Brisbane coach Chris Fagan thinks that if Lance Franklin is considering a move to Queensland it’s more likely to retire as he played down reports linking the Sydney superstar to his team for 2023.
But Fagan also said it would be “remiss” of the Lions not to show an interest in Franklin if he does want to play out his AFL career in Queensland.
A report on Thursday night suggested Franklin – whose multi-million dollar nine-season Sydney deal ends this year – has told the Swans he won’t be playing for them in 2023 due to a breakdown in talks over the terms of a new deal.
The report said Franklin wants to play for the Lions, with he and wife Jesinta set to move their family to Queensland.
Fagan, who worked with Franklin during the pair‘s time at Hawthorn, on Friday felt that should Franklin relocate to Queensland it would mean the 35-year-old was likely to end his career.
However, Fagan, who last contacted Franklin via text when he kicked his 1000th AFL goal, left the door open for the future Hall of Famer to join the Lions if he was interested.
“I would have thought if they are moving to Queensland, that that‘s perhaps an indication that Bud’s going to retire from AFL football,” Fagan said.
“If it came to pass down the track that they do move here, and. someone reaches out from his camp and suggests that he still wants to play, then we would be remiss as a footy club not to go and have a conversation with him.
“As far I‘m concerned he’s a Sydney Swans player, and if any of that was going to happen, it would happen when the season’s all over.
“My latest communication with him was a text message I sent to him when he kicked his 1000th (AFL) goal which was four months ago.
“I don‘t know what will play out in the future but the way I see it right now is if he is moving to Queensland to live, I would suggest that he’s going to retire.”
When Fagan was asked last month if he would be interested in bringing Franklin to Brisbane, he said: “I’ve had an association with Bud, so I’ll be pretty happy to have him here, but that’s just purely from my perspective.“
However on Friday he dismissed the comment, saying it was a “throwaway line” and ”not any suggestion of what might happen in the future”.
“Based on his form this year, he‘s played pretty good football, but (it) all depends on him and what he wants to do, and what he wants to get out of his football career,” Fagan said.
“Right now if he put a full stop on it, what a brilliant career, one of the greatest of all time.”
Fagan, whose Lions side hosts Carlton at the Gabba on Sunday, wasn‘t sure if Franklin could offer the same leadership qualities that another former Hawks star – Luke Hodge – did when he came to Brisbane.
“Luke Hodge was quite a unique character. He came here to teach our players about leadership,” Fagan said.
“When I was associated with Bud back in the Hawthorn days, he was a much younger player, so I don‘t know what his qualities are like in regards to that.”
Earlier this year Franklin became just the sixth player in AFL/VFL history to kick 1000 goals.