20/05/2024

Alex Wheeler handing the ball back to Lance Franklin (Picture: Ethan Lee Chalk)

Lance Franklin said he could feel his monumental milestone coming after his early goals in the Swans' victory over the Cats.

It has been less than three days since Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin kicked his 1000th AFL career goal, joining an illustrious club with AFL Hall of Famers Tony Lockett, Gordon Coventry, Jason Dunstall, Doug Wade and Gary Ablett Sr.

With nearly five minutes to go in the fourth quarter against Geelong, Lance Franklin had the opportunity to reach the 1000-goal milestone that had only been achieved by a handful of people before him.

As the fans were ready to jump across the gates onto the field, the ball hit his boot and the rest was history.

“I could feel it after kicking those 3 goals earlier,” he said.

“It was a special moment and I absolutely loved it.”

Sydney Swans Lance Franklin attending a Press Conference (Picture: Ethan Lee Chalk)

This is only the second time in AFL since 2000 that fans were able to jump onto the field and not receive a punishment.

It is one of the few traditions that the league upholds with the previous time being Franklin scoring his 100th goal in a season for Hawthorn in 2008.

“When I kicked the 100 goals in 2008, I was still very young and I knew if I had reached the 1000 goals, I really would enjoy it and I really soaked it up,” he said.

Lance Franklin sets his sights on the goals. (Picture: sydneyswans.com.au)

Since the Coleman Medal win in 2017, Franklin has endured a variety of injuries with many media personalities and reporters believing he would not get close to the 1000 goals.

But in 2019, Franklin said to the press “(my) sights are set on reaching the 350-game and 1000-goal milestone.”

With Franklin out of action for the whole 2020 season, having suffered an injured right knee and a hamstring injury later in the season, rumours were circulating that he may not come back to full health and reach the 1000-goal milestone.

“It hasn’t been smooth sailing, being in the system for 18 years you’re going to have ups and downs and a couple years ago missing a whole year of football was disappointing, but then coming back last year and playing 18 games was fantastic and had a really strong preseason,” he said.

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On Monday, Franklin was accompanied by the now social media sensation and Swans supporter Alex Wheeler who decided to hand the ‘Buddy ball’ Sherrin football back after a lengthy 24 hours.

With some of Mr Wheeler’s social media fans telling him to keep the ball and others telling him to hand it back, he decided to do what he felt was the right thing.

“I want to see it back at the SCG,” he said.

The Sydney Swans is now sitting third on the ladder behind Hawthorn and Collingwood with dominant performances against GWS and Geelong, and Franklin feels ‘anything is possible’.

“We’ve got a really talented team. If we keep doing what we are doing and keep improving than anything can happen. The premiership would be lovely and that’s what I’m striving for this year,” he said.

As the Swans try and strive for the premiership this year it will mark the last year of Franklin’s nine-year contract that was signed ahead of the 2014 season.

“I think a change would be probably good. By the time I do finish up it’s a long time to be involved with football, so when it’s all said and done, I’ll have a little bit of time away and sort out what I want to do (next),” he said.

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