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Did losing Buddy actually help the Hawks?

Expert
26th July, 2015
37
1689 Reads

Thanks to those glorious sporting clichés, we hear about it all the time.

“It’s not about the money, it’s about winning”. Or “It’s not all about winning”.

Or “Winning isn’t everything – it’s the only thing”. Or “A sporting career is short, we have to make the most of it while we can”.

Or my personal favourite – “I’d swap all the money in the world for a premiership”.

I seriously could go on and on, and of course we can’t forget one of the most memorable lines from a recent sporting movie: “Show me the money.”

Watching the Hawks pick apart and feast on Carlton last Friday night got me wondering. Which cliché would best fit Lance Franklin at the moment?

Courtesy of that extraordinary $10.2-million, nine-year deal he signed at the end of 2013, Buddy has the money. A footy career may be short but thanks to that contract he has at least another seven years of getting paid from football.

He also has the anonymity, which brings a much quieter, relaxed lifestyle in Sydney. So, perhaps winning really isn’t the be all and end all.

And, Buddy does already have two premierships, having climbed footy’s Everest back in 2008 and again in his swansong (pardon the pun) season with the Hawks in 2013. How many premierships does one player need? Not everyone needs to win seven like Michael Tuck.

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You would imagine, considering the way they have moved on since, winning the flag last season and suddenly looking totally unbeatable this year, that the Hawks are not too perturbed about the departure of Buddy.

Certainly watching the past few weeks they seem to be coping OK with the likes of Jack Gunston, Luke Breust, even Ryan Shoenmakers – not to mention Jarryd Roughhead and Cyril Rioli – having no problem at all causing havoc among defences.

But I wonder how Buddy feels?

He certainly would have felt pretty good heading into last year’s grand final with his new team hot favourites to beat his old, but it seems – at least for the moment on current form – that Bud might have been winning more had he stayed put for a few dollars less.

While the Swans do have some great young players coming through, and notably the likes of Dan Hannebery, Luke Parker, Tom Mitchell, Sam Reid, and Dean Rampe to name just a few, the Hawks are hardly Dad’s Army and their youngsters also assure the future is bright.

I’d imagine both clubs will continue to feature in finals for some time to come, but you can’t help but wonder what Hawthorn would be like now with Buddy still in their side.

On the strength of their past three wins, it’s difficult to imagine how they could be that much better, but perhaps they wouldn’t be. Maybe Buddy coming back in might upset the cart a little.

Could we be so brave to dare say that Buddy leaving has actually made Hawthorn a stronger team?

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It seems an absurd statement, but now as they are not as single minded when going forward searching for Franklin, nor so one dimensional, maybe that makes the Hawks a different, unpredictable, and more dangerous beast?

Perhaps everyone has now stepped up, and, playing their roles, they make for a stronger team?

It’s a longshot perhaps, but it does fit.

But as I originally said, I wonder how Buddy feels? Maybe he’s enjoying his football more in Sydney? Maybe he’s happier in this environment?

And you can’t begrudge Franklin for taking the $10 million and running with it. I’m pretty sure you or I and everyone else reading this would have done the same. But a professional athlete is a different beast.

Any professional sportsman is happiest when they are winning. They all play the game to win, not to make money, and while Buddy’s Swans are getting their share of victories they won’t be winning a flag at the moment while the Hawks continue the way they are.

As for those Hawks, they are living proof that no one player is bigger than a club.