Lay off Lance, says AFL boss

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan is adamant there is nothing more to Lance Franklin’s medical problems than what has been made public.

McLachlan also gave more strong support to Franklin’s fellow indigenous Sydney teammate Adam Goodes, saying the boos from some fans would not diminish the legacy of the two-time Brownlow Medallist.

Franklin will not play again this season and, predictably, there are rampant rumours around his health problems.

The Swans have said he has mental health issues and also suffers mild epilepsy.

McLachlan was asked on Wednesday night if he was confident that the Swans’ explanation about Franklin could be taken at face value.

“Yes, 100 per cent,” he told Fox Footy’s AFL360 program.

“I feel I have enough information – you don’t know everything and I’m not trying to sound outraged.

“I feel confident enough that this issue is as described and please give him the space he needs to deal with it because it’s unbelievably tough.”

McLachlan also said his information was that Franklin was receiving the support he needed.

“My priority is to do everything I can to ensure the person (who) is the target of the rumour or innuendo is okay,” he said.

“I feel I’ve spoken to all the right people around Lance and I feel confident he’s getting the right help and the right support and he’s feeling supported.”

The booing of Goodes returned as an issue in Saturday’s qualifying final against Fremantle.

It was the first time he had played at Perth’s Domain Stadium since the infamous match against West Coast on July 26 that first brought the issue to a head.

Dockers coach Ross Lyon renewed his strong support for Goodes after Saturday’s game.

The booing was not as bad as during the Eagles match, but there are concerns about what might happen if Sydney win through to a Perth preliminary final against West Coast.

“There’s that risk, but there were always going to be some swings and roundabouts in this,” McLachlan said.

“Everyone was realistic enough with that and you just have to keep having conversations with people.

“Ross Lyon’s comments after were outstanding.”

Goodes could retire at the end of this season and McLachlan said, regardless of the booing, the player’s legacy would be untarnished.

“If he retires this year, it’s disappointing that it (the booing) has happened this year,” McLachlan added.

“(But) Adam Goodes will be remembered as a legend of our game for what he’s done on and off the field.”

McLachlan was also hopeful the issue around Goodes would eventually lead to positive change.

“He’s been part of a conversation that Australia has had through this,” he said.

“We’re not through it and, in the end – maybe this is a little optimistic – it will be part of his legacy and story.

“Actually, he was at the centrepiece of a conversation with the whole of Australia around race that will add to his off-field exploits.”

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