Port Adelaide’s ability to get a deal done for “Nathan Buckley-type” draftee Jason Horne-Francis is tipped to be what sends the Power back up in the ladder in 2023.
The Kangaroos took Horne-Francis with their first ever number one draft pick, but he’s lasted just one year before requesting a trade home to South Australia.
The Power are the frontrunners for Horne-Francis’ services, with reports the 19-year-old has already ruled out a move to Adelaide.
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Fox Footy’s Leigh Montagna says North Melbourne need to get “bang for buck” from the Horne-Francis deal, given the lofty predictions of where his AFL career will go.
“They should get maximum bang for buck because I agree he’s got potential to be a top 10 player in the competition,” he said on Trading Day.
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“I would still be asking for a player – I think North Melbourne still want to get more talent in.
“Port Adelaide, they have to come to the party because he’s contracted.
“It’s a great opportunity for Port Adelaide. They’re going to fall onto Horne-Francis – they’ll make sure they get it done because he’s a generational player.
“They’re looking to bounce back into that top six, top four which I think they can do.
“Now with this young midfield, with (Connor) Rozee and (Zak) Butters, gee it’s a great get.”
Jason Horne-Francis requests trade | 00:48
So far, North has knocked back Port Adelaide’s pick 8 and a future first rounder (estimated to fall between pick 12 and 18).
The Power are said to be unwilling to part with players like Miles Bergman or Josh Sinn as a “sweetener” for the Roos.
“On the flip of that, this kid, you let somebody go for they can give the new team – this kid’s a star,” Fox Footy’s Dermott Brereton said.
“This kid’s top end is as good as we are going to see come through the draft for a decade. He is a star. So they need to compensated.
“(He’s a) Nathan Buckley-type who could be there for well over a decade and will be at the top end/the sharp end of every Brownlow and be what you sell your club on.”
Fellow prized draft pick, Melbourne’s Luke Jackson is also seeking a trade home after being taken by the Demons with pick 3 in 2019.
But Brereton said North couldn’t compare what deal the Demons get for Jackson – current reports have that demand at two first round picks.
“They pretty well sit almost on a par (Horne-Francis and Jackson). You’re talking batters and bowlers – they are completely different players,” Brereton said.
North Melbourne list manager Brady Rawlings says the club will stand firm given the initial offers they knocked back last year for pick 1.
The Crows were willing to part with their first-round pick last year and both selections in that territory this year – one linked to Melbourne – in return for pick one and North’s future second-round pick.
The Tigers’ bounty included their top three draft picks last year – they ended up being Nos. 9 (Josh Gibcus), 17 (Tom Brown) and 28 (Tyler Sonsie) – plus Callum Coleman-Jones for the No. 1 selection.
Horne-Francis still has one year to run on his initial draft deal – meaning North Melbourne don’t have to accept a trade for the talented youngster, and can hold him to the final year of his contract.