Hawthorn has put a revised offer to star forward Lance Franklin that looms as the largest player deal in the AFL club’s history if he accepts.
President Andrew Newbold has revealed the Hawks have upped the ante with a revised five-year offer for Franklin.
The two-time Coleman Medallist ensured his playing future would be one of the AFL’s biggest topics this year when he decided to put off talks with Hawthorn until the end of the season.
Franklin qualifies for free agency later this year and Greater Western Sydney are hovering with a potentially massive offer.
“We’ve said all along, from the outset, that we’ve respected Buddy’s right to put if off until the end of the year,” Newbold told Channel Nine’s Footy Show on Sunday.
“That’s the new free agency landscape and as a club we’re very relaxed about the position.
“We have put a new offer, it’s a pretty good offer, and … we’re in his hands on when he’ll come back to us.”
Asked if it was the biggest five-year offer that Hawthorn had made, Newbold said “probably”.
“It’s a pretty respectful offer, bearing in mind the quality of player he is,” he added.
“He is a marquee player and we’re keen to have him stay.”
Speculation has Franklin heading for the exit
There has been growing speculation that Franklin will leave Hawthorn, if for no other reason that the Giants’ offer will prove too tempting.
But Franklin’s manager Liam Pickering expressed confidence earlier this month that his client will stay with the Hawks.
“The feedback I’m getting from the playing group is that he will stay,” Newbold said.
“I’ve never seen him happier.
“The thing about Buddy is I just really like as a bloke and I’d love him to stay.
“Hawthorn are building a great culture – during the week we had Cyril Rioli come and sign for another three years.
“Those types of indicators tell you we’re building something pretty special.”
Newbold added Pickering and Hawks official Graeme Wright are talking “on a weekly basis”.
“We’re 13-2 – it’s not proving to be a distraction,” the Hawks president said.
“He’s contracted until the end of the year and we’re pretty comfortable with the position.”
Franklin missed Saturday’s win over Port Adelaide and coach Alastair Clarkson said the key forward has swelling behind a knee.
It is unclear whether Franklin will be fit for next Saturday’s Launceston game against the Western Bulldogs.