Lance Franklin

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Lance Franklin
Sydney Swans Fan Day Lance "Buddy" Franklin.jpg
Franklin at the Sydney Swans fan day in 2014
Personal information
Full name Lance Franklin
Nickname(s) Buddy
Date of birth (1987-01-30) 30 January 1987 (age 31)
Place of birth Perth, Western Australia
Original team(s) Perth (WAFL)
Draft No. 5, 2004 National Draft, Hawthorn
Height/Weight 198 cm / 102 kg
Position(s) Full forward/Centre half-forward
Club information
Current club Sydney Swans
Number 23
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
182 (580)
049 (166)
231 (746)
Representative team honours
Years Team Games (Goals)
2008 Dream Team 1 (4)
International team honours
2013 Australia 1 (1)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of Round 10, 2016 season.
2 State and international statistics correct as of 2013.
Career highlights

Lance "Buddy" Franklin (born 30 January 1987), is a professional Australian rules footballer who plays for the Sydney Swans in the Australian Football League (AFL). He previously played for the Hawthorn Football Club between 2005 and 2013.

Early life

Lance Franklin was born in Perth, Western Australia. Franklin grew up in Dowerin, and supported the Melbourne Football Club. At the age of 15, he won a sports scholarship and boarded at Wesley College, Perth.[1] He played one senior game for the Perth Football Club in 2004, kicking one goal,[2] and represented Western Australia at the AFL Under 18 Championships.

AFL career

Hawthorn (2005–2013)

2005: First season

After attending draft camp and showing promise, Hawthorn selected Franklin with their second pick, number five overall, in the 2004 AFL Draft. In a 2012 interview on the Fox Footy program On The Couch, Franklin admitted that his "free spirit" probably scared a few clubs away from selecting him that year. Debuting in Round 1 of the 2005 season against the Sydney Swans at the SCG, he showed a strong presence up forward and played 20 out of 22 games, kicking 27 goals.

2006: Promising signs

After injuring his ankle and hand early in the 2006 season, Franklin made his way back to senior level through the VFL, and played his first AFL game of the season in Round 9 against Sydney. In Round 12, he kicked six goals against Richmond. On July 13, 2006, Franklin signed a two-year deal to remain at Hawthorn after being linked with clubs such as Essendon, Fremantle and the West Coast Eagles. Another six-goal game late in the season prompted predictions of Franklin to be the next big-name forward in the AFL.

2007: Breakout season

Franklin in Round 18, 2007 against Essendon

In 2007, Franklin finished the home-and-away season with 63 goals, finishing third in the Coleman Medal behind Fremantle captain Matthew Pavlich and the eventual winner, Brisbane Lions co-captain Jonathan Brown. Franklin's tally included a career-high nine goals against Essendon in Round 6. However, in Round 21 against the Western Bulldogs, he kicked eleven behinds with his two goals. Only Richmond's Jack Titus and St Kilda's Dave McNamara have kicked more behinds in a game without managing more than two goals. In the 1st Elimination Final of 2007, the Hawks mounted a big comeback in the second half against the Adelaide Crows. Franklin was instrumental in the win, kicking seven goals in his finals debut, including the match-winning goal from outside 50 metres with seven seconds remaining in the match.[3][4][5][6] Hawthorn were eliminated from the finals the following week by North Melbourne.

Franklin finished the season with an equal-third finish in Hawthorn's best-and-fairest award, the Peter Crimmins Medal, and was Hawthorn's leading goalkicker for the first time in his career.[7]

2008: 113-goal season, first Coleman Medal and first premiership

Thousands of supporters take to the field after Franklin kicked his 100th goal for the 2008 season, in Round 22 against Carlton[8]

2008 saw Franklin establish himself as one of the elite players in the competition in what proved to be his career-best season, and he won his first Coleman Medal with 102 goals in the home-and-away season. His season-high haul of nine goals came once again against Essendon in Round 11.[9] He also played for the Dream Team in the AFL Hall of Fame Tribute Match, kicking four goals.

