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Sydney Swans risk the house for Buddy Franklin deal

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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The GWS Giants have withdrawn their bid for Lance Franklin with the knowledge he will accept an offer from the Sydney Swans.

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I predict tears. Many tears before bedtime . . .

No, wait, that is too oblique, so let me start again.

Bumper deal: Buddy Franklin.

Bumper deal: Buddy Franklin. Photo: Pat Scala

Prima facie the Buddy Franklin move to the Sydney Swans seems fraught with difficulties and ...

And hang on, that is too earnest. How 'bout this then ..?

HAVE THE SWANS GOT FREAKING ROCKS IN THEIR HEAD?

Rivals, now teammates? Alongside Swan opponent Ted Richards. Click for more photos

Being Buddy Franklin

From his days at draft camp in 2004 to his thirteen goal haul in Tasmania. We look back through the archives of superstar forward Lance 'Buddy' Franklin. Photo: Anthony Johnson

Yes, friends, that is the question. It is not simply the staggering numbers involved – a breathtaking $10 million over nine years to get the Hawthorn star to up stumps and come north – though we will get to that.

The first and most obvious thing, as has been frequently commented on in the last 24 hours, is that the whole schtick of the Swans for the past decade has been their “No Dickheads” selectorial policy, and it is for this reason that they are inarguably Sydney's most beloved team. They have won, and won well through a combination of hard work, great talent modestly presented, and an ethos of "the team comes first".

And right into the middle of that superb and demonstrably successful culture over the past decade, you place Buddy Franklin himself for the NEXT decade? This is not to say that Franklin is a dickhead per se, and indeed I am informed via Twitter by my southern star colleague, Greg Baum, that the full forward – whatever that is – has matured a great deal in the past few years.

But against that, if you called Central Casting and said, “Send me over a prime dickhead,” and Buddy Franklin turned up the way he was on the Sunday after the Grand Final – a tower of swaggering sneer and staggering hubris – you would hardly be inclined to ask for your money back?

Look, the fact that Franklin signed up with the Swans - as opposed to the GWS Giants on a shorter-term and less overall lucrative deal - is hardly surprising.

To begin with, Franklin looks far more like a man who will gravitate to The Ivy on George St, rather than the famed Rooty Hill RSL, so why not live close by? And why not play with a team might actually win the Premiership, than one who has got the past two wooden spoons?

Of course he would grab at it.

But here is the most obvious problem with the whole thing for the Swans.

When clubs and players sign long-term deals they are both making a bet. The club bets the player that in the final years of the contract, the player is actually going to be worth more than the figure agreed to at the time of the signing. And the player is making a bet that they will actually be worth less, so it is in their interests to sign now.

Me? I reckon Buddy will win the bet. He will be 27 years old at the first bounce next season, and 36 at the last bounce of 2022.

Who remembers a player ever losing a bet like that, particularly a bet with such a long-term contract? As a matter of fact, does anyone remember a contract of a near-decade duration ever being given to an Australian sportsman, let alone one in his late 20s?

Champion players, always looking for an edge, live on that edge. They push themselves to that edge, to get their last squeak of performance out. But with this contract, Franklin is set for life, and surely as comfortable as he has ever been. Who needs an edge, now?

Yes, he has prospered to this point because of his extraordinary talent, but he is now at an age where the only way to stay even close to the height of his powers is to work harder than he ever has. And what will be his reward for so doing? There is no major financial incentive – that is locked down already. Perhaps for the love of the Swans, then? He doesn't love the Swans, he loves Hawthorn, with whom he has been his whole adult life. He has been seduced by the Swans, and there is a big difference.

Perhaps then, he will work harder than ever for the Swans, simply because that is the honourable thing to do under the circumstances, and that when he is 36 years old, he will be training the house down, to get the last gasp of energy from his body, so as to fully deserve the staggering salary he will be being paid. All for the honour of it.

I certainly hope so. But I wouldn't bet a million dollars on it. And nor, if I was the Swans, would I be putting that enormous amount of money on just one player for such a length of time, inevitably meaning that the rest of their recruits for years to come will be of a far more modest nature.

And yes, thanks, I also get it that the other part of the Swans' bet is that by structuring the deal this way, their key is to get Franklin now, while a fair chunk of his pay can be given to him down the track, so they don't breach the salary cap.

But again, I put it to you: the lesson of Australian sport is that quick fixes with huge splashes of money rarely work. Rather, the Swans themselves have been at the forefront of the notion that long-term success usually comes from painstaking long-term work, building a culture where the premium is placed on performance above all else, and the money stuff comes later.

And now they do this.

I predict tears. Many tears before bedtime ...

