Buddy Franklin was granted a brilliant farewell at half-time in the Swans' final home match of the season against Melbourne on the weekend and one fan noticed an 'iconic' detail in the ceremony. Franklin unknowingly played in his last game a few weeks ago having sustained a calf injury, which prompted him to call time on his AFL career.
Franklin played 354 games and kicked 1066 goals for the Hawks and the Swans, finishing as the fourth highest goal-kicker in the game's history. During the Swans' 77-56 defeat in the final home and away match of the season, Franklin's career was celebrated at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The generational talent was welcomed onto the ground at half-time in front of a packed ground. Fighting back tears, Franklin said he was overwhelmed at the response.
"A lot of happiness, a little bit of sadness. It's all come to an end...little bit overwhelmed," Franklin said to Channel 7. "A long time of playing footy. It is absolutely incredible to see our fans out here today."
Franklin said he was going to miss the day-to-day life of an AFL player in retirement: "Just playing footy, mate. I'm going to miss that."
While Franklin was honoured by Swans fans, one reporter couldn't help but point out he was conducting his farewell lap to 'My hero' from the Foo Fighters. The lap of honour was labelled 'iconic' as Franklin was granted a stunning send-off that was fitting for one of the greatest players to ever play the game.
— Lachlan McKirdy (@LMcKirdy7) August 27, 2023
— The Hon Gabrielle Upton (@gabrielleupton) August 27, 2023
A privilege to send off a #legend
2013, a friend took me to my 1st #AFL game. I enquired about 23 for Hawks
Weeks later it was reported he was coming to Syd. Declared his team to be ‘my team’
Cue in the @sydneyswans @Buddy_Franklin following
That’s legend status #ThanksBuddy pic.twitter.com/AcbYt3YJU4
— melissa (@melsportslover) August 27, 2023
Buddy Franklin hailed among Swans defeat
During his lap of honour, Channel 7 commentator Luke Darcy lauded the atmosphere created at the iconic venue. “Only six players have got to the 1000 goal club and Buddy Franklin’s legacy will be as one of the greatest we have ever seen, and what a moment this is to see him with a full house at the SCG,” he said.
“Full house here to witness an iconic moment in the history of Australian Rules football. And if you think about what the Sydney market has been able to achieve, to get a full house here today, it shows how far the Sydney Swans have come and what it means to so many people in this part of the world.
“He is incredibly humble and a private person in lots of ways, but his legacy will be remembered and revered for many years to come.”
Unfortunately, the Swans faded in the fourth-quarter and couldn't secure a home finals appearance. However, the win could come at a cost for the Demons after Jake Melksham went down injured. Coach Simon Goodwin said the Demons "fear the worst" for Melksham after the forward limped to the bench and was subbed out of the clash with the Swans in the third term on Sunday.
The Demons went on to fine-tune for the finals with a 11.11 (77) to 7.14 (56) victory that denied the Swans a home final, but attention will now turn to Melksham and the impact of his absence. "We fear the worst, but we hope for the best," Goodwin said.
"Looking at an ACL, which is really sad for Melky. It takes a really big dent in the day. I've coached Jake for a long time, 14 years, and he's just craving the opportunity to play in a successful team in finals footy.
"We hope that'll be the case, but we'll just have to wait and see."
AFL week one finals fixtures:
Collingwood (1) v Melbourne (4) - qualifying final - Thursday September 7, MCG, 7.20pm
Carlton (5) v Sydney (8) - elimination final - Friday September 8, MCG, 7.50pm
St Kilda (6) v GWS (7) - elimination final - Saturday September 9, MCG, 3.20pm
Brisbane (2) v Port Adelaide (3) - qualifying final - Saturday September 9, Gabba, 7.25pm
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