Buddy 'excited' for Sydney
Lance Franklin speaks about his move to Sydney, maintaining that he didn't make the decision to go until after the grand final.PT1M33S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2usdd 620 349 October 2, 2013
The scrutiny of Lance Franklin's impending ''heart-breaking'' and ''last-minute'' decision to play for Sydney will intensify on Thursday, with key Swans figures to be interviewed by AFL investigators.
Integrity manager Brett Clothier and salary cap watchdog Ken Wood will travel to Sydney for the discussions, after meeting Franklin and his manager Liam Pickering at AFL House.
I'm excited about the change. It's going to be a little bit different.
It seemed unlikely on Wednesday that the proposed deal to lure Franklin from Hawthorn would be blocked entirely, but nor was there any guarantee that all details of the Swans' offer would be approved by the start of the free agency period on Friday.
'It was a massive decision ... it was heartbreaking - but this is what football's come to these days' said Lance Franklin. Photo: Pat Scala
As Franklin explained his ''massive decision'' to leave his premiership teammates, the AFL clarified that while the Swans would be able to pre-pay the forward some of his promised money in future years, the club would still be bound by the payment schedule for the duration of the nine-year contract as offered to Franklin this week.
For instance, should another player unexpectedly retire in year three of Franklin's contract and Sydney finds itself with spare salary cap space, the club would be able to bring forward part of Franklin's payment from the final years of his deal, lessening its financial obligation to him towards the end of his career and freeing up cash for other business purposes.
But doing so would mean that money would count twice - in the salary cap of the year that it is paid, as well as in the year it was due to be paid as part of the contract as originally offered, accepted and lodged.
Rival clubs had suspected Sydney would renegotiate Franklin's deal from season to season as other players retired, bringing forward more money so that what appears a nine-year deal would in fact allow the club to remove him from its list in six or seven years, but that will not be possible.
The $10 million offer lodged by Sydney is expected to see Franklin paid a relatively low amount in his initial seasons at the club, given Kurt Tippett joined this year on a heavily front-ended contract.
Franklin's payments would peak around the middle of his nine-year deal before dipping again in his latter years. By then, million-dollar players should be far more common in the AFL.
Hawthorn would be able to smooth the total amount of money out over the nine-year period if it chose to match the offer, under free agency rules that allow clubs to match bids for restricted free agents such as Franklin.
The Hawks are considered unlikely to do that, but matching the offer within the allowed three-day period would enable them to push Sydney for a trade, rather than accepting a free agency compensation pick, expected to be No.19. Hawthorn had been interested in Swans ruckman Shane Mumford, but he has accepted a three-year offer to join GWS via a trade or the pre-season draft.
Franklin, who rejected a shorter but lucrative offer from the Giants to join the Swans, said he had not known before Saturday's grand final that he would be playing for Sydney next year.
While Sydney chief executive Andrew Ireland said on Tuesday that the Swans had been made aware of Franklin's interest around 12 months ago, Franklin said he had been told of the club's interest only in the past two weeks.
''From there I pretty much committed in the past week and said, yeah, I'll head up and play for Sydney. What a great club they are. I'm just looking forward to meeting all the boys,'' he said.
''I've had some time to sit back and have a chat to a couple of boys from the football club and sat down with Clarko [Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson] and let him know what's going on before it hit the media. Now, I'm just looking forward to having a bit of a break and then getting back up to Sydney and playing for the Swannies,'' he said.
''It was a massive decision to sit back and tell your teammates, guys you've played a lot of football with. It was heartbreaking - but this is what football's come to these days and this is what the players wanted with free agency.
''I'm excited about the change. It's going to be a little bit different up there for me, but I can't wait.''