Nine years and $10 million does not an AFL premiership buy, at least not in the first four years since Lance Franklin left the Hawthorn Hawks for the Sydney Swans following the 2013 AFL season.
Yet, 1988 Brownlow medalist and former Swans great Gerard Healy termed Franklin’s time in Sydney as a “great success.”
Franklin has his glory. He was part of two Hawk flag winners, one in 2008 and 2013, so he obviously decided it was time to cash in on his accomplishments, for which we blame him not one bit.
He may regret not having stuck around for the 2014 and 2015 Hawk premierships, but as they say, hindsight is 20 – 20, and it is hard to imagine that two more on top of the two he already had in his bag would have increased his value much.
Franklin and the Swans were sent home Friday past by the Geelong Cats and his side has made the finals all four seasons in which he has played for them, but naysayers will be quick to point out that the sort of money and tenure Franklin received from the Swans would be a bargain only if the Swans achieved Hawk-like finals success.
Franklin won the Coleman Medal for most goals kicked in the Toyota 2017 AFL Premiership competition home-and-away season, but he was dinged when the Swans met the Cats and defender Harry Taylor held Franklin scoreless.
Perhaps the seeming futility of the Swans’ past four seasons has something to do with the other 21 players on the list, but bashing the stars who earn the right to big contracts is a national pastime in every country where professional sports is played.
When you look at Franklin’s annual salary and compare it to that of a certain NBA player who also failed to deliver a championship in 2017, it would seem as though the Swans could borrow freely from Roger Daltry and say, “We’d call that a bargain, the best we ever made.”