Most were shocked, some laughed, many mocked whilst one club in Greater Western Sydney was outraged when Lance ‘Buddy’ Frankiln accepted a nine-year, nine-million dollar contract to join the Sydney Swans.
It was a sign the footy landscape had changed forever and showed some clubs would take seemingly outlandish risks to try and land the missing piece of the premiership puzzle.
Franklin is entering his fifth year of the nine-year contract and in hindsight the risk from Sydney has so far paid off. Sure he hasn’t been able to bring the ultimate piece of silverware back to the harbour city but he has come bloody close.
And on the back of the new financial conditions afforded to our players, the once outrageous $900,000 per season contract from Franklin today seems like a bargain.
It’s time the Gold Coast Suns did a Sydney.
Through no fault of his own Stuart Dew enters his first season in the coaches box under some unenviable conditions.
His former captain, reigning best-and-fairest winner and arguably the player of the decade, Gary Ablett Jnr no longer wears the Gold Coast jumper.
Star players and high draft picks, Dion Prestia and Jaeger O’Meara should be entering the prime of their careers but have also jumped ship from the Gold Coast recently.
The team doesn’t have a winning culture having only sung the Suns theme song 12 times in the last two seasons.
Add to that his first 11 games of the 2018 season are away from home, which is another psychological blow for the team, when you factor in their diabolical record away from home.
Dew’s list manager, Scott Clayton, has joined the West Coast Eagles, which is unfortunate timing considering their best player and captain Tom Lynch is out of contract and the most wanted man in football.
Club CEO Mark Evans and footy boss Craig Cameron will now head up the negotiation with Lynch’s manager. They need to get serious.
The Suns should offer Lynch a 10-year contract at $1.5 million dollars per season because if he chooses to leave they may as well shut the doors.
For a club that has almost become irrelevant this sends a strong message to the competition, Lynch’s teammates, rival clubs, prospective sponsors, player managers and the small Gold Coast supporter base that the club means business.
Even if he doesn’t fulfil a portion of the contract, the investment will pay off. In 10 years’ time the average player wage will be close to $600,000 or $700,000 and the Lynch investment will seem small.
We are all about to find out how resilient Evans, Dew and his players are.
It’s time to get serious, and offer Tom Lynch the biggest deal in AFL history. A deal he simply can’t say no to.
Originally published on SEN.com.au