Buddy Franklin has reportedly made a decision about his future and is set to turn his back on Sydney for a deal with the Brisbane Lions.
That is according to a report from Nine News Queensland reporter Michael Atkinson, who said he “can confirm the Brisbane Lions are the frontrunner to be his (Franklin’s) club next year”.
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“It’s my understanding that Franklin has informed the Swans that he won’t be playing in Sydney next year,” he continued.
“Franklin and his wife Jesinta have a desire to move their family up to Queensland to be closer to family on the Gold Coast. But it’s not the Suns where he wants to keep playing, Buddy wants to win more premierships and he’s identified Brisbane as the club most likely to help him achieve that goal.”
The report continues the Lions and Franklin’s management have already entered into discussions.
Atkinson said there is still some time to go for this deal to be actioned as no club can put a deal to Franklin until the trade period begins.
But Franklin is also an unrestricted free agent, meaning he can join any club without the Swans being able to match the bid.
It’s expected forward Dan McStay will likely head south as he has been strongly linked to a five-year $3 million deal at Collingwood.
The report has been immediately countered by Swans CEO Tom Harley who spoke off-air on 3AW’s Sportsday after an interview and said it was “news to him”.
Franklin and his wife Jesinta have made plenty of headlines in recent months after the bombshell news the 35-year-old believed the Swans were lowballing him.
Franklin joined the Swans from Hawthorn in 2014 on a nine-year $10 million deal but the star forward was looking for $700,000 per season.
While Franklin has been injury prone in recent years, the scenes of fans flooding onto the SCG when he kicked his 1000th career goal earlier this year showed he is still one of the sport’s biggest drawcards.
“There’s always rumours and speculation swirling around Bud, and I think when he’s coming to the end of such an amazing contract, this was always going to happen,” she said.
“But I think they’re just that; they’re rumours and they’re speculation.
“We’re really happy in Sydney – at the moment – and we’ve got our life set up here, so we’ll just have to see what happens.
“I still feel like he’s got lots to give, and he still feels like he’s got great footy (left in him), and he feels so good.
“He keeps saying, ‘I feel like I’m 21,’ which is great. And the stats really show that as well.”
In May, Jesinta also said: “I think there’s still a lot of good football left in him, but it’s our dream, whether that’s in five years or 10 years or whenever, to be able to live closer to one of the grandparents and have quality time with them.”
Jesinta Franklin was the 2010 Miss Universe Australia and grew up on the Gold Coast.
The couple also own a beachside apartment just south of the Gold Coast and rumours are swirling they’re set to sell their Sydney home.