Lance Franklin has spoken for the first time about the deal that is expected to take him to Sydney today, claiming he had not made up his mind to leave the Hawks until after the grand final.
Rivals cry foul over Franklin deal
Buddy Franklin's move to the Swans draws ire over AFL salary cap concessions, with Mick Malthouse calling Sydney's $10 million bid a "bloody disgrace".
This comes the day after despite Swans chief executive Andrew Ireland said the club was approached by the 26-year-old’s management after Sydney beat Hawthorn in the 2012 grand final.
"I truly hadn't made my decision before the grand final," Franklin told afl.com.au.
"I went in there just wanting to win the grand final and was able to do it and leave a two-time premiership player and hopefully there's a few more to come.
"I made my decision pretty much at the last minute, so Sydney, to their credit, have done a good job and I'm happy to be there."
Franklin said he told his Hawks teammates on Tuesday.
"The boys have been really good," Franklin said.
"I've had some close mates at the footy club for a long time. I sat down and had a chat to a few of them yesterday (Tuesday) and they've taken it really well.
"From the start, though, the footy club has been a massive part of my life and they've made me the person I am today. Alastair Clarkson too, full credit to him.
"He's been amazing during this period. It's obviously tough on him and his family."
Franklin, who overlooked Greater Western Sydney for the Swans, said he was excited by the move north.
"(I'm) looking forward to getting up to Sydney. It's a great footy club ... (but packing) my bags up at Hawthorn and saying goodbye to the boys is something very tough, and upsetting too."
Franklin later reiterated that he only became aware of Sydney’s interest in recent weeks. "In the past couple of weeks, literally, [I discovered] the Swans are interested. 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, I can't wait to get up there."
On the prospect of playing for another nine years in the AFL, Franklin said: "I've been playing for nine years now . . . another nine years is something unbelievable,’’ he said.‘‘If John (Longmire) plays me deeper I reckon I can go until I'm 42!’’
The AFL has begun its interviews with the parties involved in the controversial $10 million deal that looks certain to take the key forward to Sydney.
Franklin and his manager Liam Pickering have both been in talks with AFL officials today, following the league’s statement on Tuesday that the deal would be scrutinised in detail before it is ticked off.
It is believed the AFL wants the Swans to be aware of all the possible ramifications of such a long deal. For example, if Franklin does not play out the full nine years, the Swans could be forced to pay out the rest of his contract in a single year, with all that money coming under that season's salary cap.