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Lance Franklin talk a surprise for Brisbane Lions coach Chris Fagan

BRISBANE coach Chris Fagan says reports Sydney superstar Lance Franklin is keen to extend his career with the Lions in 2023 is news to him.

A Channel Nine report on Thursday night indicated the restricted free agent and wife Jesinta were interested in moving to Queensland to be closer to family.

Franklin is in the ninth and final year of his blockbuster contract with the Swans and is without a deal for next season.

Lance Franklin celebrates kicking his 1000th goal during round two on March 25, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

“It’s very much news to me,” Fagan said on Friday morning.

“I would have thought if they are moving to Queensland that’s perhaps an indication Bud’s going to retire.

“That’s how I read it.

“If it came to pass down the track they do move here, and someone reaches out from his camp and suggests he still wants to play, we’d be remiss as a footy club to not go and have a conversation with him.

“I can’t comment any further than that.

“As far as I’m concerned he’s a Sydney Swans player and if any of that is going to happen it would happen when the season is all over.”

Fagan said the last time he conversed with Franklin – who he worked with at Hawthorn from 2008 to 2013 – was via text message after the 35-year-old kicked his 1000th career goal in round two.

He said Franklin’s form in 2022, which had netted him 41 goals from 17 games, indicated he was good enough to play on if that’s what he wanted.

“I don’t know what will play out into the future, but the way I see it right now if he’s moving to Queensland to live, I’d suggest he’s going to retire.”

As a restricted free agent, Sydney would have the opportunity to match any offer from a rival club and either retain Franklin or force a trade.

Brisbane has its own free agents to take care of, with Dan McStay (unrestricted) and Darcy Gardiner (restricted) both yet to finalise their futures.

NO DEAL Lions free agents remain unsigned 

With McStay set for a move to Collingwood, the Lions would be entitled to a compensation pick under the AFL’s rule, however that would likely be cancelled out if Franklin headed north.

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