Dockers smash Swans to enter Grand Final
Fremantle blew away a disappointing Sydney on Saturday night to book their first ever Grand Final appearance.PT1M24S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2u7fo 620 349 September 22, 2013
Lance Franklin says he won't let the emotion of playing in what could be his last game at Hawthorn disrupt his preparations for the grand final.
The Hawks have taken their five-year offer to Franklin off the negotiating table after he failed to meet a July deadline for an answer on whether he would remain at the club next season.
Greater Western Sydney, said to be offering a six-year deal worth about $1.3 million annually excluding third-party deals, is also frustrated by Franklin's stance.
Hawthorn's Lance Franklin. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
There is a growing feeling in the football industry that Franklin will leave the Hawks, but the man himself won't allow this prospect to derail his team's bid for redemption after losing last year's decider to the Swans.
''It's just another game, it's a grand final obviously, but it's just another game in terms of how we are going to go about our training, going about the way we prepare,'' he said.
''It [contract talks] hasn't affected me at all in terms of my decision at the end of the season. I am just excited to be out there with the boys again.''
Illustration: Matt Golding
The champion forward said it wouldn't cross his mind that this could be his last game for a club which took him with the fifth overall pick in the 2004 national draft.
Having finished a recovery session and a team meeting where the logistics of grand-final week were discussed, Franklin moved to ease concerns about his elbow injury, declaring he felt ''awesome'' and was a certain starter next week.
He was helped from the field cradling his right elbow after it was accidentally knocked by teammate David Hale while attempting to tackle young Cat Cameron Guthrie during the first term in Friday night's stunning five-point preliminary final win over Geelong at the MCG.
He returned to the bench with the elbow heavily strapped in time for the second quarter and played out the game.
''It's always good after an exciting win. I don't think anyone feels any injuries after winning a prelim and getting ourselves into a grand final,'' Franklin said. ''It was a little bit sore. The big Hale storm hit me a little bit hard. But I got checked by the doctors and was all right to play out the game and I'm just looking forward to the grand final.''
Franklin was held to just one goal against the Cats, while fellow blue-chip forwards Jarryd Roughead and Cyril Rioli were goalless. However, Jack Gunston (four), Shaun Burgoyne when moved forward (three) and Hale (two) took charge.
The Hawks will have to make at least one change, with forward Brendan Whitecross doing his ACL in the final term.
''He's a big part of the footy club. To see such a great player and great person go down with a serious knee injury is devastating,'' Franklin said.
The Hawks fear Whitecross has torn his anterior cruciate ligament, a year after experiencing the same injury in the 2012 qualifying final. Shane Savage and Jed Anderson are likely to come into serious contention for a recall.
The Hawks may also have a couple of incidents to worry about when the match review panel scrutinises Friday night's testing clash.
One incident involves half-back Grant Birchall's bump on Mathew Stokes in the third term, although Birchall said on Saturday he felt he had nothing to fear.
''I just saw the ball pop up and went at the footy and hit his chest and the ball, so didn't get him high and just winded him. So, all sweet,'' he said. ''I hit his body and didn't get him high, so no worries at all.''
Roughead could also face scrutiny for an off-the-ball incident on Guthrie in the final term, which prompted the young Cat to leave the field and have his jaw inspected.
''It was a split-second decision, that's all it was. I don't think there's much to it,'' Roughead said.
Hawthorn is determined not to look back to last year's grand final loss to Sydney. The Hawks were hot favourites before losing a thriller to Sydney last season and will again enter this year's decider firmly favoured to clinch their first premiership since 2008.
But skipper Luke Hodge said while the memory of last year's defeat might have driven them in the off-season, it was not relevant this week.
''I wouldn't think so,'' Hodge said. ''The loss of a grand final is always going to be with you because obviously it's heart-breaking at the time.
''But at the moment and throughout the season we're just focused on what we can do at the moment and going in it's another great opportunity for the footy club.''