New Swan Lance Franklin is adamant he can see out all nine years of his deal with Sydney, with the lure of AFL premierships, not money behind his snub of newcomers GWS.
The Swans on Wednesday unveiled the latest addition to their now impressive forward line, the two-time Coleman Medallist coming to the harbour city on an amazing $10 million deal spread out over nine years.
Swans hierarchy admit the final few years of the deal present a risk to the club given the money is guaranteed to Franklin, but it is a risk worth taking for a club adamant the addition of the Hawthorn forward can deliver more silverware.
Franklin downplayed the risk, saying in his mind he wanted to honour all nine years of the deal, which expires in 2022 – by which time he will be 35.
“Definitely. I love playing my football, I love getting out there, I love training,” Franklin told a packed media conference.
“I can definitely see myself playing until I’m that age.”
Not only play, but play well – with Franklin convinced his best days are not behind him.
And he believes he can translate that to premierships – which is why he snubbed the opportunity to help fledgling cross-town rivals the Giants, who he had been linked to throughout the 2013 season.
“I wanted to come to a club that would hopefully win more premierships,” Franklin said.
“GWS are going to be a great club no doubt, but in probably four or five years they’re going to be good.
“I want success pretty much straight away – that’s the reason why I chose Sydney.
“I think my best footy’s still there.
“Look at Goodesy (Adam Goodes) for instance, what’s he, 33?
“I think there’s a lot of good football left in me.”
Possibly stung by Franklin’s snub, and his claim GWS were years off being competitive, Giants chairman Tony Shepherd penned a letter to club’s members in which he labelled the deal “an extraordinary risk and one we would never entertain.”
The Giants had offered a six-year $7.2 million deal, and never considered matching Sydney’s offer.
“To do so would be to risk our list management strategy for the sake of one individual and we were simply not prepared to do that,” Shepherd said.
“It would have put intolerable pressure on our salary cap and jeopardised the culture we are trying to build at our club.”
Swans management admit the back end of the contract does present some dangers, but the upside presented by the first half of the deal made it a risk worth taking.
“Most people in a free agency state who would be trying to secure someone like Lance would say a six-year deal is something that’s reasonable,” Swans chief executive Andrew Ireland said.
“We probably see if there’s some risk it’s the years after that.
“We’re very very confident it’s a fair contract for Lance – if he plays as we think he can it will be a really good contract for the Sydney Swans.”