Alastair Lynch, the AFL star who signed an extraordinary 10-year contract at the age of 25, believes Sydney wouldn’t expect Hawthorn superstar Lance Franklin to keep playing until the end of his nine-season deal.
Lynch, like most in the AFL, was shocked to learn 26-year-old Franklin is headed to the Swans on a $10 million deal instead of joining expansion side Greater Western Sydney.
The 45-year-old, who reluctantly left Fitzroy to join Brisbane after the 1993 season, knows first-hand how unusually long deals brokered by Andrew Ireland can work.
Lynch ended up signing a one-year extension to his landmark contract, bowing out of the game in 2004 with three premierships at the age of 36 – one year older than Franklin will be at the end of the 2022 season.
However powerhouse full-forwards like Lynch are rarer these days, and the former Brisbane captain senses Sydney won’t be banking on Franklin fulfilling the sum total of his deal.
“It’s a big aggressive move by a footy club to get someone over the line, so I understand that,” Lynch told AAP on Wednesday as Franklin confirmed he was Sydney-bound.
“I don’t think the Sydney Swans would expect Buddy to play for the whole term.
“They’d be rapt if he did, but I’m sure they have got in the back of their minds that it might only last six or so years.
“You’re still getting to a fair old age at 33. So six years would probably be a good result, if so they’d have to wear the last three years in the salary cap.
“But I’m sure that’s something they’ve considered long and hard over the last few months. If they can grab two more premierships in that time with Buddy, I’m sure they’d take the pain at the end.”
Lynch admitted he had “no thought of playing the 10 years out” when he first joined the Brisbane Bears.
“That’s where the guarantee was very attractive … it was impossible to knock back,” he recalled.
“It (the 10-year contract) worked beautifully for me … and hopefully the club felt it balanced out in the end.”
Brisbane’s retention allowance was abolished after winning three consecutive premierships, much to the relief of Collingwood president Eddie McGuire who declared “war on the AFL in regards to the salary cap” a day after his side lost the 2002 grand final to the Lions.
McGuire, long outraged over the Swans’ cost-of-living allowance (COLA), has been at the forefront of a swell of COLA angst after news of Franklin’s imminent departure broke on Tuesday.
“They work within the rules that have been provided by the AFL,” Lynch said of the Swans.
“It sounds like there’s an ongoing review of this allowance to live in Sydney, and this might bring it to a head.
“Once we (the Lions) started to become successful it was pretty swiftly knocked on the head – that may happen again.
“There has been talk over the last few years about it. At some stage it was deemed to be a valid competent of the salary cap for the Sydney-based clubs, so I’m not quite sure why it should change.”