Lance Franklin will finally make his return to the AFL on Tuesday morning when he lines up with Sydney’s senior players to start pre-season training.
The star forward has been out of action since he decided to take a break before the finals series to deal with a mental health issue. His decision lead to plenty of speculation about whether it spelled the end of his career.
On Monday afternoon, Franklin spoke publicly for the first time since taking the time off saying he was feeling healthy again and ready for his AFL return.
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“I’m really excited to get out there,” he told the club website. “Day one of pre-season is (today) for me – I’m hungry to get back out there. Obviously missing the finals last year was tough (and) it was tough watching, not being there. But for me, it was more about getting myself right, getting my health back in order, getting back to being happy.”
Franklin said he has just returned from an overseas holiday. He added the best decisions he could have made were having time away from the AFL and seeking help.
Franklin thanked fiance Jesinta Campbell, his family and the Swans for their support.
When asked about how hard it had been for the drama to be so public, Franklin replied: “It’s been extremely tough for myself, but the best thing I’ve done is put my hand up and get the help that I needed. If you are struggling, I’d definitely recommend that you ask for that help. It will change your life.”
Swans coach John Longmire will hold a media conference before the training session.