Not the beginning. But the beginning of the end.

Twitter: @Peter_Fitz

200 comments

  • lol, 'dickheads'.....

    10 million is a joke, what if he just gets worse and worse as a player?

    Why on earth would they invest so much in 1 player for so long? Ludicrous.

    Commenter
    Paul
    Location
    Syd
    Date and time
    October 02, 2013, 10:36AM
    • Don't reckon he'll like the small SCG that much either

      Commenter
      Wal
      Date and time
      October 02, 2013, 11:09AM
    • Rumour has it Clarko picked up half the bill as an investment for two more premierships in the more immediate future.

      Commenter
      Mike Sheehan
      Date and time
      October 02, 2013, 11:28AM
    • tax probably, hes too old now , for a it to be seriously about his playing.

      Commenter
      Lane
      Date and time
      October 02, 2013, 12:24PM
    • Fitz

      Just watch the membership RISE RISE RISE
      Many will be new to AFL and many will be female. He may even pay his way in memberships alone.
      He will bring excitement and that infectious smile.
      He (as have Capper, Lockett and Hall) will be part of a game that will eventually bring down the dominance of NRL in Sydney.

      Many new members will be brand new to AFL and will be female

      Commenter
      Hawker
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      October 02, 2013, 12:26PM
  • I can't find a single thing I disagree with in this article. Dark days ahead for the Swans, people

    Commenter
    Zot
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    October 02, 2013, 10:39AM
    • Doe anyone remember when Dermont came to town. Worst player to ever play for the Swans. Let's hope Buddy has more heart.

      Commenter
      Running midfielder
      Location
      Cronulla
      Date and time
      October 02, 2013, 11:41AM
    • So the management are dickheads now are they? Won a premiership last year, close this year. Can't be that bad. Buddy will bring more to the club than just football. He may bring a heap more Sydney-siders in to watch the football. What with that happy go lucky swagger and
      infectious smile many of them will be female. The excitement he brings to the game will be missed by this hawk but now will be on show for Swans. He may well pay his wage in membership alone. Good luck to you Buddy, keep those magnificent skills on show.

      Commenter
      No idea
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      October 02, 2013, 11:57AM
    • i have met a number of the swans senior players in the past few years and to a man they are personally humble, yet they quietly burn with a fierce pride at what the Swans mean to them as a playing group. I cannot speak more highly of them as examples to young boys of what a fine young man is. they train hard, they pursue an education for life after football, keep their private life private and always do their best for their team.

      I too wonder how Franklin fits into this. People can change and learn - perhaps he will. but blimey you'd hope there is a "get-out" clause in the contract for the swans if he fails the "no-d***heads" test.

      Commenter
      steve
      Date and time
      October 02, 2013, 12:27PM
    • The Swans know what they're getting, they're not stupid. I would imagine there'll be many clauses in his contract that will force him to abide by the Swan's ethos and to make sure he gives 100% to the game regardless of how old he is. And as others have already mentioned, he will bring a lot to the club too.

      But he is 27 and a big man so you would think his body is already starting to fatigue from the last 10 or so years of first grade football. I suppose the gamble for the Swans is, the injuries he is likely to acquire in the next 10 years.

      Commenter
      Romeo Charlie
      Date and time
      October 02, 2013, 12:57PM

More comments

Comments are now closed

Related Coverage

Lance Buddy Franklin celebrates one of his 7 goals , Saturday the 8th of September  2007 . Being Buddy Franklin

From his days at draft camp in 2004 to his thirteen goal haul in Tasmania. We look back through the archives of superstar forward Lance 'Buddy' Franklin.

Swans boss Colless fires back at criticism

Sydney chairman Richard Colless has urged the AFL to investigate the club ''as soon as possible'', saying the Swans have done nothing wrong in their bid to lure Lance Franklin.

Buddy's mega-deal brings the AFL's COLA wars back into the spotlight

Lance Franklin's decision to join the established Sydney team, rather than the fledgling one that needed his brand power, was well concealed for this reason: no one could quite believe that the Swans could fit him under the salary cap.

Franklin's $10m deal a year in the making

The seeds of Lance Franklin's stunning $10million, nine-year deal with Sydney were sewn almost 12 months ago – before the Swans had even signed Kurt Tippett.

Sydney's Franklin coup a terrible look for the AFL

Sydney did not swoop on Buddy at the last minute. The Swans don't operate that way.

Buddy bonanza

Lance Franklin will be paid a relatively low amount in his first years at Sydney while Kurt Tippett's sizeable contract tapers down.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 28:  Lance Franklin of the Hawks celebrates winning the 2013 AFL Grand Final match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Fremantle Dockers at Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 28, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images) 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.

