AFL gives North Melbourne, GWS Giants a boost in Clarkson hunt; Tasmania AFL license vote looms; Brisbane Lions deny Lance Franklin bid


“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.”

Jesinta Franklin, who grew up on the Gold Coast, has said she would like to live closer to her family. The couple owns a luxury beachside apartment in Queensland.

Fagan said Franklin, with 41 goals in 17 matches this season, was still good enough to remain at the elite level – should he want.

“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,” Fagan said.

The Swans maintain they have not been told by Franklin, 35, that he is leaving.

Fagan and Franklin have a long history together, as Fagan was a key figure in Hawthorn’s football department between 2008-13, before Franklin left for Sydney. Fagan said the last time he had been in contact with Franklin was after the latter booted his 1000th career goal in round two.

Franklin, coming to the end of a nine-year, $10 million deal, is a restricted free agent, so the Swans can match any bid. Industry sources claim Franklin wants between $700,000 and $800,000 next season, but the Swans believe he is worth less.

Lions midfielder Jarrod Berry said the players’ group chat lit up at the prospect of signing Franklin. The Lions already have two left-foot marking talls in Eric Hipwood and Joe Daniher, but fellow forward Daniel McStay, an unrestricted free agent, has been linked with a move to Collingwood.

“I was talking to the boys on text last night, we reckon we just line them up on the right side of the ground and kick it long,” Berry said on Triple M on Friday. “Yeah it definitely would be pretty special… you grow up watching these guys. Even Hodgey [Luke Hodge], being able to play with him was one of the highlights of my career. It’d be awesome if Buddy came.”

Swans chief executive Tom Harley maintains contract negotiations with Franklin are progressing well. Franklin, an eight-time All Australian, earlier this year became just the sixth player in AFL/VFL history to kick 1000 goals.

The Lions could also have Darcy Gardiner (restricted free agent) on the move.

AFL gives North, Giants a boost in Clarkson hunt

Jon Pierik

The AFL has delivered Greater Western Sydney and North Melbourne a boost, declaring any club which lands Alastair Clarkson can apply for ambassadorial payments.

Clarkson, the four-time Hawthorn premiership coach, is in deep discussions with North Melbourne and Greater Western Sydney to fill their coaching vacancies.

He appears likely to pocket $1 million or more a season but under a soft cap of about $7 million next year – which does not include a further $670,000 in exemptions – fitting the salary that Clarkson expects, along with his new key football lieutenants, shapes as a squeeze.

Happy days: The AFL says Greater Western Sydney and North Melbourne can apply for ambassadorial funds should either land Alastair Clarkson.

Happy days: The AFL says Greater Western Sydney and North Melbourne can apply for ambassadorial funds should either land Alastair Clarkson.Credit:AFL Photos

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan insisted on Friday that Clarkson could only sign with the Kangaroos or Giants under the terms of his club contract but – in one of the league’s gray areas – said ambassadorial payments, sometimes given to coaches and players to sell the sport, particularly in rugby league markets, were available.

“They can get them but not in the lead-in to an agreement. So, we need our coaches and players to market products, parts of the code, whatever, but they are never part of the agreement,” McLachlan said on 3AW.

“So, if you are talking about Alastair Clarkson, he will not be able to bank on, in dealings with North Melbourne or GWS, or whoever he might be talking to … other than to say he has to make his decision on terms offered to him in the salary cap within that framework. If he then signs with whoever that team is, if there is an opportunity or role to market something, then they come up, that’s the same way applies to all players and coaches.”

Giants chief executive Dave Matthews, who has been interviewed in the search for McLachlan’s successor, says his club, should it secure Clarkson, will push the AFL for the additional payment. The Giants, struggling for public and media traction now they are out of finals contention, are in a rugby league and soccer heartland and believe they need Clarkson’s profile to “help grow the game”.

The Giants, with football director Jimmy Bartel playing a key role, have met with Clarkson three times but have also interviewed Richmond assistant Adam Kingsley, Melbourne assistant Adem Yze and caretaker coach Mark McVeigh.

The Kangaroos are predominantly focused on Clarkson, a former player with the club.

Clarkson, busy helping Tasmania’s push for a stand-alone side, while also taking in overseas fact-finding missions, has the option of spending another year out of the game but is keen to return next season.

Meanwhile, McLachlan said he still wanted a decision on whether Tasmania is granted the league’s 19th license by the end of the month.

Wayne Carey has backed North Melbourne's bid to land former teammate Alastair Clarkson.

Wayne Carey has backed North Melbourne’s bid to land former teammate Alastair Clarkson.Credit:Fairfax Media

“That was a commitment I made to have a resolution, whatever that looks like,” McLachlan, retiring from the top role later this year, said.

The 18 club presidents are due to vote this month, with two thirds needing to approve the bid for it to go ahead. Several presidents have grown frustrated with the lack of detail so far presented, particularly about the finances and the implications for the entire league.


McLachlan has maintained the new bid must include scope for a new stadium to be built in Hobart, but the funding for this has become an issue, particularly with the Tasmanian government insisting it will only provide a maximum of 50 per cent of the funding should certain AFL conditions be met.

“There are always lumps and bumps and stuff like that, but that’s our game. We are sort of coming to the end of the road. The August deadline is where we are committed. It’s broadly going to be on that timeline, I am hopeful. These things aren’t easy and there has been a lot of work – it’s ongoing,” McLachlan said.

Although under the AFL constitution club presidents can only veto a decision by the commission to admit a new team if a two-thirds majority vote against the recommendation, McLachlan has made it clear he wants 18 clubs to back the bid with their support contingent on the proposal.

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