Buddy Franklin heading for the Swans
The GWS Giants have withdrawn their bid for Lance Franklin with the knowledge he will accept an offer from the Sydney Swans.PT1M46S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2uq6c 620 349 October 1, 2013
Amazingly the Giants have been outbid ... and outflanked. Lance Franklin has chosen Bondi over Rooty Hill.
Franklin has told Hawthorn he wants to leave. He has told Greater Western Sydney he doesn’t want its money because he said he wants to go to the Swans - for potentially a very very lengthy contract.
August: Sydney Swan Adam Goodes and Hawthorn star Lance Franklin at the announcement of the Indigenous Allstars team to take on Ireland in October. Photo: Anthony Johnson
This is a deal that has infuriated the Giants, angered the Hawks, disgusted or bewildered the 17 other clubs and conflicted the AFL.
At first blush it seemed Franklin had rejected a bigger-money deal as a Giant than a Swan. But it is emerging that the offer from the Swans is, well, giant.
Franklin could be set to sign with the Swans for $10 million over nine years. When round one starts next season Franklin will be 27.
Being Buddy Franklin
Rivals, now teammates? Alongside Swan opponent Ted Richards. Photo: Anthony Johnson
Franklin rejected the Giants' offer of $1.2 million a year but the Giants offer' came with a rider.
The AFL had agreed that it would pay him as an AFL ambassador. No firm final amount could be yet agreed - it all had to be done at arm’s length - but suffice to say he could have reasonably expected to earn more each year as a Giant than a Swan. Hence the length of tenure would be a clincher. The Giants offer was for six years; the Swans had to do better that. Seemingly they have done quite a bit better than that.
Apparently one of the reasons Franklin opted to be a Swan and not a Giant - other than the fact he could potentially be paid into his mid-30s - was that he did not want to be the promotional face of an expansion club. So he is unlikely to be signing up any time soon as an AFL spruiker at the Swans.
Lance Franklin shakes hands with Nick Malceski after a Hawthorn win over the Swans, August 30. Photo: Anthony Johnson
The Giants then broke Franklin’s news for him. The Giants pulled their offer and, feeling understandably jilted, cared less about disguising the sour reason behind their decision: they tweeted that Franklin had buddied up to the Swans.
The public, Hawthorn and Franklin himself have become conditioned over the last year to the fact he was leaving Hawthorn for more money. This is the sting in the tail.
When it came to it, he has been able to go north to a club in contention, earn more money and not have to live in the suburban sprawl. The appeal of living in Bondi – more difficult when playing in western Sydney – was not insignificant.
Lance Franklin and Lewis Roberts-Thompson. Photo: Pat Scala
Regardless, he is now being paid more than any non-NSW club could reasonably manage to afford, and this is what will infuriate clubs outside Sydney.
The Swans’ move was bold and aggressive. But it is easy to be bold when you have more money to spend than other clubs. The Giants were bold too, but there’s always a harder sell.
The cost-of-living allowance for the NSW clubs – that came under attack from other clubs when Sydney provocatively won the premiership and went out and bought the most expensive player on the market (Kurt Tippett) – will now suffer a renewed assault.
The reason for the depth of Richard Colless’ anger at Hawthorn president Andrew Newbold's questioning of the Swans’ cost-of-living allowance last year is now put into a different perspective.
Undoubtedly the allowance has helped the Swans. But they have also made room in their cap by not re-signing Jesse White who has said he wants to be traded, probably to Collingwood.
The Swans are also yet to even begin negotiations with premiership ruckman Shane Mumford. It would seem unlikely serious talks could now be held with Mumford if the Swans are spending so heavily on Franklin.
Hawthorn had already been pursuing Mumford with money to spend in its cap from Franklin's expected departure.
Hawthorn and the Giants had been privately working closely on managing the Franklin decision – whether he stayed or went – and were mindful of the close personal relationships between the two coaches, Leon Cameron and Alastair Clarkson, and between the Hawks' recruiter Graham Wright and the Giants' Stephen Silvagni. That has been torn asunder by this decision.
The Hawks will not be pleased at Franklin's decision to go to the club that beat them in last year's grand final and was a top-four team this year.
The idea of losing him to the worst side in the competition was barely palatable, but the idea of him going to a top-four club will be distasteful.
The question for the Giants is what do they do now?
They have been humiliated by Franklin and their desire to get in profile players to address their anonymity in the market still needs to be addressed.
The Franklin decision changes the landscape. Do the Giants now look at Dale Thomas? He answers the need of a high-profile player, who has flair, and is theoretically gettable as an out-of-contract free agent.
Thomas is expected to imminently receive an offer from Carlton, but post-Franklin, the Giants would obviously now have the money to blow the Blues away should Thomas be interested. But there is a feeling in Sydney he is well advanced in talks with Carlton now.
Thomas is the only free agent of any profile to satisfy what the Giants are after. So presuming nothing eventuated there the Giants would have to be aggressive traders in this year's exchange period if they are to source a decent player in time for next year.
The Giants are extremely interested in Thomas’ teammate Heath Shaw and a source said they would be more aggressive now in their chase of him.
The Giants have said that draft pick No.1 is on the trade table, but clubs have doubted their sincerity in that. Now it would seem that any draft pick must surely be on the table.
The Giants still might not trade pick one – with key forward Franklin not joining the team, it is doubtful they would pass up getting a player like Tom Boyd, who is an elite key forward prospect.
But the Giants could be expected now to throw money at players – contracted players – and enticing draft picks at clubs to get those players.