Lance Franklin's decision to put off negotiations over a new contract with Hawthorn is understandable, says coach Alastair Clarkson.
The Hawks would love to sign "Buddy" to a new deal, he insists but Clarkson is also philosophical about the changes the free agency system have forced on clubs.
I think he just genuinely wants to see how this footy season unfolds before he makes a decision on where he wants to play his footy in 2014.Alastair Clarkson
"Whether it's Hawthorn, other clubs or the football community, I think we've just got to have to get our heads around free agency and how it's going to impact on clubs,'' said Clarkson.
"He's got a contract at our football club for season 2013 and we're going to do everything we can to ensure that that's good for both of us and we'll see what happens at the end of the year."
The champion forward has told the Hawks he won't discuss a new deal until the end of this season. But given he has a history of dedication to the club, and has publicly said he has no intentions of leaving, Clarkson is content to sit back and wait while Franklin explores other possibilities.
He said: "At some point in time he'll sit down with all the information that's available to him, and I think he just genuinely wants to see how this footy season unfolds before he makes a decision on where he wants to play his footy in 2014.''
Franklin is a six-time leading goalkicker with the Hawks, and won the Coleman Medal in 2008 and 2011. He was a premiership player with the Hawks in 2008, and has played 160 AFL games, kicking 517 goals.
Hawthorn are 4.25 to win the Grand Final and 1.40 to finish in the top four.
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