HAWTHORN is ”not shocked” that Lance ”Buddy” Franklin has put contract talks on hold until season’s end and is optimistic about retaining the superstar given his relationships with team mates and the club.
Fremantle is widely seen as the club most likely to launch a massive offer for Franklin, who has not told the Hawks their offer is deficient or made any additional demands, such as a longer term or more money.
The Hawks have been told by Franklin’s manager, Liam Pickering, that there has been no offer from the Dockers. The other club from Franklin’s home state, West Coast, had been informed by Pickering in the past that Franklin was unlikely to return to a Perth club and the Eagles would have a difficult task to create sufficient room to accommodate Franklin’s certain $1 million-plus, long-term contract.
The Hawks intend to maintain a harmonious, open relationship with their star forward and minimise disruption to him and teammates. The club had been expecting Franklin to take the step of putting contract talks on hold for the season since before Christmas. Hawthorn’s offer, including marketing, is believed to be just under $1 million annually. As a restricted free agent, they can match the best offer and retain him, or force him to seek a trade.
Hawthorn’s football operations manager, Mark Evans, said the Hawks had two priorities they would be ”working hard at”. The first was to ”work like crazy” to ”minimise” disruption to Franklin, the players, the coaches and the club.
”But the second thing that we have to try to do is keep the relationship with Buddy and his management strong and open lines of communication.”
Evans said the club had never heard anything from Franklin or his manager besides that he loved the club, his teammates and relished being with ”a club that has a chance for success”.
”I think we have to be optimistic when we know those things,” Evans said. ”We’re now in January. I don’t think we can predict what will happen between here and October. Our focus is to retain him.”
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.