Could Lance Leave? Buddy Franklin Suspends Contract Talks

Hawthorn shocked as Buddy knocks back hefty extension.

Robert Whiteby Robert White

AFL superstar Lance Franklin has told Hawthorn that he does not will discuss resigning with the club until after the 2013 season.

Franklin is approaching restricted free agency and will likely see offers fly in from just about every other club across the country.

The Hawks were stunned when Franklin turned down an extension, an offer the club described as a "very good offer”, that bordered around the $1 million a season mark. Instead of locking up their forward line superstar they received a response saying no negotiations would take place until the end of September.

Franklin’s manager, Liam Pickering, spoke about the matter on Friday night.

"Buddy has 12 months to go on his contract and he wants to concentrate on playing.

"He said he didn't want the distraction of a contract and he has advised me talks are off until the end of the season.

"He doesn't want to entertain discussions and, whilst Hawthorn isn't happy, that's how it is, unfortunately."

Hawthorn is unable to offer Franklin a larger amount due to current salary commitments. Captain Luke Hodge and Sam Mitchell already take up a sizeable amount of the salary cap while Cyril Rioli, Jarryd Roughead, Grant Birchall, Brian Lake, Jordan Lewis and Brad Sewell also have expensive contracts.

"Buddy has made it pretty clear he'd prefer to leave the discussions to the end of the 2013 season," Hawthorn's head of football Mark Evans said.

"It is not an ideal situation because we'd prefer to close off the distraction for Buddy, for the club, for supporters, for Pickers, and have a free run at our 2013 campaign," Evans said.

"We've been having a number of discussions over the past 5 1/2 months, and we've put together what we think is a very good offer, and Pickers is on record as saying it is respectable.

"Obviously, we had a few things to sort out.

There should be no shortage of interest in Franklin around the AFL and the 26-year-old could be tempted to return home and play for one of the Western Australian clubs, Fremantle or West Coast.

The Fremantle Dockers have been linked to Franklin, though they have had no contact with Pickering.

The Dockers offered Collingwood full forward Travis Cloke a deal worth $1.1 million for five years, but were turned down.

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