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Lance "Buddy" Franklin (file photo)

After being subbed out of the Saturday game against Essendon in Round 20 with a calf injury, Lance "Buddy" Franklin decided to retire. He will not see out the season. It ends several weeks of speculation as to whether or not he would play on in 2024. Scans the next day revealed a six to eight week injury so it was doubtful that he would play again this year even if the Swans do get to the finals. Franklin, 36, leaves with a record of 354 games and 1066 goals to his name. He is only the sixth player in league history to kick over 1000 goals. He sits fourth in the standing for goals.

Drafted by Hawthorn in 2004, he played 182 games and kicked 580 goals for the Hawks and was a member of the 2008 and 2013 premiership teams. At the end of 2013, he said he wanted to move to Sydney, and it was expected that the newest club - GWS - would get him. When GWS dropped their interest, the Swans swooped and gave him a ten year contract worth $10 million. He played 172 games and kicked 486 goals for the Swans.

After informing Teammates, Franklin confirmed the news with an Instagram post alongside a photo of Alastair Clarkson and John Longmire, his two AFL coaches with the message, "What a journey. Thanks to everyone who has been on this crazy ride with me." However, he did not attend the press conference with Coach John Longmire and club CEO Tom Harley. Longmire said, "Everyone would have loved to have Lance available - he just doesn't like these situations." He went on to say that Buddy would speak eventually. Of Franklin, Harley said, "Lance is an icon of the AFL and will go down as one of the greatest players to ever play this game. Lance has that rare ability to transcend footy and has brought so much joy to fans for more than a decade now. He is a champion and will leave a lasting legacy, not only at the Sydney Swans, but within the AFL and broader community ... ".

Buddy Franklin is caught by Marcus Adams
Lance Franklin (file photo)

Longmire was equally effusive in his praise, calling buddy "the greatest forward of his generation" and continued, "He is an absolute freak of nature and we have been lucky enough to have front row seats to one of the best ever to play. He is a massive competitor and a wonderful teammate. Lance is also an extremely private and humble champion, which makes him even more endearing to those who know him ... After coming to the Swans ... in the prime of his life, he leaves as one of our most loved players to run out in the red and white. He is an out and out champion ... "

Clarkson, who coached Franklin at Hawthorn said he had been "privileged" to guide the career of one of the game's greatest, "It’s quite unique that over a twenty year career, Bud only had two coaches. It speaks of his loyalty, dedication and mateship that he retires an icon of the game, and a hero of two clubs that he helped make great in his time at each. His feats as a player are extraordinary, and this has run parallel to his emergence as a great husband, father and mate. He is selfless, humble, loyal and proud. He has set a current day watermark that I believe will be unsurpassed, and the game will miss his theater and drawing power. I feel privileged to share some of his journey. I know his Hawks teammates feel exactly the same."


  • Pick five in the 2004 National Draft 
  • Debuted for Hawthorn in 2005 Round One vs Sydney Swans 
  • 182 games, 580 goals for Hawthorn 2005-13 
  • 172 games, 486 goals for Sydney 2014- 23
  • Sits among top 20 VFL/AFL players for games played, and third-most by an Indigenous player behind Shaun Burgoyne (407) and Adam Goodes (372).
  • Two-time premiership player (2008 and 2013)
  • Four-time Coleman medalist (2008, 2011, 2014, 2017) 
  • 13-time leading goal kicker for his club (six times at Hawthorn 2007, ‘08, ‘09, ‘10, ‘11, ‘12 and Seven at Sydney 2014, ‘15, ‘16, ‘17, ‘18, ‘21, ‘22) 
  • AFL Goal of the Year in 2010 and 2013 
  • Hawthorn Best and Fairest in 2008
  • The most recent player to kick 100 goals in a season – 113 goals in 2008.
  • Eight time All Australian - 2008, ‘10, ‘11, ‘12, ‘14, ‘16, ‘17, ’18 (captain)
  • One of five players to have been named in eight AFL All Australian teams, joining Gary Ablett junior, Patrick Dangerfield, Robert Harvey & Mark Ricciuto 
  • 1066 goals, the fourth most in VFL/AFL history behind Tony Lockett (1532), Gordon Coventry (1299) and Jason Dunstall (1254)
  • Kicked 74 goals in VFL/AFL finals, third most behind Gordon Coventry (111) and Jason Dunstall (78) 

Source:,, Caleb Scanlon (AFL Communications Dept)

Article last changed on Tuesday, August 01, 2023 - 5:16 AM EDT


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