Franklin kicked his 100th goal for the home-and-away season against Carlton in Round 22 at Etihad Stadium, becoming the first player to kick 100 goals in a season since Tony Lockett in 1998, and the first Hawthorn player since Jason Dunstall in 1996. Upon reaching the milestone, thousands of supporters stormed the field and formed a large huddle around Franklin, who was promptly ushered from the field and into the change rooms until the supporters had cleared. Prior to the match, the AFL had warned of a $6000 fine for every person who jumped the fence.[10] He also was the first player of Aboriginal descent to achieve this. He then added to his tally by kicking another eight goals in the qualifying final against the Western Bulldogs, tying with Dermott Brereton for the most goals kicked by a Hawthorn player in a finals match. He kicked just one goal against St Kilda in the preliminary final, before Hawthorn went on to win the premiership. Although Franklin did not play a large part in the grand final, his two goals brought his season tally up to 113 goals. Franklin was named as full forward in the All-Australian Team that year, his first ever selection; he then received his first Peter Crimmins Medal for his outstanding season.[11]

2009: Injuries and 100th game

Franklin missed the 2009 NAB Cup after undergoing surgery on his thumb and his shoulder in the off-season.[13] On his return to senior football, his form fell well short of his 2008 performances.[14] He played his 100th game in Round 19 against St Kilda at Hawthorn's second home, Aurora Stadium in Launceston, Tasmania. During the game, one of Franklin's teeth fell out during a marking contest with Saints defender Zac Dawson.[15]

In Round 21, Franklin was suspended for two matches as a result of a hip-and-shoulder against Richmond midfielder Ben Cousins.[16][17] The Hawks appealed the decision, but failed.[18] As a result, Franklin missed Hawthorn's final home-and-away match against Essendon, which the Hawks lost, and they therefore missed out the finals, causing Franklin to miss Round 1 of the following season.

2010: Suspensions and first Goal of the Year award

Franklin missed three of the first seven matches of 2010, all through suspension, as Hawthorn lost six consecutive matches after Round 1. However, Franklin was back to his best form in Round 9 against Carlton at Etihad Stadium, when he led Hawthorn to a 50-point win with five goals.[19][20][21] He showed glimpses of his 2008 form and looked to have his goalkicking form back, as he was back to his career average of more than three goals a game (324 goals in 106 games after Round 9). However, in Round 10, Franklin was suspended for the third time in eight matches for a head-high bump on Sydney Swans' defender Martin Mattner.

In Round 13, Franklin effectively dragged Hawthorn over the line for a win against their arch-rival in Essendon.[22][23][24] He kicked five goals for the match, but his last two were the standouts - the final one in particular, a goal from the boundary line on a tight angle after having run from half-back, which was later chosen as Goal of the Year.[24][25][25][26] Franklin kicked five goals in Round 17 against St Kilda after returning from an ankle injury;[27] despite his performance, the Saints forced a draw during the final seconds of the match. In Round 22, Franklin kicked six goals against Collingwood,[28] helping the Hawks clinch a three-point come-from-behind victory against the eventual premiers. It was the first time that he had kicked more than five goals since 2008. Frankin was again named in the All-Australian team that year.

2011: Second Coleman Medal

Franklin kicking for goal against Port Adelaide in Round 21, 2011

After a moderately good year in 2010, Franklin had a consistent start to the 2011 season. In Round 8 against the Sydney Swans at the SCG, Franklin kicked his 400th goal for Hawthorn in a six-goal outing as the Hawks beat the Swans by 46 points. He continued his consistent goalkicking form for the remainder of the year, including a season-high eight goals in a club-record 165-point win against a young Port Adelaide side at the MCG in Round 21. Franklin went on to win his second Coleman Medal that year with 71 goals, despite spending a significant amount of time further up the ground.

Franklin was Hawthorn's sole target up forward in their qualifying final loss to the Geelong Cats, kicking four goals. However, in the fourth quarter, he landed heavily in a marking contest and hyperextended his knee. While footage of the incident suggested possible damage to his anterior cruciate ligament, scans later revealed that he had instead suffered bone bruising and bleeding; nevertheless, most observers considered Franklin's season to be over following the loss. However, he returned the following week against the Sydney Swans, kicking another four goals and playing an important part in the Hawks' eventual win. Despite spending time in hospital with a virus in the lead-up to the preliminary final against Collingwood, Franklin was a constant danger, kicking three goals, including a dribble kick in the forward pocket from a tight angle, which almost sealed victory for Hawthorn until Collingwood kicked a late goal and won the match, eliminating the Hawks. Franklin was named at full forward in the All-Australian team for the third time in his career for his consistent season.

2012: 13-goal game, 500th goal and further injuries

Franklin celebrating a goal against the Adelaide Crows in Round 3, 2012

Franklin struggled early in the season with inaccurate goalkicking, kicking 21 goals and 36 behinds in his first nine matches.[29] However, he dramatically reversed his fortunes in Round 10 when he kicked a career-high 13 goals in a 115-point drubbing of North Melbourne at Aurora Stadium.[30] Franklin was also among one of the five players that year to reach the milestone of 500 career goals, which occurred in a 162-point demolition of newcomers Greater Western Sydney in Round 15, nearly eclipsing the club-record winning margin set the year before. He is the second indigenous player to reach 500 goals, the fifth Hawthorn player, the seventh-youngest and the tenth-quickest from debut.[31] However, Franklin suffered a hamstring injury the week before and continued to play, before injuring it further in the Giants game which, along with an illness, caused him to miss six matches.[32]

Franklin returned against the Sydney Swans at the SCG in Round 22, kicking four goals in a seven-point come-from-behind victory against the eventual premiers, including three in the second quarter. Franklin played a minor role in the finals series that year, but kicked a goal late in the last quarter of the preliminary final against the Adelaide Crows which sealed the game for the Hawks, allowing them to qualify for the Grand Final against the Sydney Swans, where Franklin kicked three goals in a losing side.

