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The GWS Giants have withdrawn their bid for Lance Franklin with the knowledge he will accept an offer from the Sydney Swans.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

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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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AFL 2015

Round 1
Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
CAR 78vs RIC 105 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
MEL 115vs GCF 89 Stats
SYD 72vs ESS 60 Stats
BRI 74vs COL 86 Stats
WBU 97vs WCE 87 Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 78vs GWS 87 Stats
ADE 140vs NTH 63 Stats
FRE 75vs PTA 68 Stats
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 123vs GEE 61 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
WCE 131vs CAR 62 Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 66vs WBU 85 Report Stats
GWS 101vs MEL 56 Stats
COL 63vs ADE 90 Report Stats
GCF 76vs STK 104 Stats
PTA 44vs SYD 92 Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
GEE 60vs FRE 104 Stats
ESS 78vs HAW 76 Stats
NTH 133vs BRI 51 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
COL 140vs STK 66 Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
CAR 84vs ESS 105 Stats
ADE 80vs MEL 55 Stats
SYD 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
NTH 105vs PTA 113 Stats
BRI 58vs RIC 137 Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 127vs WBU 57 Stats
GEE 105vs GCF 96 Stats
WCE 81vs FRE 111 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 51vs MEL 83 Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 81vs CAR 121 Report Report Stats
ESS 49vs COL 69 Report Stats
GWS 119vs GCF 53 Stats
PTA 99vs HAW 91 Stats
FRE 74vs SYD 60 Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 65vs WCE 118 Stats
GEE 67vs NTH 83 Stats
WBU 125vs ADE 68 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 45vs COL 120 Stats
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
RIC 76vs GEE 85 Stats
SYD 73vs WBU 77 Stats
GCF 118vs BRI 54 Stats
NTH 70vs HAW 130 Stats
WCE 120vs GWS 33 Stats
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
MEL 50vs FRE 118 Stats
STK 80vs ESS 82 Stats
ADE 91vs PTA 115 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
COL 59vs GEE 100 Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
NTH 109vs RIC 74 Stats
WBU 87vs STK 94 Stats
GWS 108vs HAW 98 Stats
GCF 78vs ADE 119 Stats
MEL 50vs SYD 88 Stats
FRE 80vs ESS 52 Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 75vs BRI 84 Report Stats
PTA 68vs WCE 78 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 82vs NTH 93 Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE 119vs STK 73 Stats
HAW 155vs MEL 50 Stats
CAR 57vs GWS 135 Stats
SYD 120vs GEE 77 Stats
WCE 135vs GCF 43 Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
WBU 88vs FRE 101 Stats
RIC 105vs COL 100 Report Stats
BRI 102vs PTA 65 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
GEE 140vs CAR 63 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
STK 78vs WCE 131 Report Stats
GWS 108vs ADE 84 Report Stats
GCF 63vs COL 132 Report Stats
HAW 69vs SYD 73 Report Stats
FRE 115vs NTH 42 Report Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 136vs BRI 78 Report Stats
MEL 103vs WBU 64 Report Stats
PTA 43vs RIC 76 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD 122vs CAR 62 Report Stats
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW 93vs GCF 40 Report Stats
MEL 54vs PTA 115 Report Stats
WBU 113vs GWS 68 Report Stats
RIC 72vs ESS 59 Report Stats
ADE 57vs FRE 68 Report Stats
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI 86vs STK 108 Report Stats
COL 112vs NTH 95 Report Stats
WCE 120vs GEE 64 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE 70vs RIC 97 Report Stats
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 90vs ADE 99 Report Stats
GCF 41vs SYD 93 Report Stats
ESS 53vs GEE 122 Report Stats
PTA 100vs WBU 62 Report Stats
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
GWS 97vs BRI 67 Report Stats
NTH 85vs WCE 75 Report Stats
STK 69vs HAW 132 Report Stats
Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL 85vs COL 110 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
PTA 69vs GEE 92 Report Stats
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
GCF 46vs FRE 53 Report Stats
WCE 96vs ESS 46 Report Stats
NTH 75vs SYD 91 Report Report Stats
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
COL 119vs GWS 77 Report Stats
STK 85vs MEL 83 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
ADE 85vs HAW 114 Report Stats
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
RIC 70vs WCE 90 Report Stats
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 110vs PTA 106 Report Stats
GWS 61vs NTH 117 Report Stats
WBU 146vs BRI 74 Report Stats
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
GEE 89vs MEL 113 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE 80vs COL 73 Report Stats
