Hawthorn coach Sam Mitchell has praised former premiership teammate Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin’s “enormous” career, after the champion Hawk-turned-Swan announced his retirement from the game.
Franklin confirmed on Monday that his time in the game is done, after 354 games, 1066 goals and two premierships.
Ex-teammate Mitchell, now the Hawks’ head coach, played with Franklin from 2005 until Buddy’s move to Sydney in 2013.
READ MORE: Official suspended after runner’s ’embarrassing’ effort
READ MORE: Chappell says ‘stupidity’ behind ‘sad’ Aussie dearth
READ MORE: Jamaica sends Brazil crashing out of World Cup
Mitchell lauded Franklin’s ability to absorb the immense “pressure” he was under his whole career, one of the reasons he chose to leave Melbourne for a quieter Sydney scene.
“Seeing how he grew into that and watch him do that at two clubs is admirable, I don’t think you can also understand the amount of pressure he has been under for such a long time,” Mitchell said on Thursday.
“Not just on the field but in every aspect of his life, everyone is watching everything he does, for almost two decades.”
The pair played in two flags together with Hawthorn (2008 and 2013), with Mitchell highlighting Franklin’s impact beyond his successful early career.
“I have enormous respect for him, he’s a player of a generation if not more on top of that; I just can’t help but to tip my lid to what he has been able to achieve off the field and they way in how he’s grown into being a great man,” Mitchell said.
“I feel really privileged to have seen the part of his journey that I did.
“I think a lot of us would remember when he first turned up as this skinny kid, an amazing athlete, he didn’t have a worry in the world and could do some fantastic things with the footy.
“We saw him go from that into the great man, father and icon of the game that he has become.”
Franklin’s illustrious career came to an end after he injured his calf in what would became the final game of his career, defeating the Bombers by two points on Saturday.
For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!