2013: Second Goal of the Year award and second premiership

Franklin kicked 60 goals during the 2013 season, the first time since 2006 that he had kicked less than three goals per game, as he became less of a focal point in the Hawthorn forward line, while teammate Jarryd Roughead enjoyed a career-best season with 72 goals, earning him the Coleman Medal. However, a leap and goal on the run in Round 3 against Collingwood earned Franklin his second Goal of the Year.[33]

Franklin played in the 2013 AFL Grand Final in which Hawthorn defeated Fremantle; this was the second time that he had played in a Hawthorn premiership winning side. Despite this, his season was dominated by media speculation over his contract situation, and playing in a second premiership at Hawthorn only strengthened rumours of his impending departure, with many believing that he was set to finish his career at Hawthorn on a high note.[34]

Move to Sydney Swans

Before the start of the 2013 season, Franklin, who was in the final year of his four-year contract with Hawthorn at the time, announced that he would not begin talks with Hawthorn about a new contract until the end of the season. Having played for nine seasons at Hawthorn, he was classified as a restricted free agent at the end of the season, meaning that the club could retain Franklin if it was able to match any rival offers.[35] Greater Western Sydney was considered the most likely destination if Franklin was to choose to leave Hawthorn.[36]

On October 1, 2013, after months of speculation dating back to before the start of the season, Greater Western Sydney shocked the football public by withdrawing their offer of $1.2 million per year for six years, announcing that they were of the belief that Franklin was set to sign with the Sydney Swans.[37] The Sydney Swans' chairman, Andrew Ireland, said later that day that the contract offered to Franklin was a nine-year deal worth $10 million, and that Franklin's management first approached the Swans about the move shortly after the 2012 AFL Grand Final, when Franklin played in a losing side against the Swans.[38] The next day, Franklin said that he did not make his decision to move to Sydney "until the last minute". He also said, "I'm looking forward to getting up to Sydney. It's a great footy club and, as I said, I had to pack my bags up at Hawthorn and saying goodbye to the boys is something very tough, and upsetting, too".[39] Franklin's manager, Liam Pickering, also revealed that the nine-year contract was so back-ended that he would be making less money with the Swans in 2014–15 than he was at Hawthorn in 2013.

Franklin officially joined the Sydney Swans on October 8, 2013, a week after the move was first announced, after Hawthorn decided against matching the offer made to the restricted free agent.[40] The next day, Franklin was unveiled by the Swans at the SCG.[41] Later in October, Franklin travelled to Ireland with the Australian International Rules team for the 2013 International Rules Series. It was the first time that Franklin had represented Australia in international rules football, and he managed one over in the first match of the two-test series. Following the first match, he travelled back to Australia for the wedding of his former teammate Brent Guerra, and was unable to participate in the second match.[42]

Sydney Swans (2014–present)

2014: 200th game and third Coleman Medal

Prior to the 2014 season, his first as a Swan, Franklin opted to continue wearing the no. 23 guernsey that he previously wore for Hawthorn.[43] He made his debut for the Sydney Swans in Round 1 in the Sydney Derby against cross-town rivals Greater Western Sydney at Giants Stadium, and finished the game with one goal in a shock loss. After a slow start for both Franklin and the Swans, when they lost three of their first four matches, Franklin returned to form against Fremantle at the SCG, kicking four second-half goals in what would be the first of a club-record-equalling twelve successive wins, during which he twice narrowly avoided suspension. In Round 8 against Hawthorn at ANZ Stadium, Franklin kicked seven successive behinds in the first three quarters, before kicking two fourth-quarter goals to seal an upset victory in Franklin's first match against his former side.

