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Mixed emotions after proposed mural of Buddy Franklin in inner-Sydney scrapped

Jarred Cross -

The Sydney Swans are "disappointed" with the rejection of a mural depicting Lance Franklin in the suburb adjacent to the SCG, as some city councillors urge for a rethink to the decision.

A depiction of Franklin - who played 172 games in red and white between 2014 and the final rounds on the 2023 AFL season, was planned to adorn a private property on a bustling strip in Surry Hills, a major thoroughfare for fans travelling to and from home games.

His momentous 1000th career goal kicked in round two last year was set to be captured in the painting.

The submission was made earlier this year.

An artists depiction of the mural proposed for Surry Hills. (Image: The Australian)

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the mural, which was deemed advertising and lacking in artistic integrity, is prohibited under state laws in the Bourke Street South heritage conservation area.

Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, is said to support the decision, while other councillors have raised eyebrows.

Liberal councillor, Lyndon Gannon, said it was "perplexing" suggesting "the building currently looks like a derelict Soviet shack, next to a barely used pop-up bike lane" with Labor councillor Linda Scott expressing support for more public art, via SMH.

Indigenous councillor Yvonne Weldon is reportedly all-for the artwork of Buddy, citing similar depictions of fellow Swan Adam Goodes and NRL champion Greg Inglis in Sydney.

A number of public submissions are understood to have expressed concerns about the mural, though not Franklin's Indigenous heritage, with the local Lord Mayor saying their positions had to be considered.

"The City has a proud track record of delivering public art and increasing recognition of Indigenous heritage in the public domain, and I would be happy to see a mural on this building, but by an artist not an advertising company," Moore said, according to SMH.

The company behind the proposal, Apparition Media, added similar murals of AFLW players around Melbourne's streets ahead of their season kicking off - including one of Lions Indigenous star and league best-and-fairest Ally Anderson.

According to SMH, company staff member Tristan Minter had previously told the outlet he's a Swans fan, and "if we do passion projects we like to do it about things we are interested in".

Apparition contributed to the mural of Goodes nearby in 2013, of former Swans captain Josh Kennedy and previous works of Franklin.

According to news.com.au, the new artwork of Franklin was due to cost $5000.

A Sydney Swans spokesperson reportedly said while the club respected the council's decision, it was "disappointing" to hear.

"We believe the mural would have made a wonderful contribution to the street art through Surry Hills," they told news.com.au.

"This mural was simply intended as a tribute to one of the greatest players we have seen."

Franklin retired with injury in July, ending his tenure as one of the games modern greats after 18 seasons, 354 career games, split almost evenly between Hawthorn and Sydney, two premierships, as the most recent player to kick 100 goals in a season, and just the sixth player in VFL/AFL history to reach 1000 career majors.

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