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AFL Swans superstar Lance “Buddy” Franklin reveals how close he came to retiring after the 2022 season

Buddy Franklin has revealed he had a “50/50 chance” of retiring at the end of the season – and never seriously considered the possibility of playing for a third AFL club in his decorated career.

The 35-year-old Franklin, who hit his 1,000th career goal earlier this season, also had a blunt message for the critics who slammed him after signing a monster 9-year, $10 million deal in 2013 with the Sydney Swans had signed.

“There’s been a lot of knocks over the years, hasn’t there?” Franklin said Tuesday at the SCG.

‘When I got here [Sydney] people knocked [me] that I wouldn’t make it, I wouldn’t make it. I would play four or five years and that would be all.

“So I definitely proved them wrong, didn’t I?”

It comes after Franklin put an end to rumors about his future player on Monday with a succinct two-word statement via the club’s social media channels, in which he simply read: “One more.”

Franklin and Sydney’s announcement followed the exact format of basketball legend Michael Jordan’s message when he returned to the NBA with the Chicago Bulls in 1995, in which he announced, “I’m back.”

Franklin has 467 goals in 158 games with the Swans after scoring 580 goals in 182 games with Hawthorn.

He currently sits fifth on the all-time VFL/AFL all-time scoring list with 1,047 goals, ten behind fourth-placed Doug Wade.

Franklin made his AFL debut with Hawthorn in 2005, and Key Forward quickly established himself as a superstar in the code.

The eight-time All Australian won the Premier League with the Hawks in 2008 and 2013 before moving to Harbor City.

Many questioned at the time whether the interstate move was primarily motivated by money.

This Saturday, Franklin has a chance to win a third flag – and his first with the Swans – when they attack the Cats in the AFL Grand Final at the MCG.

Both teams are in brilliant form, with Geelong unbeaten in 15 games and Sydney soaring after eight straight wins.

Franklin will be the man many of his younger teammates lean on this week when they’re feeling overwhelmed leading up to the big dance.

He added his decision to extend his contract for 2023 was due to his continued “passion and will to compete”.

“I’ve been playing for 18 years, it’s a long time in the game. I obviously have a young family and things have changed a lot since I got here,” he told the Herald Sun.

“I’m over the moon with this decision and just looking forward to playing this weekend but also continuing next year.

“Throughout the year I still had that passion and drive to compete. Until then, I’ll call it quits. “But it’s not gone at the moment.”

Saturday’s grand final comes at 2:30 p.m. as the Bloods battle it out for their sixth AFL/VFL premiere.

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