Brisbane coach Chris Fagan says the revelation Lance Franklin is eyeing a move to Queensland caught him unawares, but the Lions are definitely keen to talk to the veteran forward.
Franklin’s future is one of the biggest talking points in the AFL since speculation emerged that the 35-year-old may not stay in Sydney beyond this season.
A Nine Network report on Thursday said Franklin and wife Jesinta are seeking a move to be closer to family on the Gold Coast.
Fagan, who knows Franklin well from his time at Hawthorn as an assistant coach, said those plans were “news to me” and could indicate Franklin was intending to hang up his boots.
If he wants to play on however, Fagan was adamant the Lions would be interested in exploring bringing Franklin to the Gabba.
“I would have thought if they are moving to Queensland, then that’s perhaps an indication that Bud’s going to retire from AFL football,” Fagan said.
“That’s sort of how I read it.
“If it came to pass down the track that they do move here and then someone reaches out from his camp and suggests that he still wants to play, then we’d be remiss as a footy club not to go and have a conversation with him .
“But we’re not the only club in Queensland, there’s the Gold Coast Suns as well.”
Franklin, who kicked his 1000th career goal earlier this year, would join an already-imposing forward line at the Lions if he did sign.
While Dan McStay is expected to leave the club at the end of the season with Collingwood tipped as a destination, Brisbane would still boast the talents of Joe Daniher, Eric Hipwood and Charlie Cameron.
Fagan however was quick to hose down any suggestion he had already discussed the situation with Franklin.
“I’ve not had one conversation with Bud, my latest communication with him was a text message I sent to him when he kicked his thousandth goal, which is four months ago,” Fagan said.
“I don’t know what will play out in the future but as I said, the way I see it right now, if he’s moving to Queensland to live, I would suggest that he’s going to retire.”
Whatever plays out with Franklin, Fagan said there was no doubt the two-time premiership player and four-time Coleman Medallist would be a valuable asset despite his advancing years.
“I think every football club in the country would be eager to get Buddy Franklin to their footy club if that was a possibility,” Fagan said.
“Based on his form this year, he’s played some pretty good football, but that really all depends on him and what he wants to do and what he wants to get out of his football career.
“Right now if he puts a full stop on it, what a brilliant career. One of the greatest of all time.”