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Lance Franklin farewells Hawthorn faithful with emotional goodbye at MCG

Jarred Cross -

Lance Franklin has paid special tribute to the club where it all started, making a rare appearance at the MCG when the Hawks hosted Sydney on Sunday. 

Buddy returned to be honoured and farewell the Hawthorn faithful - who watched the modern great play 182 games, win two premierships, kick 100 goals in a season and build his legacy as one of the game’s all-time greats between 2005 and 2013 before the second half of his decorated career with the Swans.

Franklin said he had “goosebumps” stepping on to the playing surface for a half time chat in front of nearly 40,000 supporters. 

“It was really important to me (to thank Hawthorn fans),” he told former Hawks teammate Jordan Lewis and the crowd at half time.

“I wanted to come back and thank all the hawthorn fans. You guys have been unbelievable. Obviously (I) won the two flags with you guys, so I wanted to come back. And it's been awesome.

The round seven fixture was the first time his two former homes met since his retirement in July 2023.

Franklin had farewelled Sydney fans and the SCG in round 24 last year. 

Image: Scott Barbour (AAP)

 

Before Sunday’s game, Franklin and his family returned to the Hawks base at Waverley Park to meet with players and another former teammate and current senior coach Sam Mitchell. 

Taking a final opportunity to soak things up on the turf at the ‘G, the 37-year-old reminisced on some of his best moments playing there. 

“It's the home of football isn't it? There's no better stadium in Australia, that's for sure, and I absolutely loved my time playing football here, as we both did, and we had some special times,” he said, standing alongside Lewis.

Franklin said final goodbyes to the Hawks’ fans sitting along the Olympic stand with his children and those of some premiership teammates. 

“It's what it's about, isn't it? It's all about family. All the kids - Roughy's (Jarryd Roughead) kids, Lewis' kids and my kids here today, 19 years on from when we were first drafted, to be here today, who would have thought. It's an incredible moment for us,” he said.

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