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16 Sep 2019 6:33
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  •   Home > News > International

    Lance Franklin renews pledge to play to age 36 on eve of 300th AFL game

    After a frustrating year of injuries superstar Sydney Swans forward Lance Franklin gears up for his 300th game on Saturday, predicting he will fulfil the final three years of his monster $10 million contract with the club.

    Sydney Swans forward Lance Franklin is confident he will fulfil the next three years on his contract then retire.

    The superstar forward will play his 300th game this Saturday at home against St Kilda.

    It has been an agonising wait to get to the milestone for the four-time Coleman medallist, who has not played since round 14 in June.

    "It's been a frustrating year, I've been waiting for this for 10 games, the two hamstrings (injuries) are not ideal but I finally got my body right, training's been good, I am moving well and ready to get out there," he said.

    "I'm definitely very proud to play 300 games, there's been a lot of love not only at the Swans but [from] my ex-teammates at the Hawks."

    The 32-year-old has missed 13 games this season through injury and played nine, after he spent much of the 2018 season sidelined.

    "After groin surgery I only had three to four weeks pre round one in 2019 to get myself right, that wasn't enough. It'd be nice to have a preseason," he said.

    The Swans took a huge gamble luring Franklin from Hawthorn on a monster nine-year $10 million contract in 2014, and Franklin said he would finish his career at the Swans once he has paid his dues.

    "I am very confident I still have some good football left in me, I've still got three more years — that'll do me," he said.

    "I'll be 36 by then, so hopefully [I'll] get to 350 games."

    Respect for retiring players

    Saturday's game against St Kilda is the Swans last of the season, having missed out on finals for the first time in 10 years.

    "It's not a feeling I am used to, it's going to be hard watching [the finals]," he said.

    "For us the biggest thing is we've got a young group but also a lot of experience, so I definitely see us popping up in the finals next year."

    The last game of the season is setting up to be the Swans biggest of the year.

    Sydney will be losing more than 1,000 games worth of experience with Jarrad McVeigh, Kieren Jack, Heath Grundy and Nick Smith all hanging up their boots.

    "Definitely on Saturday there will be a lot of emotion on the ground, [they're] unbelievable footy players for our club [so] there'll be a lot of sad faces but we really want to show our respect for what they've done for us," Franklin said.

    Franklin's absence has given way for rookies like Nick Blakey to play 20 games in his first year and delivered strong performances from Ollie Florent and Tom McCartin.

    "Why we've been successful over such a long period of time — it's the leaders in this club that drive the standards — that's why these young boys are developing so quickly, that's only going to help us next year," Franklin said.


    © 2019 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

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