The AFL has long produced a running list of exceptional stars, but few names are as synonymous with the sport as that of Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin. Since signing a lucrative nine-year deal in 2013, Franklin has come to be idolised by those fans of the Sydney Swans. He is, by all appearances, almost bigger than the club itself; drawing fans to stadiums all to watch his athletic prowess and sportsmanship, his relentless drive and insurmountable strength.
Throughout the course of his career, Franklin has delivered some of the greatest sporting moments. Who could forget the incredible scenes earlier in March of this year, when crowds descended from the bleachers to storm the field of the SCG in eager excitement and celebration of Franklin’s 1000th career goal, as he became just the sixth VFL/AFL player to reach such a milestone.
But while it was rumoured that Franklin might be on his way out of the club as it looks to juggle a salary cap and list of young talent, it’s since been revealed that fans will be able to see Franklin sporting the Swans uniform that little bit longer.
The Swans announced that Franklin would play on for another year, tweeting a two-word statement that simply read: “One more.” It comes after months of speculation and rampant rumours that suggested Franklin might even retire after the grand final or join a rival club. Instead, Franklin will enter his 10th season with Sydney and his 19th overall as he continues to leave an incredible legacy that goes beyond the sport itself.
It’s incredible news, particularly when not too long ago there were concerns for Franklin’s longevity in the sport as he became sidelined with injuries. Thankfully, in 2022 he returned fitter than ever, kicking more than 50 majors in a season for the 13th time in his career.
When it comes to the sporting greats and heroes of the game that audiences look up to and revere, Franklin’s name stands out amongst the rest. He first joined the Swans after playing in the grand final that saw Hawthorn emerge victorious in 2013, having already won two premierships with the Hawks.
Now, Franklin holds a staggering 1,047 career goals to his name over the course of 340 games, eclipsing the likes of Gary Ablett Snr with a tally of 1,031. Franklin mow sits behind Doug Wade on 1057, Jason Dunstall of 1254 career goals, Gordon Coventry on 1299 and Tony Lockett on 1360.