Lance Franklin gets hero's welcome
Sydney Swans recruit Lance Franklin was mobbed by fans outside his new club after he made his first press appearance wearing red and white.PT2M0S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2v7lu 620 349 October 9, 2013
The Swans will not place restrictions on the company Lance Franklin keeps in Sydney, confident in the belief their superstar recruit will not do anything to jeopardise the club's renowned culture.
Franklin's new employers have made it clear he is free to socialise with whomever he pleases, including controversial Wallaby Kurtley Beale, and will be treated like every other player on the list regarding off-field discipline.
Despite a reputation as a party boy, Franklin has been one of the champion forwards of the modern era as indicated by personal and team accolades including two Coleman medals, two flags and four All Australian jumpers.
Fitting in: Lance Franklin in his new surrounds. Photo: Anthony Johnson
The Swans are not overly concerned with Franklin's off-field behaviour otherwise they would not have signed him on a lucrative nine-year deal which chief executive Andrew Ireland acknowledged had a ''degree of risk''. Officially unveiled as a Swan on Wednesday, he is desperate to earn the respect of his new teammates by training hard. He was even spotted at an inner-city gym on Tuesday.
Franklin, who leaves for holidays on Thursday before linking with the AFL's indigenous team for the International Rules series in Ireland, is confident he can meet the extremely high standards the Swans' on-field leaders demand of any player in the red and white. ''I'm up here to play football, that's what I'm paid to do and that's what I'm here for,'' he said. ''I'm just looking forward to preseason, getting to know my teammates, earning their respect and playing some good football.
''I'm sure I'll definitely fit into this culture. I've been in Hawthorn nine years and sat in that club very comfortably too. I'm sure I'll fit in here perfectly.''
Coach John Longmire said Franklin's signing had been accepted by senior Swans, who were willing to take on a player whom they believed would improve the club's on-field stocks, but it's understood they were not told about the length of his deal. ''We don't go and speak to our leaders about negotiations,'' Longmire said. ''They want to be competitive and in the top part of the ladder for a number of years. We firmly believe Lance can help that.''
The Swans and Franklin, 26, are confident he will play out the full term of his nine-year deal. Franklin has even declared his best is yet to come, highlighting Adam Goodes, who won his third best and fairest aged 31, as an example of a player who could still star in his 30s. ''I think my best footy is still there. Players can get to their prime around 26 or 27,'' said Franklin, who will be 35 when his contract expires. ''I think there's a lot of good football left in me. As long as I'm training hard and giving my all pre-season I know it'll come out when I play during the season.''
Franklin said his decision to choose the Swans above Greater Western Sydney was due to his desire for instant success rather than having to wait ''four or five years'' at the Giants. ''But, at the end of the day, I wanted to come to a club that was going to hopefully win more premierships,'' he said. ''I want success pretty much straight away, so that's the reason why I chose Sydney.''
Franklin said he did not mislead the Giants but the league's newest club remains disappointed it did not win his signature. In a letter sent to members, chairman Tony Shepherd outlined why they did not take the ''extraordinary risk'' of signing Franklin to a nine-year contract, saying it would have put ''intolerable pressure'' on their salary cap and ''jeopardised'' the culture they were trying to build.