AFL great Dermott Brereton says he’s concerned Port Adelaide recruit Jason Horne-Francis will “take the odd shortcut” at his new club given how his exit played out at North Melbourne.
Number one draft pick Horne-Francis lasted just one year at Arden Street before requesting a trade that was ultimately fulfilled in a four-club deal that saw North Melbourne end up with picks two and three in the upcoming draft.
But it meant for a second consecutive year the Kangaroos lost their pick one, as their 2022 first pick was traded away to GWS.
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“I was a little disappointed in Jason Horne-Francis, I had hoped he might have stuck it out a bit,” Brereton said on SEN.
“(Players) know where we go. If you’re playing basketball, you get drafted, you go overseas. He’s only travelled 600 (kilometres to join North Melbourne).
“He’s still a young man but that’s the world you enter into (as a professional athlete) … to me it says he’s probably going to take the odd shortcut along the way if that’s his mindset.”
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Horne-Francis was famously left in Melbourne when the Kangaroos travelled to Adelaide for failing to follow a coach’s order to have an ice bath.
It was a massive blow for the teen, who had yet to play AFL in front of family and friends at home in South Australia.
Brereton said he hoped Horne-Francis had a “complete and utter buy-in” at the Power now that he’s returned home.
“You’re trying to get kids into your club so that when they’re hardcore, adult footballers they will win you a premiership,” he said.
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“It’s still a lottery because Horne-Francis now is 19, you’re still trying to predict what he or his like will be at 23 years of age.”
Port footy boss Chris Davies had said the club wasn’t concerned by any perceived behavioural issues with Horne-Francis when they lured him home earlier this month.
“From our perspective, Jason’s character wasn’t questioned before the draft year,” he said during the AFL Trade Period.
“We think we’ve got some really good players who around him he can learn off – Ollie Wines, Travis Boak – those kind of guys who I’m sure will show Jason the way he needs to act to be a top quality footballer.”