Leading AFL journalist Caroline Wilson has labelled the actions of Lance Franklin’s management team as “sloppy” as the champion forward navigates his options for 2023 and beyond.
Franklin released a statement on Saturday declaring he had put contract talks on hold until the end of the season.
The news, dropped by Franklin’s new manager Adam Finch, came after the 1000-goal superstar was linked to a move to the Lions as he nears the end of his nine-year, $10 million contract with the Swans.
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Lance Franklin (Getty)
Given the strong relationship between club and player and the constancy of finals appearances since Franklin joined in 2014, Wilson told Nine’s Footy Classified she was surprised to see one of the game’s biggest names at a “vague cross road” with Sydney.
“It feels sloppy from the Franklin camp – from his management,” she said.
“I think if Sydney had a wish, they would probably wish that Liam Pickering was still managing Lance Franklin.”
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Pickering was the man who brokered Franklin’s historic $10 million deal in 2014.
He spoke on radio over the weekend after reports of the potential Lions deal and Swans stalemate were leaked.
“”I certainly wouldn’t be doing this in the press… I have no doubt he’s playing at the Swans (next year) and they’ll get there. He’s not going to leave on $100,000 (difference),” Pickering told SEN.
“I think he’s worth $700,000, Sydney needs to work out whether they can fit him into the salary cap.”
Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes was also surprised the Franklin negotiations are being played out publicly.
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“(The Swans) kept the biggest, most high profile contract ever so secret that no one knew about it, and all of a sudden this has played out through the media so it’s been handled poorly,” Cornes said.
In the statement, the 35-year-old said where, or if, he would pull on the boots in 2023 would be a “family decision”, with wife Jesinta reportedly motivated to relocate north to be closer to family on the Gold Coast.
“I think he’s genuinely anxious about whether he plays on or not and it’s stressing him out,” Wilson said.
“I don’t think this is about money. I don’t think they had agreed on the money, but I think – say it was half a million dollars – I think they could have come to terms on that.”
This prompted AFL great Matthew Lloyd to ask what Franklin could be concerned about.
“About what he does next year, about where he is going to live – he was always going to live in Sydney, now they’re going to live on the Gold Coast we hear, or somewhere in Queensland,” Wilson said.
“I don’t think it’s about money.”
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