When Buddy Franklin surprised the football world and selected Sydney over Greater Western Sydney my respect grew for him instantly. This decision showed he didn’t want to waste the best years of his already brilliant career taking the easy money whilst battling away with a group of players not yet ready for September action.
Once Franklin chose the far more talented team in Sydney he must have known he would face off against his former teammates in Hawthorn in a crucial match of the season, but possibly not the biggest game of the year. The signing of Franklin gave Sydney the most potent forward line seen in recent history in the AFL. This weekend Franklin, Tippett, Goodes and Reid will be the most powerful forward line the MCG has seen since Ablett, Lockett, Loewe and Lyon graced the Victorian team in the 1995 State of Origin clash, best remembered for the emotional lap of honour for Ted Whitten.
Franklin will be the most talked about player all week, not only is he the most talented bloke on the ground, but his defection from the reigning Premiers in Hawthorn creates the perfect story for the various media outlets. We will hear about selection dilemmas throughout the week, Cyril Rioli will get a few mentions in the beginning of the week (Clarkson would be foolish to play someone so underdone), but come the final 72 hour countdown Buddy will be the most mentioned player throughout Melbourne and Sydney.
On the surface the recruitment of Franklin to the harbour city has proven to be a very wise one, but let’s not forget Franklin still has 8 more years remaining on his contract and has already missed a few games this season with knee soreness. Not many people hold must confidence in Franklin seeing out the full nine years of his contract, but at a reported $10 million dollars for the almost decade long contract we have to ask ourselves “Is Buddy worth the $10 million?”
Most supporters would take Franklin in an instant, but the length of the contract is a major worry, and bucks the current trend of players struggling to continue their AFL career once they reach 30. Although Franklin is a key position player, and should play longer than the average footballer the club needs to complete its due diligence and make sure Franklin sees out the maximum amount of his contract.
We all know the problems faced with Sydney and the controversy surrounding COLA (Cost of Living Allowance). Sydney supporters aren’t known for attending matches during the tougher times, and this increases the AFL’s keenness for them to continue their success over some of the lesser teams in the competition. The AFL will always have the best interests of Sydney at heart but has publically stated the Franklin contract will be taken into account for the full length of the contract.
So is the Buddy Franklin contract worth the $10 million price tag? 2014 was an outstanding year for the key forward and this won’t continue for the contract duration. I have created ‘Buddynomics’ so we can track the success of his career, and see if Sydney are getting value for money in one of their biggest deals in the history of the league.
Task Value 2014
Win the Grand Final $750,000
Make the Grand Final $500,000 YES
Play 16+ games in the Season $400,000 YES
Major Medal (Norm Smith, Coleman, Brownlow) $200,000 YES (Coleman)
70+ Goals $200,000 YES
Play Retires Early -$500,000 NO
Plays <10 games -$250,000 NO Sydney don’t make finals -$150,000 NO
After a brilliant 2014 Franklin is currently on $1.3 million, with the potential to increase to $2.25 million. This would put the key forward well on track to return some of the $10 million paid for the star.
At the end of the day if Franklin helps Sydney win even one Premiership most will argue his recruitment has been justified, and rightly so.
We will never know if Sydney could’ve won the 2014 Premiership without Franklin, but we will know by about 6pm Saturday night if Buddy has delivered the ultimate prize to Sydney.