Lance Franklin Swans 'rort' a wake-up call for other clubs

Club presidents attack Sydney's cost of living allowance and say AFL equalisation measures must be overhauled in the wake of the controversial Lance Franklin offer.

Lance Franklin says Swans move was a last-minute decision

Lance Franklin claims he did not make up his mind to leave Hawthorn until after the grand final, despite reports of an approach from his management a year earlier to the Sydney Swans.

Alastair Lynch doesn't expect Buddy to see out a 10-year deal

Alastair Lynch, who like Lance Franklin was tempted to change AFL clubs after an extraordinarily long contract, says it can work for both parties.

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Round 1
Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
CAR 78 vs RIC 105 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
MEL 115 vs GCF 89 Stats
SYD 72 vs ESS 60 Stats
BRI 74 vs COL 86 Stats
WBU 97 vs WCE 87 Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 78 vs GWS 87 Stats
ADE 140 vs NTH 63 Stats
FRE 75 vs PTA 68 Stats
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 123 vs GEE 61 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
WCE 131 vs CAR 62 Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 66 vs WBU 85 Report Stats
GWS 101 vs MEL 56 Stats
COL 63 vs ADE 90 Report Stats
GCF 76 vs STK 104 Stats
PTA 44 vs SYD 92 Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
GEE 60 vs FRE 104 Stats
ESS 78 vs HAW 76 Stats
NTH 133 vs BRI 51 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
COL 140 vs STK 66 Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
CAR 84 vs ESS 105 Stats
ADE 80 vs MEL 55 Stats
SYD 111 vs GWS 90 Report Stats
NTH 105 vs PTA 113 Stats
BRI 58 vs RIC 137 Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 127 vs WBU 57 Stats
GEE 105 vs GCF 96 Stats
WCE 81 vs FRE 111 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 51 vs MEL 83 Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 81 vs CAR 121 Report Report Stats
ESS 49 vs COL 69 Report Stats
GWS 119 vs GCF 53 Stats
PTA 99 vs HAW 91 Stats
FRE 74 vs SYD 60 Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 65 vs WCE 118 Stats
GEE 67 vs NTH 83 Stats
WBU 125 vs ADE 68 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 45 vs COL 120 Stats
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
RIC 76 vs GEE 85 Stats
SYD 73 vs WBU 77 Stats
GCF 118 vs BRI 54 Stats
NTH 70 vs HAW 130 Stats
WCE 120 vs GWS 33 Stats
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
MEL 50 vs FRE 118 Stats
STK 80 vs ESS 82 Stats
ADE 91 vs PTA 115 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
COL 59 vs GEE 100 Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
NTH 109 vs RIC 74 Stats
WBU 87 vs STK 94 Stats
GWS 108 vs HAW 98 Stats
GCF 78 vs ADE 119 Stats
MEL 50 vs SYD 88 Stats
FRE 80 vs ESS 52 Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 75 vs BRI 84 Report Stats
PTA 68 vs WCE 78 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 82 vs NTH 93 Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE 119 vs STK 73 Stats
HAW 155 vs MEL 50 Stats
CAR 57 vs GWS 135 Stats
SYD 120 vs GEE 77 Stats
WCE 135 vs GCF 43 Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
WBU 88 vs FRE 101 Stats
RIC 105 vs COL 100 Report Stats
BRI 102 vs PTA 65 Report Stats
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Round 8
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
GEE 140 vs CAR 63 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
STK 78 vs WCE 131 Report Stats
GWS 108 vs ADE 84 Report Stats
GCF 63 vs COL 132 Report Stats
HAW 69 vs SYD 73 Report Stats
FRE 115 vs NTH 42 Report Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 136 vs BRI 78 Report Stats
MEL 103 vs WBU 64 Report Stats
PTA 43 vs RIC 76 Report Stats
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Round 9
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD 122 vs CAR 62 Report Stats
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW 93 vs GCF 40 Report Stats
MEL 54 vs PTA 115 Report Stats
WBU 113 vs GWS 68 Report Stats
RIC 72 vs ESS 59 Report Stats
ADE 57 vs FRE 68 Report Stats
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI 86 vs STK 108 Report Stats
COL 112 vs NTH 95 Report Stats
WCE 120 vs GEE 64 Report Stats
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Round 10
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE vs RIC 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR vs ADE 13:40MCG
GCF vs SYD 16:35MS
ESS vs GEE 19:20ES
PTA vs WBU 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
GWS vs BRI 13:10Spotless Stadium
NTH vs WCE 15:20BA
STK vs HAW 16:40ES
Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL vs COL 15:20MCG
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Round 11
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
PTA vs GEE 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
GCF vs FRE 13:40MS
WCE vs ESS 16:35Domain Stadium
NTH vs SYD 19:20ES
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
COL vs GWS 13:10MCG
STK vs MEL 16:40ES
