Wednesday , May 22 2024

Revealed: What made footy recluse Buddy Franklin step back into the limelight for the AFL in a VERY rare appearance

  • Franklin retired from footy in July last year 
  • Had one of the best careers the game has seen 
  • Buddy, 37, has been laying very low since quitting 

Lance Franklin has stayed away from footy since his retirement in July last year – but that’s going to change when the AFL great makes a special guest appearance at this Sunday’s Hawthorn vs Sydney clash at the MCG.

‘Buddy’ was last seen at a footy match when he, wife Jesinta and their children Rocky and Tallulah waved to fans last August as he completed a lap of honour during his emotional send-off at the SCG.

He even turned down a chance to appear in the traditional motorcade of recently retired players at last year’s grand final. 

Now he’ll be sending a halftime message to fans on the big screen as the two teams he starred for battle it out in Melbourne, as well as attending a pre-match function.

Franklin (pictured with wife Jesinta and their children Rocky and Tallulah at his SCG farewell last year) will be making a rare post-retirement appearance at the MCG this Sunday

Franklin (pictured with wife Jesinta and their children Rocky and Tallulah at his SCG farewell last year) will be making a rare post-retirement appearance at the MCG this Sunday

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The 37-year-old (pictured with wife Jesinta) refused to join the retiring players' motorcade at last year's grand final despite a personal request from then-AFL boss Gillon McLachlan

The 37-year-old (pictured with wife Jesinta) refused to join the retiring players’ motorcade at last year’s grand final despite a personal request from then-AFL boss Gillon McLachlan 

‘He’s back at the MCG this Sunday,’ footy reporter Mitch Cleary told Channel Seven.

‘They couldn’t get him back for the motorcade last year on grand final day, but he’s back [for] Hawthorn and Sydney.

‘It’s 10 years since his first year at the Swans, he’s back this week.

‘He’ll be at the [club] president’s function pre-game for the Hawks,, then he’ll be speaking to the members on the big screen at halftime.

‘Ash Klein, the CEO of the Hawks, was the man to get this one over the line.

‘Not many people have been able to twist Buddy’s arm over the years, but they’ve been able to get him over the line.’

After originally starring for Hawthorn (pictured), Buddy went on to excel with the Swans - and will be there when his old teams clash in Melbourne this weekend

After originally starring for Hawthorn (pictured), Buddy went on to excel with the Swans – and will be there when his old teams clash in Melbourne this weekend

Last September Franklin shocked footy fans but turning down a place in the motorcade of recently retired stars at the Collingwood vs Brisbane grand final.

‘Buddy, we’d love you to be here on Saturday,’ ex-AFL boss Gillon McLachlan said. 

‘100,000 supporters at the ‘G and millions of fans Australia-wide would love to say goodbye to you because you’ve been one of the greatest players the game has seen,’ he continued.

‘He’s one of the most remarkable players we have seen and there’s been no bigger name in football over the last 20 years.’

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However, Franklin’s former premiership-winning teammate Jordan Lewis confirmed that Buddy would not be making the trip.

He had been invited to a Hawthorn event celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the 2013 premiership, but Franklin also declined to attend that catch up with old mates.

The footy icon was visibly emotional when Swans fans gave him a rousing send-off last August

The footy icon was visibly emotional when Swans fans gave him a rousing send-off last August

Franklin gave the game some of its greatest scenes in recent memory when he was swamped by thousands of fans after kicking his 1000th goal in March 2022 (pictured)

Franklin gave the game some of its greatest scenes in recent memory when he was swamped by thousands of fans after kicking his 1000th goal in March 2022 (pictured)

‘I spoke to him Tuesday and he didn’t make the trip down, that’s OK’

Franklin was drafted by Hawthorn in 2004 and quickly stamped himself as a rare talent.

He kicked 580 goals for the Hawks in 182 games, including the 2008 and 2013 grand final victories, before switching to Sydney in 2014 and kicking a further 172 goals for the Swans over 172 games.

Franklin fell just short of premiership glory with the Bloods on three occassions – losing the 2014, 2016 and 2022 grand finals – but compiled a stunning list of personal achievements, including becoming just the sixth player to kick 1000 goals in his career.

The 37-year-old made the All-Australian team eight times, won four Coleman Medals as the league’s leading goalkicker, won goal of the year twice and led his club’s goal scoring an incredible 13 times.

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