Lance Franklin will don the number 23 guernsey in 2014 and beyond following the announcement of the Sydney Swans player numbers today.
Franklin secured number 23 after Jordan Lockyer, who wore the 23 guernsey for the last two seasons, accepted the former Hawk’s request to continue to wear the number he enjoyed much success in over the last eight years.
Speaking to SwansTV on Monday morning, Franklin said he was thrilled to be able to wear the number 23 for the Swans and thanked Lockyer for handing over his lucky number.
“I’m super excited to wear the number 23. I wore it for a number of years at Hawthorn, so to get the number here at Sydney is something that I’m looking forward to wearing,” he said.
“Jordan Lockyer was a good bloke about giving me the number and I really appreciate it.
“The number is important because I played in it for so many years, so I think it’s more of a luck thing for me more than anything.”
Lockyer will assume the number 18 jumper next season, which was the same number he wore throughout his junior football career.
Franklin said Lockyer’s new number signalled a fresh start for the 20-year-old, who battled injuries in his first two seasons at the club.
“He is starting again with number 18, which is great for him,” Franklin said.
“It’s about just getting on a list or playing a game, your jumper number doesn’t matter as long as you’re playing football for the Sydney Swans.
“Jordan is in number 18 and I’m sure he’s looking forward to jumping into it.”
Lockyer, who is yet to make his debut for the Swans, said he was looking forward to a fresh start in his new number.
“Obviously 23 was the number I chose on day one and I was pretty excited and became quite attached to it,” Lockyer said.
“I was a bit hesitant to give up the number, but after speaking to Lance and speaking to others at the footy club, I’m now really excited about wearing the number 18.
“Number 18 was the number I wore pretty much all through my junior footy. Back then, if I had the choice of any number I would always try and grab number 18 as quickly as I could so I’m excited to get the chance to wear it again.
“Growing up I used to love Wayne Carey and Matthew Lloyd, so that was why I started wearing it during AusKick and I have always associated the number 18 with my favourite footy players.”
Another famous number was officially handed over this week, with Dane Rampe taking on club legend Jude Bolton’s number 24 guernsey.
Bolton expressed his desire for the second-year Swan to take on his old number at the end of the 2013 season, which Rampe said was one of his proudest moments.
“It was actually after the Freo (preliminary final) on the bus on the way home and he came up to me and just mentioned it,” Rampe said.
“I was really excited and of course I said ‘yes’ and we made it kind of official to the playing group on our Mad Monday.
“I don’t think he wanted to put too much pressure on me but of course I was incredibly humbled and incredibly honoured really.”
While admitting he had very big shoes to fill, Rampe said he would try his best to emulate Bolton’s best qualities on field.
“I guess having a think about it after that Freo game when I accepted it, the thing about Jude was that he epitomised the ‘Bloods culture’ and the club ethos,” he said.
“If I can go out and just put my body on the line and wear my heart on my sleeve every week, then that’s what Jude was known for.”
The club’s newest players also learned their numbers this week, with first-round draftee Zak Jones to assume the number 10 guernsey in 2014, which was most recently worn by premiership forward Mitch Morton, and was also worn by club legend Barry Mitchell.
Jeremy Laidler, who wore number 15 during his time at Carlton, will wear number 11, which was previously worn with distinction by Mark Browning, Peter Bedford and Stuart Maxfield.
Draftee Toby Nankervis will wear the number 13 guernsey next season, which was previously worn by Adam Schneider in the 2005 premiership and left vacant by Andrejs Everitt, while fellow draftee Aliir Aliir will begin his AFL career in the number 36 guernsey.
New ruckman Tom Derickx will claim Michael O’Loughlin’s famous number 19 guernsey, while draftee George Hewett will take on the number 29 jumper, which was worn for the last six seasons by recently retired defender Marty Mattner.
Swans rookie Lloyd Perris will wear number 41, while American import Patrick Mitchell will wear the number 45 guernsey, which he wore throughout his college basketball career at the University of North Dakota.
New numbers in 2014:
10 Zak Jones 11 Jeremy Laidler 13 Toby Nankervis 18 Jordan Lockyer 19 Tom Derickx 23 Lance Franklin 24 Dane Rampe 29 George Hewett 36 Aliir Aliir 41 Lloyd Perris 45 Patrick Mitchell