recent years, the scenes of fans flooding the SCG when the eight-time All-Australian scored his 1,000th career goal showed that he is still one of the sport’s greatest assets.
No other players from the 2004 draft remain on an AFL list.
Franklin has scored 52 goals in 22 appearances this season, including two majors and a crucial late-stage tally. Saturday’s thrilling one-point win over Collingwood in the preliminary final at the SCG.
“He was winning contest after contest and he was chasing,” Sydney coach Justin Longmire told reporters after the win.
“He was on his feet, the big ‘Bud’. I think he gave us a lot of energy.
The Geelong Cats and Sydney Swans will face off in the AFL Grand Final on Saturday afternoon, with kick-off scheduled at the MCG at 2.30pm AEST.
This will be Franklin’s sixth Grand Final, having won two premierships with Hawthorn in 2008 and 2013.
Franklin currently sits behind Doug Wade (1057), Jason Dunstall (1254), Gordon Coventry (1299) and Tony Lockett (1360) on the VFL/AFL all-time goalscoring list.
He needs four majors on Saturday to match Dunstall’s 78 goals in the final, who are second to Coventry’s 111.
Originally published as ‘One more’: Sydney Swans legend Lance Franklin signs one-year contract extension