Lance Franklin meets with Sydney Swans officials, not expected to attend best and fairest

Franklin-sports-people re-el magazine

Franklin and Campbell leave Swans’ headquarters.Source: Supplied

7 October 2015

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LANCE Franklin has taken the first tentative steps in his comeback to the Sydney Swans.

The superstar met with Swans officials at SCG headquarters on Wednesday to plan a return to pre-season training with the rest of his teammates next month.

His appearance ends speculation the champion forward could walk away from the game.

“No, Lance is not retiring,” declared his agent, Sharyn Finnegan.

Franklin is making slow but steady progress with treatment for a mental illness after he was forced to stand down from all AFL commitments in early September.

The $10 million champion was driven to the SCG by his fiancé, model Jesinta Campbell.

It is the first time he has been seen in public since his last appearance for the Swans in a match on September 5 against the Gold Coast Suns when he controversially ran out the day after suffering a mild epileptic fit.

On Wednesday Buddy appeared to be slightly down on his regular 102kg playing weight when he arrived at the Swans offices.

Coach John Longmire told The Daily Telegraph it was a routine post-season interview like the rest of the players had already done.

“Obviously we spoke about the challenges he had at the end of last season,” Longmire said.

“It was about last season in general and also about how we move forward.

Lance Franklin did not take part in Sydney’s finals campaign. Picture. Phil HillyardSource: News Corp Australia

“He’ll continue to receive support from professionals that know how to deal with it better than I do.

“And they’re indicating he will be back for pre-season training and that his support will be ongoing.

“He was pleased to be back at the footy club. He’s been through a challenging time but he feels good and looks healthy. Primarily he’s looking forward to getting back into training.”

Franklin’s agent Sharyn Finnegan said Wednesday’s meeting should finally put an end to rumours he was considering retirement.

Franklin’s agent denied the Swans star was retiring.Source: Supplied

“He’s looking forward to getting back,” Finnegan said, “He’s getting there and he’s coming along well.”

Franklin is not expected to attend Friday night’s best and fairest dinner, but retiring star Adam Goodes is likely to be there.

But Goodes has asked not to be considered for an AFL Players’ Association Award which recognises departing players’ contribution to the sport and community.

Goodes also did not take part in last Saturday’s grand final motorcade for retiring players after being booed by interstate fans for most of his final season.

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