Franklin gets ball back, focus now on flag

Adrian Warren |

Lance Franklin has given the strongest indication yet he would like to keep doing “the best job in the world” beyond this year and said winning an AFL premiership with Sydney is his major focus after kicking his 1000th goal.

Franklin’s four goals against Geelong at the SCG on Friday night made him just the sixth player in AFL/VFL history to reach the landmark, achieved in the final season of his nine-year deal with the Swans.

He is just 32 majors behind Gary Ablett Sr. and 57 adrift of Doug Wade, but further goal-kicking milestones aren’t on his mind, instead adding to his two flags at Hawthorn is his major motivation.

“It’s pretty obvious, the premiership, that would be lovely,” Franklin said.

While thousands of people swarmed on to the SCG after he kicked his milestones goal and milled around him, Franklin said he never felt scared or nervous.

“I was lapping it up to be honest, there was a little bit of carry on,” Franklin said.

“When I kicked 100 goals in 2008 at that stage I was fairly young (21) and thought if I got to 1000 goals I’m really going to enjoy it.

“It was just a special moment, absolutely loved it.”

The superstar was back at the SCG on Monday along with Alex Wheeler, the Swans supporter who took the mark in the crowd to secure the ball that Franklin kicked his milestone goal with.

Sydney appealed to Wheeler via Twitter to return the footy, the fan obliging after attending training and meeting with Franklin.

The exciting Swans are off to a 2-0 start and Franklin said anything was possible given their mix of emerging talent and experienced stars.

Asked if he would keep playing football until any time that he could no longer do it, and for long as he felt fit and strong enough to, Franklin said “certainly”.

“Being around a professional sporting organisation for so long, its the best job in the world and something I love doing, we’ll just work it out as the year goes on,” he said.

Asked if not winning a flag might be a factor in him playing on into 2023, 35-year-old Franklin joked it would depend on whether Sydney CEO Tom Harley still wanted him around.

“All things being equal, he’s got to want to do it, he’s got to feel confident in his body and also the direction of the footy club, so there’s a few things,” Harley told AAP.

“What we saw on Friday night the feeling towards Lance the players, everyone wants him to play for as long as he possibly can and that includes the club.”

Franklin said his body was in good shape after he missed the entire 2020 season and managed 18 matches last year.

“When you miss so much football you mind does play tricks on you at times but this year I feel I’m playing much better football, I feel a lot more confident within my body and I’ve had a really strong pre-season,” he said.

Among the well wishers on Friday was his former Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson, along with Sydney’s John Longmire, the only head coaches Franklin has had in 18 seasons of senior football.