The Sydney Swans have poured cold water on any link between Dustin Martin potentially leaving Richmond and Lance Franklin’s reported unhappiness in contract talks. On Wednesday, Franklin was reported to have been insulted by a new offer to extend his career with the Swans into a 10th season.
Martin, arguably the Tigers’ greatest player, has been weighing up a move away from the AFL fishbowl in Melbourne and has strong family and friendship ties in the harbour city. An article in the Herald Sun claimed the Swans would like to save money on a new deal for Franklin to lure Martin north.
Franklin and his manager Adam Finch are yet to respond to the report but Swans chief executive Tom Harley is comfortable a contract will be sorted, saying the club wants Franklin to finish his career with Sydney.
“There’s absolutely no link between these two stories, these two players,” Harley told SEN on Thursday. “We have had no contact, nor conversations with Dustin Martin, he’s not our player and it would be inappropriate for us to do that.
“I am a little bewildered by how the story around Dustin keeps resurfacing and resurfacing with a strong connection to the Swans. I sit very comfortable with the conversations that we are having with Lance and the privacy of those conservations.
“We also understand at the same time that people will speculate, people will look to unearth stories out of information and I’m not overly concerned with how it [the story] came about.
“Lance is a unique figure and player in the game and with that the conversations are tailored towards that. Inappropriate and unfair to all parties involved to go into specifics. The conversations we’re having with Lance are remaining respectful with significant amounts of goodwill, great intent.
“We think Lance has been an amazing contributor to the club, the code and has become iconically Sydney and part of the Sydney Swans family.”
Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has previously said Martin would be free to leave Punt Rd with his “blessing” and on Thursday was again asked about the triple Norm Smith medallist’s future.
“[Martin] knows our thoughts, Richmond player for two more years,” Hardwick said. “That’s our method of operation at this stage and that won’t change in the short term, or long term hopefully.”
Franklin signed a nine-year deal to move to Sydney ahead of the 2014 season after a glittering 182-game career with Hawthorn. The 35-year-old is determined to continue in the AFL beyond this year and would consider moving to a third club if talks between him and the Swans broke down.
In March, Franklin became the sixth VFL/AFL player to kick 1,000 career goals amid iconic scenes at the SCG after he reached the milestone. Franklin has played 332 AFL games ahead of the Swans’ crunch clash with Fremantle at Optus Stadium on Saturday night.