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD 77vs RIC 95 Report Stats
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW 114vs ESS 76 Report Stats
BRI 69vs ADE 82 Report Stats
STK 56vs WBU 62 Report Stats
Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 103vs GCF 69 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD 94vs PTA 84 Report Stats
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
COL 91vs HAW 101 Report Stats
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC 78vs GWS 69 Report Stats
GCF 125vs NTH 70 Report Stats
WBU 64vs CAR 53 Report Stats
MEL 60vs WCE 114 Report Stats
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS 52vs STK 162 Stats
ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
FRE 84vs BRI 48 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA 66vs COL 63 Report Stats
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC 71vs CAR 41 Report Stats
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS 69vs MEL 60 Report Stats
WBU 95vs GCF 73 Report Stats
NTH 120vs GEE 79 Report Stats
WCE 147vs ADE 91 Report Stats
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS 84vs STK 49 Report Stats
HAW 115vs FRE 43 Report Stats
BRI 49vs SYD 70 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
NTH 93vs ESS 68 Report Stats
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE 72vs WBU 64 Report Stats
GCF 79vs GWS 94 Report Stats
COL 56vs WCE 87 Report Stats
SYD 57vs HAW 146 Report Stats
FRE 95vs CAR 53 Report Stats
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL 60vs BRI 36 Report Stats
PTA 113vs ADE 116 Report Stats
STK 73vs RIC 89 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR 35vs HAW 173 Report Stats
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS 42vs GEE 69 Stats
ADE 125vs GCF 80 Stats
RIC 78vs FRE 82 Stats
ESS 116vs PTA 129 Stats
BRI 38vs NTH 110 Report Stats
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
WBU 104vs COL 86 Report Stats
MEL 46vs STK 83 Report Stats
WCE 103vs SYD 51 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
HAW 53vs RIC 71 Report Stats
Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE 113vs BRI 57 Stats
COL 54vs MEL 91 Report Stats
SYD 117vs ADE 65 Report Stats
CAR 54vs NTH 118 Report Stats
GCF 83vs WCE 83 Report Stats
Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
PTA 112vs STK 49 Report Stats
ESS 40vs WBU 127 Report Stats
FRE 84vs GWS 63 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE 88vs RIC 52 Report Stats
Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
COL 105vs CAR 87 Report Stats
WBU 128vs PTA 64 Report Stats
BRI 100vs GCF 114 Report Stats
GEE 95vs SYD 63 Report Stats
WCE 74vs HAW 88 Report Stats
Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL 92vs NTH 127 Report Stats
GWS 93vs ESS 61 Report Stats
STK 59vs FRE 96 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD 87vs COL 76 Report Stats
Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
ESS 59vs ADE 171 Report Stats
NTH 120vs STK 83 Report Stats
PTA 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
GEE 85vs HAW 121 Report Stats
BRI 131vs CAR 67 Report Stats
Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
RIC 138vs GCF 55 Report Stats
WBU 153vs MEL 55 Report Stats
FRE 80vs WCE 104 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
HAW 86vs PTA 108 Report Stats
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
COL 56vs RIC 147 Report Stats
GWS 44vs SYD 133 Report Stats
GCF 97vs ESS 95 Report Stats
STK 97vs GEE 97 Report Stats
ADE 131vs BRI 44 Report Stats
Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH 94vs FRE 83 Report Stats
CAR 78vs MEL 55 Report Stats
WCE 162vs WBU 85 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE 62vs COL 110 Report Stats
Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
GWS ($1.22)vs CAR ($4.50) 13:45Spotless Stadium
HAW ($1.01)vs BRI ($17.00) 14:10AS
NTH ($1.67)vs WBU ($2.25) 16:35ES
ESS ($6.75)vs RIC ($1.12) 19:20MCG
GCF ($3.30)vs PTA ($1.35) 19:20MS
Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE ($2.05)vs WCE ($1.80) 13:10Adelaide Oval
STK ($4.50)vs SYD ($1.22) 15:20ES
FRE ($1.08)vs MEL ($8.50) 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
RIC vs NTH 19:50ES
Sat, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
GEE ($2.00)vs ADE ($1.75) 13:05SS
BRI ($3.50)vs WBU ($1.28) 13:45G
PTA ($1.75)vs FRE ($2.00) 15:50Adelaide Oval
HAW ($1.01)vs CAR ($15.00) 16:40MCG
SYD ($1.02)vs GCF ($12.00) 19:20SCG
WCE ($1.11)vs STK ($6.25) 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
MEL vs GWS 13:10ES
COL vs ESS 15:20MCG
View All Fixtures
AFL 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D % Pts
Fremantle 20 16 4 0 122.19 64
West Coast Eagles 20 15 4 1 150.85 62
Hawthorn 20 14 6 0 154.20 56
Sydney Swans 20 14 6 0 118.16 56
Richmond 20 13 7 0 120.22 52
Western Bulldogs 20 13 7 0 116.09 52
North Melbourne 20 13 7 0 110.91 52
Adelaide Crows 19 12 7 0 116.41 50
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