Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin’s AFL career ranks among the greats of Australian rules football.

The West Australian was raised in the states central wheatbelt region town of Dowerin.

Franklin’s Indigenous heritage stems from his mother Ursula, a Whadjuk-Noongar woman. The moniker ‘Buddy’ was first used to differentiate him from his father, Lance Snr.

At 15, Franklin relocated to Perth attending Wesley College on a sports scholarship. The school has a decorated history of producing footballing talent, including 2005 Brownlow medalist Ben Cousins.

Franklin was selected with the fifth overall pick in the 2004 AFL Draft. The then-18 year old made his debut in round one the following season.

His breakout year came in 2007, stamping his mark on the competition with 63 goals over 22 games. However, a two-goal, 11 behind return against Essendon in round 6 contributed to his reputation as inaccurate in front of goal, a criticism he carried throughout the start of his career.

Lance Franklin of the Sydney Swans during a training session at the SCG in Sydney, (AAP Image/Joel Carrett)

Franklin would soon hit his stride, going on to win the 2008 and 2013 Premierships with the Hawks.

At the end of 2013, it was announced Franklin had signed an nine-year, $10 million dollar contact with the Sydney Swans, after much speculation he would join the newly the established GWS Giants.

Franklin led the Swans to the 2014 and 2016 grand finals with club the falling short of premiership success on both occasions.

Injuries and dips in form have plagued his tenure at Sydney despite maintaining his status as a star of the competition.

The key forward has racked up a long list of accolades over his 17-year AFL career.

His two premierships, a Hawthorn best and fairest, four Coleman Medals, eight All Australian selections and topping the goalkicking tally a collective 12 times at his respective clubs sit amongst his many achievements.

Franklin’s abilities have seen him be the sole contributor to celebrations that once graced the game every other year.

The 33-year-old is the last player to kick 100 goals in a season, reaching the milestone in Hawthorn’s final home-and-away match of the 2008 season against Carlton.

Franklin kicked past his hundred in the first quarter as fans rushed onto the field per tradition of the occasion, though he could have found company on the night.

The Blues’ Brendan Fevola came into the match on 92 goals to Franklins 98.

The match finished with Fevola ending his season on 99 after Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson flooded the backline in the final quarter.

This left Franklin to collect the Coleman Medal with 102 goals to his name.

The career-defining effort finished a healthy start to the 2000’s after Matthew Lloyd and Fraser Gehrig hit triple figures in 2000-2001 and 2004 respectively.

Franklin’s impending journey to 1000 career goals would see him be the first to surpass the figure since Gary Ablett Snr in 1996. He may well be the last to do it, as the modern game restricts players ability to reach such feats.

The 1000 club features names heralded by many as some of the VFL/AFL’s greatest. Franklins future peers include the likes of Gordon Coventry, Doug Wade, Tony Lockett, Jason Dunstall and Ablett Snr.

Along with playing talents, Franklin has been an advocate for Indigenous Australians throughout his career.

In 2017 he was one of a number of players to wear the number 67 on his back during Sir Doug Nicholls round in commemoration of the 1967 Referendum to fully include Indigenous Australians in the census.

In 2016 Buddy married former Miss Universe Australia winner Jacinta Franklin. The pair have two young children.

He enters his 319th game on 996 career goals against Geelong on Friday night.