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Round 12
Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
ADE vs HAW 19:50Adelaide Oval
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
RIC vs WCE 19:50MCG
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CAR vs PTA 13:40MCG
GWS vs NTH 16:35Spotless Stadium
WBU vs BRI 19:20ES
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GEE vs MEL 15:20SS
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Round 13
Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE vs COL 20:10Domain Stadium
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD vs RIC 19:50SCG
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW vs ESS 13:40MCG
BRI vs ADE 16:35G
STK vs WBU 19:20ES
Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR vs GCF 15:20ES
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Round 14
Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs PTA 19:20SCG
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
COL vs HAW 19:50MCG
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC vs GWS 13:40MCG
GCF vs NTH 16:35MS
WBU vs CAR 19:20ES
MEL vs WCE 19:40TIO
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS vs STK 13:10ES
ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
FRE vs BRI 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA vs COL 19:50Adelaide Oval
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC vs CAR 19:50MCG
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS vs MEL 13:40MCG
WBU vs GCF 16:35CAZ
NTH vs GEE 19:20ES
WCE vs ADE 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS vs STK 13:10Spotless Stadium
HAW vs FRE 15:20AS
BRI vs SYD 16:40G
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Round 16
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
NTH vs ESS 19:50ES
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE vs WBU 13:45SS
GCF vs GWS 14:10MS
COL vs WCE 16:35ES
SYD vs HAW 19:20ANZ
FRE vs CAR 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL vs BRI 13:10MCG
PTA vs ADE 15:20Adelaide Oval
STK vs RIC 16:40ES
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Round 17
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR vs HAW 19:50ES
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS vs GEE 13:45SO
ADE vs GCF 14:10Adelaide Oval
RIC vs FRE 16:35MCG
ESS vs PTA 19:20ES
BRI vs NTH 19:20G
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
WBU vs COL 13:10ES
MEL vs STK 15:20MCG
WCE vs SYD 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 18
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
HAW vs RIC 19:50MCG
Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE vs BRI 13:45SS
COL vs MEL 14:10MCG
SYD vs ADE 16:35SCG
CAR vs NTH 19:20ES
GCF vs WCE 19:20MS
Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
PTA vs STK 13:10Adelaide Oval
ESS vs WBU 15:20ES
FRE vs GWS 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 19
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE vs RIC 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
COL vs CAR 13:45MCG
WBU vs PTA 14:10ES
BRI vs GCF 16:35G
GEE vs SYD 19:20SS
WCE vs HAW 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL vs NTH 13:10MCG
GWS vs ESS 15:20Spotless Stadium
STK vs FRE 16:40ES
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Round 20
Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD vs COL 19:50SCG
Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
ESS vs ADE 13:45ES
NTH vs STK 14:10BA
PTA vs GWS 16:35Adelaide Oval
GEE vs HAW 19:20MCG
BRI vs CAR 19:20G
Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
RIC vs GCF 13:10MCG
WBU vs MEL 15:20ES
FRE vs WCE 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 21
Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
HAW vs PTA 19:50ES
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
COL vs RIC 13:45MCG
GWS vs SYD 14:10Spotless Stadium
GCF vs ESS 16:35MS
STK vs GEE 19:20ES
ADE vs BRI 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH vs FRE 13:10ES
CAR vs MEL 15:20MCG
WCE vs WBU 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 22
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE vs COL 19:50MCG
Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
GWS vs CAR 13:45Spotless Stadium
HAW vs BRI 14:10AS
NTH vs WBU 16:35ES
ESS vs RIC 19:20MCG
GCF vs PTA 19:20MS
Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE vs WCE 13:10Adelaide Oval
STK vs SYD 15:20ES
FRE vs MEL 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
COL vs ESS 00:00MCG
RIC vs NTH 00:00ES
HAW vs CAR 00:00MCG
GEE vs ADE 00:00SS
SYD vs GCF 00:00SCG
MEL vs GWS 00:00ES
BRI vs WBU 00:00G
PTA vs FRE 00:30Adelaide Oval
WCE vs STK 02:00Domain Stadium
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AFL 2015
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Team P W L D % Pts
Fremantle 9 9 0 0 151.61 36
West Coast Eagles 9 7 2 0 161.19 28
Sydney Swans 9 7 2 0 134.49 28
Collingwood 9 6 3 0 128.24 24
GWS Giants 9 6 3 0 110.26 24
Hawthorn 9 5 4 0 151.26 20
Adelaide Crows 9 5 4 0 113.37 20
Richmond 9 5 4 0 108.86 20
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