A Legendary Return: Lance Franklin Honors Hawthorn at the MCG

A Legendary Return: Lance Franklin Honors Hawthorn at the MCG

In a heartwarming reunion, Lance Franklin, the iconic forward of Australian Rules Football, made a poignant return to where it all began – the hallowed turf of the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). It was a rare appearance, filled with nostalgia and gratitude, as Franklin paid tribute to his roots during Hawthorn’s clash with Sydney on Sunday. A Legendary Return: Lance Franklin Honors Hawthorn at the MCG

The scene was set for an emotional journey down memory lane as Franklin, affectionately known as “Buddy,” graced the ground where he etched his name into football folklore. Between 2005 and 2013, Franklin mesmerized Hawthorn faithful with 182 games, two premierships, and the milestone of kicking 100 goals in a season. His legacy as one of the game’s all-time greats was born during this time before he embarked on the second phase of his illustrious career with the Sydney Swans.

A Legendary Return: Lance Franklin Honors Hawthorn at the MCG

Stepping onto the field for a halftime chat in front of nearly 40,000 supporters, Franklin expressed his gratitude, admitting to having “goosebumps” as he addressed the crowd alongside former teammate Jordan Lewis. “It was really important to me to thank Hawthorn fans,” he said. “You guys have been unbelievable. Obviously won the two flags with you guys, so I wanted to come back. And it’s been awesome.”

The round seven fixture marked the first meeting between Franklin’s former teams since his retirement in July 2023. Prior to the game, Franklin, accompanied by his family, revisited Hawthorn’s base at Waverley Park to reconnect with players and share memories with another former teammate turned senior coach, Sam Mitchell.

Taking in the aura of the ‘G, Franklin reminisced about his best moments on the iconic ground. “It’s the home of football, isn’t it? There’s no better stadium in Australia,” he reflected, standing beside Lewis. “I absolutely loved my time playing football here, as we both did, and we had some special times.”

But it wasn’t just about football; it was about family. Franklin, surrounded by his children and those of his premiership teammates, shared poignant moments with fans along the Olympic Stand. “It’s what it’s about, isn’t it? It’s all about family,” he remarked. “All the kids – Roughy’s (Jarryd Roughead) kids, Lewis’ kids, and my kids here today, 19 years on from when we were first drafted, to be here today, who would have thought. It’s an incredible moment for us.”

As Franklin bid farewell to the Hawthorn faithful, his presence at the MCG was not just a testament to his footballing prowess but also a symbol of the enduring bonds forged through the game. It was a day of gratitude, reflection, and celebration of a remarkable career that will forever be etched in football history.

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Source: https://nit.com.au/28-04-2024/11083/lance-franklin-farewells-hawthorn-faithful-with-emotional-goodbye-at-mcg

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