Former Hawthorn teammates Jarryd Roughead and Jordan Lewis have admitted they were surprised by Lance Franklin’s battle with mental illness.
The pair threw their support behind Franklin after it emerged the Sydney superstar would not play in his side’s qualifying final clash against Fremantle on Saturday because of a serious mental health issue.
Lewis, who will reportedly be in Franklin’s bridal party later in the year, said he was unaware of his close mate’s illness until it was reported on Tuesday.
“This is something that’s taken me by surprise,” Lewis told Fox Footy’s AFL 360 program.
“This has happened pretty quickly in my eyes.
“Hopefully he’s in a good place where he’s got people who can help him and he can come out the other side.”
Both Lewis and Roughead said they had sent messages to Franklin to offer their support.
Roughead said he would love for Franklin to line up for Sydney as they kick off their finals campaign in Perth, but football was a secondary concern to his mental health.
“I can’t personally say I noticed anything, but I just hope the big fella’s okay,” Roughead told 3AW’s Sports Today.
“He’s one of the main reasons a lot of people go and watch footy so hopefully he gets better soon.
“I just hope the big fella’s okay because he’s very, very good to be around when he’s nice and happy.
“I hope he gets back to that type of feeling soon.”
Sydney insisted on Tuesday that Franklin’s mental health issues were unrelated to an epileptic seizure the three-time Coleman Medallist suffered on Friday.
Roughead, Lewis and Franklin played alongside each other in the Hawks’ 2008 and 2013 premierships.