A “hungry” Lance Franklin is looking forward to joining teammates for the first time since taking time away from football to deal with a mental health issue.

Franklin stepped away from football indefinitely towards the end of the home and away season after it was revealed the 28-year-old was combating a mental health issue.

He missed the Swans’ entire finals campaign to finish 2015 with 17 games and 47 goals next to his name.

Speaking for the first time since his heavily publicised time-out, Franklin said he’s feeling happy and healthy ahead of his first preseason training session.

“I’m hungry to get back out there,” he said.

“Obviously missing finals was tough; it was tough watching and tough not being there.

“But for me it was about getting myself right, getting my health back in order.”

Franklin took the opportunity to thank the outpouring of support which has helped him on the road to recovery, including fiancé Jesinta Campbell who he shared an overseas holiday with during the offseason.

He said the first and most significant step was “putting my hand up and get the help I needed”, describing what he went through as tough but the best decision he’s made throughout the whole process.

“It’s about building those relationships and communicating,” he said.

“I felt over these last couple of months I’ve been able to communicate a little better. Obviously that’s ongoing and I’m slowly getting there.

“I can’t wait to play football again and seeing my best mates.”

Franklin will join teammates for a light skills session tomorrow in which the Swans’ entire 2016 playing list will come together for the first time.