Lance Franklin and his camp continue to raise Hawthorn hopes that the dual Coleman Medallist will end his AFL career as a one-club player.
But the Hawks will have to continue to wait until the end of the season to learn whether Franklin will turn down a `Godfather’ offer from Greater Western Sydney.
“I want to stay at Hawthorn – I love the footy club, they’ve been a great football club for me for nearly nine years,” Franklin said on Wednesday.
“As I said at the start of the season, I will make my decision at the end of the season.
“My management is in talks with the football club at the moment and that’s where it stays.
“There are a few things we’ll weigh up at the end of the season and that’s between me and my management and the football club.”
Franklin said in February that he wanted to stay put, but speculation then intensified that the Giants would prise him away from the Hawks’ nest.
His manager Liam Pickering said last month that he was “very confident” Franklin would not head to the Giants.
On Wednesday, Pickering repeated his optimism about Franklin staying.
“I would have thought if you’re a betting man, you’d still be pretty confident he’s staying at Hawthorn,” Pickering said.
GWS declined to comment about Wednesday’s development.
Franklin becomes a restricted free agent once this season ends and ensured his future would become one of the biggest AFL stories of the year when he postponed a decision.
The Giants are said to have an offer ready that is worth close to $10 million.
Hawthorn revealed last month they had made a revised offer that would be the biggest player contract in the club’s history, but still short of the Giants offer.
Franklin and Hawthorn have enjoyed strong seasons, but the two-time Coleman Medallist admitted the contract negotiations were playing on his mind.
“You can’t say it hasn’t been a distraction – it has been a little bit,” he said.
“But it is what it is.
“At the end of the day, I’ve made my decision to leave my contract until the end of the season and that’s the way it stands.
“For everyone, we’ll have to wait and see what happens.
“But I’m sitting comfortably with it at the moment and I’m just looking forward to the end of the season and playing finals football – hopefully we can win it (the premiership).”
Franklin was asked how he felt when president Andrew Newbold indicated the revised offer would be the biggest player contract the club had proposed.
“It doesn’t make me feel uncomfortable,” Franklin said.
“There’s not much I can do with that – the president has come out and said what he’s said and the club has too.
“They’ve put the offer to my management and myself and at the end of the day, it comes back to me and my decision.”