Buddy to stay a Hawk: manager

Just in case you were lying awake at night, worrying that journalists weren't already cranking up 2013's will-he-or-won't-he-sign superstar contract saga, rest assured.

Buddy Franklin is going to sign with Hawthorn. Sooner or later. And we're all on the story. Or the non-story.

"We'll get it done with Hawthorn, don't even worry about it," Franklin's manager Liam Pickering said on his Off The Bench SEN radio program on Saturday morning.

That could be the end of this article before it really began, but this being the AFL, the year-round attention-hog of Australian sports, and this being Buddy, the most electrifying forward in the league, there will undoubtedly be fans keen for more.

So here it is:

"I don't need to test the free agency market with Lance Franklin," Pickering said.

"Let's be honest - every club would want Buddy Franklin.
 
"But he will stay at Hawthorn; it will be all sorted.
 
"I'm very confident."

Ah - there it is - he's only very confident! The deal is not actually set in stone yet! Cue speculation, planted rumours, scuttlebutt...

We could all go back to the cricket and leave footy contract talk until at least February, but it cannot be denied that the prospect of such an influential 'franchise' player becoming available via free agency would generate plenty of discussion.

The brilliant Hawk is out of contract at the end of next season, and as early as July, Hawthorn CEO Stuart Fox said the club would try to sign Franklin in a bid to avoid the soap opera that trailed fellow key forward Travis Cloke's protracted contract negotiations with Collingwood throughout 2012.

Pickering said he assumed Franklin would remain a Hawthorn player for the rest of his career.

"Assumed"? Does that mean he's not 100% sure?...

Earlier this week, Fremantle confirmed that it was NOT seeking Franklin's service, saying it did not have a big enough "nest-egg" in its salary cap.

Franklin's good friend, former housemate and fellow West Australian Sharrod Wellingham left Collingwood this off-season for the West Coast Eagles. Don't read anything into that.

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