Sydney Swans superstar Lance Franklin has pulled out of this weekend's crucial AFL qualifying final against Fremantle due to ongoing mental health issues.
In a statement on the club's website, the Swans said Franklin was being treated for an unspecified condition.
"Our first priority is looking after Lance's health," General Manager of Football, Tom Harley said.
"Lance has been open with the club about his condition and while we consider it a private medical matter, he is aware he has our full support.
"The timeframe on his return is unclear at this stage. He will certainly miss this week's match and we will continue to monitor his condition.
But the Swans say they've "wrapped their arms" around Franklin as he recovers.
"It's a shock to a lot of the boys … we can just support him as a player group and as a footy club, and that's what we'll do," Swans coach John Longmire said.
"We're right behind him, we support him fully, and footy's the last thing on our minds in regards to his health.
"All the players have spoken about it and we're fully behind him."
Swans co-captain Jarrad McVeigh also spoke in support of his mate's decision to take some time off and said he's confident the Swans can still win on the weekend.
"We know everyone's going to say why we can't win this game of footy, but we're pretty confident in our ability and the way we go about things that our footy will stand up," McVeigh said.
"We've dealt with a few things throughout the year but we're strong enough mentally and a strong enough group to be able to cope with these things.
There's been an outpouring of support for Franklin and the club on social media.
And messages on the club's Facebook page have been overwhelmingly supportive
Get well soon Buddy!
Anyone seeking support should contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Rob Stott is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.
Contact Rob Stott at email@example.com.
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