Swans star Buddy Franklin has been reunited with the ball that he used to kick his historic 1000th AFL goal.
Franklin kicked four goals for the Sydney Swans in Friday’s win over Geelong, becoming only the sixth player in AFL/VFL history to reach the 1000-goal mark.
As thousands of fans flooded the Sydney Cricket Ground to celebrate the landmark achievement, one lucky attendee was filmed marking the Sherrin after it flew through the goal posts.
“I have the pill,” the fan can be heard exclaiming. “I’ve got to get out of here.”
The Sydney Swans launched a bid on Saturday to track down the ball and its mystery marker, releasing a statement on social media pleading with the fan to return it to Franklin.
“To the person who caught the ball, we would love to get it back for Buddy! We’re inviting you to training to meet Lance and present the ball to him. Get in our DMs pls!!”
The Sydney Swans confirmed on Twitter on Monday morning that the ‘pill’ had been returned. And, as promised, lucky punter Alex Wheeler got to meet Franklin.
He said he had celebrated snagging the Sherrin, estimated to be worth around $200,000, but he was worried another fan would try to take it from him.
“We went out to one of the pubs locally for a little while and I just got too paranoid that someone was going to knock the footy off from my house, so I went home pretty early and cuddled it up in bed.”
Mr Wheeler said he had always intended to return the valuable Sherrin to the club and Franklin.
“It’s going to be no good to me, I don’t have a pool room to put it up in unfortunately,” he said on Monday.
Along with meeting Franklin, the Swans gave Mr Wheeler a pair of Nike boots, a club jumper and another football signed by the star. He also got two five-year memberships to the club, an SCG membership and a letter of appreciation from the team’s coach, John Longmire.
With Franklin’s achievement, he joins Tony Lockett, Gordon Coventry, Jason Dunstall, Doug Wade and Gary Ablett Sr as the leading goal-kickers in AFL history.