‘One more’: Buddy Franklin WILL play for Sydney next season as AFL superstar signs one-year deal

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The Sydney Swans have received an unexpected boost in the lead-up to the grand final, with Buddy Franklin shocking the AFL by announcing announcing he will stay at the club next year.

Franklin’s nine-year, $10million deal with the Swans will expire at the end of the season and the 35-year-old’s future had long been subject of speculation.

The two-time premiership winner, however, put an end to the rumours himself on Monday evening with a succinct two-word statement reading simply: ‘One more.’

Buddy Franklin has signed a one-year deal with the Swans to remain at the club in 2023

The bombshell comes after months of speculation suggesting Franklin could either retire or end his nine-year spell in Sydney to play for a different club.

Early last month, the Herald Sun reported the Swans felt they were ‘close’ to agreeing a 12-month extension with the AFL superstar and were ‘surprised’ by reports Franklin had been linked with a move.

The four-time Coleman Medalist was left contemplating his future after the Swans tabled an offer of $500,000-a-year, a significant reduction from Franklin’s current deal which is understood to be in the $800,000-a-season region.

Franklin and Sydney’s announcement (pictured above) closely followed the format of the message basketball legend Michael Jordan sent when he returned to the Chicago Bulls in 1995, in which he simply proclaimed ‘I’m back’.

The Swans announced Franklin's new deal in a short statement on Monday

The Swans announced Franklin’s new deal in a short statement on Monday 

The full statement from Jordan’s management read: ‘WASHINGTON, DC (March 18, 1995) – The following statement was released today by Michael Jordan, through his personal attorney and business manager David B. Falk, Chairman of Falk Associates Management Enterprises, Inc. (“FAME”) located in Washington, D.C., in response to questions about his future career plans: “I’m back.” 

However, the Swans’ news left many fans confused instead of overjoyed as they tried to figure out exactly what ‘one more’ referred to. 

Some supporters were unsure if it meant Franklin would be going around for another season, or just one more game – meaning he’d call it quits after Saturday’s grand final.

Franklin will be 36 by the time the next AFL season, which will be his 19th campaign, starts

Franklin will be 36 by the time the next AFL season, which will be his 19th campaign, starts

‘Mysterious. One more GAME, one more YEAR, one more DECADE,’ Natalie Gee tweeted.

‘One more game or one more year? He looks so invested in this group and club. And still plays well. But wouldn’t it be amazing to leave the big stage with another Premiership?’ wrote Florian Christoph.

Others were more blunt, writing ‘Game, season or flag?!?’ and ‘ONE MORE GAME OR ONE MORE YEAR’ – with another joking, ‘Great that he’s signed on for one more decade! Bold move by the Swans.’

Earlier this season, Franklin became only the sixth player in VFL/AFL history to kick at least 1,000 goals in his career. He will turn 36 less than two months before the start of the 2023 season and is on track to play his 350th AFL game next year.

Franklin kicked 52 goals this season and was at his best in the Swans’ dramatic one-point win over Collingwood in the preliminary final at the SCG on Saturday.

He kicked two goals to go with 13 disposals and seven marks, as Sydney defeated the Pies 14.11 (95) to 14.10 (94) to book themselves a place in the Grand Final against Geelong this Saturday.

The 35-year-old kicked two goals in Sydney's one-point win over Collingwood in a dramatic preliminary final at the SCG on Saturday evening

The 35-year-old kicked two goals in Sydney’s one-point win over Collingwood in a dramatic preliminary final at the SCG on Saturday evening 

‘He was very good, particularly early he was winning contest after contest and he was chasing,’ Swans coach John Longmire told reporters after the game.

‘He was up and going the big “Bud”, he was charging around and I thought he gave us a lot of energy.

‘He won some important contests, particularly in that first half he was able to win some 50-50 ball and I just thought some of the pressure stuff that he applied early on in the game was excellent as well.’

Franklin has kicked 467 goals in 158 games so far after booting 580 goals in 182 games at Hawthorn. 

Franklin will play in his sixth Grand Final when the Swans take on Geelong on Saturday

Franklin will play in his sixth Grand Final when the Swans take on Geelong on Saturday

He currently sits in fifth place on the all-time VFL/AFL goal-kicking list 1,047 goals, 10 short of fourth-placed Doug Wade.

The star forward won two premierships with Hawthorn in 2008 and 2013, but found himself on the losing side against Sydney in 2012. 

Having swapped the Hawks for the Swans at the end of 2013, Franklin led Sydney to the Grand Final in his first season at the club only to lose against Hawthorn. 

Sydney and Franklin reached the Grand Final again in 2016, only to lose against the Western Bulldogs.  

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