Franklin continued his outstanding form throughout the season (despite kicking 2.7 and 3.5 in two matches against his former side in Hawthorn) and went on to win his third Coleman Medal, kicking 67 goals in 19 matches during the home-and-away season. Franklin also played his 200th game during the season, kicking a season-high nine goals in Round 19 against St Kilda at the SCG. Franklin was selected at full forward in the All-Australian team for the fourth time in his career for his outstanding season; he then went on to finish equal-second with Gary Ablett, Jr. in the 2014 Brownlow Medal count on a career-high 22 votes (the most votes ever polled by a Coleman Medallist), beating the tally of 20 votes he achieved in his other Coleman Medal-winning years of 2008 and 2011. Franklin was one of the Swans' best players throughout the finals series, and kicked four goals in the 2014 AFL Grand Final loss to Hawthorn – his highest ever tally in a grand final.

2015: Injuries and mental illness

Franklin began the 2015 season with a solid three-goal performance against Essendon at ANZ Stadium, improving his record against the Bombers to 58 goals in 12 games. His best game was against Carlton at the SCG in Round 9, when he kicked seven goals. He would finish the year with 47 goals from 17 games, missing four of the last seven games due to a back injury.[44] It was the first time since 2006 that he had kicked less than 50 goals in a season. He then withdrew from playing in the finals series due to a mental illness.[45]

2016: Career-best form

After making a successful return to football during the preseason, Franklin began the 2016 season with four consecutive four-goal performances, seeing him return to his best form with at least four goals kicked from seven of the first eight matches to lead the race for the Coleman Medal. In Round 9, Franklin played his best game against Hawthorn with four marks, four tackles and three goals, two of which were long-range goals kicked in the last quarter to seal the 14-point win against the triple-reigning premiers. Franklin then followed up with seven marks, six tackles and three goals in a 26-point win against the unbeaten North Melbourne at the SCG in Round 10.

Personal life

Tattoos dedicated to Franklin's Indigenous heritage

Franklin's father, Lance Sr., lived in Melbourne and played hockey for Victoria before moving to Western Australia at the age of 21. Lance Sr. represented Western Australia in field hockey.[46] His mother Ursula (née Kickett) is Aboriginal (Nyoongar).[1][47] His sister, Bianca Giteau, played in the ANZ Championship for the Adelaide Thunderbirds. He is the cousin of Melbourne forward Jeff Garlett and former Fremantle defender Dale Kickett.[48] Franklin also has a variety of tattoos dedicated to his Indigenous heritage.[49]

Franklin is currently engaged to former Miss Universe Australia model and Nine Network presenter Jesinta Campbell.[50]


Statistics are correct to the end of Round 10, 2016.[51]
 G  Goals  B  Behinds  K  Kicks  H  Handballs  D  Disposals  M  Marks  T  Tackles
Led the league for the season only
Led the league after finals only
Led the league after season and finals
Season Team # Games G B K H D M T G B K H D M T
Totals Averages (per game)
2005 Hawthorn 38 20 21 13 140 73 213 75 39 1.1 0.7 7.0 3.7 10.7 3.8 2.0
2006 Hawthorn 23 14 31 9 98 58 156 53 25 2.2 0.6 7.0 4.1 11.1 3.8 1.8
2007 Hawthorn 23 22 73 62 201 92 293 123 49 3.3 2.8 9.1 4.2 13.3 5.6 2.2
2008 Hawthorn 23 25 113 88 308 75 383 158 50 4.5 3.5 12.3 3.0 15.3 6.3 2.0
2009 Hawthorn 23 21 67 46 187 129 316 109 48 3.2 2.2 8.9 6.1 15.0 5.2 2.3
2010 Hawthorn 23 18 64 42 205 115 320 100 68 3.6 2.3 11.4 6.4 17.8 5.6 3.8
2011 Hawthorn 23 22 82 61 250 151 401 130 73 3.7 2.8 11.4 6.9 18.2 5.9 3.3
2012 Hawthorn 23 19 69 64 250 100 350 111 71 3.6 3.4 13.2 5.3 18.4 5.8 3.7
2013 Hawthorn 23 21 60 37 214 115 329 86 52 2.9 1.8 10.2 5.5 15.7 4.1 2.5
2014 Sydney 23 22 79 51 267 100 367 139 67 3.6 2.3 12.1 4.5 16.7 6.3 3.0
2015 Sydney 23 17 47 29 192 58 237 83 49 2.8 1.7 11.3 3.4 14.7 4.9 2.3
2016 Sydney 23 10 40 23 131 48 179 53 23 4.0 2.3 13.1 4.8 17.9 5.3 2.3
Career 231 746 525 2445 1112 3557 1220 614 3.2 2.3 10.6 4.8 15.4 5.3 2.7

Honours and achievements

Brownlow Medal votes
Season Votes
2005 1
2006 5
2007 5
2008 20
2009 4
2010 10
2011 20
2012 12
2013 5
2014 22
2015 8
Total 104
Green / Bold = Won
* = joint winner
Red / Italics = Ineligible


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External links