Round 23 of the AFL Premiership season has seen Sydney Swans star, Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin celebrate his 300th game.
Returning from a hamstring injury which had him sidelined since Round 14, Franklin came back in style scoring four goals to bring the Swans to a 45-point win over St Kilda.
While the win for the Swans was a bonus for Franklin’s 300th game, it was not enough to get them into the finals this year.
A Noongar Whadjuk man, Franklin debuted in 2005 and played 182 games for the Hawthorn Hawks before moving to the Sydney Swans in 2014.
Since his debut, the superstar has become an influential player in the AFL world.
Franklin has made no indication about leaving Sydney, however, he will become a Registered Free Agent (RFA) at the end of 2022.
His list of achievements is lengthy and impressive, with accolades including:
- Over 944 goals
- Representative in the 2008 Dream Team
- Eight-time All Australian Team player
- Four-time Coleman medallist
- Peter Crimmins medallist 2008
- AFL goal of the year 2010 and 2013
- Leading goal kicker for Hawthorn six times
- Leading goal kicker for Sydney five times
- Two-time Hawthorn Premiership Player.
The talented and hard-working Franklin has served as a sporting inspiration for many Indigenous and non-Indigenous aspiring footballers.
Standing strong as ambassadors
Franklin and his wife, model and former Miss Universe Australia, Jesinta Franklin have become a power couple in the AFL sphere and have indicated that upon retirement they would like to devote their time to worthwhile causes.
The couple are activists for Indigenous literacy and take their work seriously, both being ambassadors for the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation.
The Foundation also boasts fellow Indigenous sporting great Adam Goodes as a board member.
Franklin has credited support from his immediate family as part of his success in the game.
“I was fortunate to have great support from my mum and dad. Without them there is no way I would have gotten there,” Mr Franklin said.
Becoming a great of the game has not always been smooth sailing for the powerful forward.
In recent years the star player has been dealing with mental health issues.
Rather than struggling behind closed doors, Franklin has opened up about his battle, normalising the conversation around the importance of strong mental resilience in stressful circumstances.
By Caris Duncan