Buddy Franklin 'not leaving Hawthorn'
Despite admitting uncertainty about his future could prove a ditraction, Hawthorn's Lance Franklin says he won't decide his next career move until the end of the season.PT0M0S 620 349
WHILE history suggests Lance Franklin's decision to put his contract negotiations on hold should worry Hawthorn, his manager insists this scenario is different to the one that ultimately led to Gary Ablett jnr's move to the Gold Coast.
Agent Liam Pickering, who helped secure Ablett's multimillion-dollar shift from Geelong to the Suns in 2010, said Franklin's decision was not based on money, as was the case when expansion clubs the Suns and Greater Western Sydney offered riches to several players.
''Gary Ablett was in a much different situation. I didn't particularly enjoy that year, I would have to admit, but that was a different scenario with Gold Coast coming in. And we saw that with Tom Scully at Melbourne and Callan Ward and the like,'' Pickering said on Monday.
Richmond captain Trent Cotchin and indigenous All-Stars captain Lance Franklin. Photo: Joe Armao
''It's not about money or, at the moment, him [Franklin] leaving.''
Pickering reinforced this comment by questioning which teams would have the salary cap room to acquire the superstar forward. Adelaide is one club to already declare an interest.
''You have to go through the numbers and see where that money is in a current AFL team. Where is Adelaide going to find it? It's a fair whack for a team that is near the top,'' he said.
The Hawks have offered Franklin what is believed to be a four-year deal of more than $1 million a season, including marketing. It is understood Franklin's current contract was for less than $1 million a year.
Franklin, 26, is a restricted free agent at the end of the season, allowing the Hawks to match any offer. Fremantle, in need of a key forward and with room to move in its salary cap, and GWS, possibly in need of a marquee name, are set to tempt Franklin. Carlton, which made a bid for Travis Cloke last year, may also express interest.
The Coleman medallist, arguably the biggest name in the game since Wayne Carey, is from Perth but his family is now in Melbourne.
''Hawthorn is right in the box seat here. Let's make no bones about that,'' Pickering said on SEN. ''He is happy at Hawthorn … If I was a Hawthorn supporter, I would be pretty confident he will stay.''
Franklin said on Monday Hawthorn was ''shocked'' and admitted the uncertainty over his future would be a distraction for the club.
Speaking ahead of captaining the indigenous All-Stars against Richmond in the Northern Territory on Friday, Franklin said he wanted to remain a Hawk and that it was his decision alone to postpone talks.
Pickering, who also manages Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson, confirmed this, but said he would remain in contact with the Hawks.
''It's a decision 'Bud' has made. He doesn't even want to talk about it at the moment,'' he said.
''I went through all the pros and cons with him. I went through what happened last year with Travis Cloke and the effect it can have on a football club. I understand it's not ideal for the Hawthorn Football Club and it's not ideal for their fans.'' Pickering said he had not discussed Franklin's availability with other clubs.
''It's not that we have been out there actively talking to clubs because we haven't. There are no other clubs involved, the only club I have spoken to is Hawthorn,'' he said.
''We are not actually out there pushing him out to everybody, but I don't think you need to with a player like Lance Franklin because [clubs] are going to start ringing me and I understand that and they would have anyway while he remains uncontracted.''
Franklin is already one of the major marketing faces of the league and enjoys the financial spoils of this. But, at the peak of his powers, this contract promises to be his most lucrative and he is keen to test the open market.
''At this stage, I want to stay at Hawthorn but I just want to leave it to the end of the season and go from there,'' he said.
''The footy club we have got is very strong. We have some very good leaders around the footy club and our group as a whole is a very tight group. I have no real issues there.''
Franklin understands his decision will be a distraction for a club known for its no-nonsense attitude.
''It is going to be distraction. Obviously, the footy club is shocked that I haven't signed either but it's my decision.
''I don't get entangled in anyone else's contract or any of the boys from the footy club. It's just something that is not talked about. Internally, it won't be spoken about.
''We just look forward to playing footy and hopefully winning a premiership.''
The Hawks have said they are ''not shocked'' by Franklin's decision.