Jason Horne-Francis simply wasn’t “up for the fight” at North Melbourne, as the Kangaroos confirm they didn’t see any red flags for homesickness when they drafted him from South Australia with pick one.
Just a day after Horne-Francis claimed he wanted “stability” as a reason for his trade to Port Adelaide, North list manager Brady Rawlings said the club had to let him go as they didn’t trust his “mindset” to return to the Roos.
“Obviously we revisit that (decision to draft Horne-Francis) all the time with the background we’ve done. Everything came back really strong,” he said.
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“We didn’t think we’d get the best out of him in the mindset he was probably going to be in (if the trade wasn’t facilitated).
“We felt the best thing to do was to move on and get some currency for him this year and we can go to the draft and pick up some players – top end characters and players who want to be at our footy club.”
Might be another unstable year at North | 01:06
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Fox Footy’s David King said the Horne-Francis trade was “really sad”, as the Kangaroos have now given up their pick one in the past two seasons to sit with draft selections two and three in 2022.
“I think you’ve got to read between the lines with the Jason Horne-Francis information coming from both sides really,” he said on Trading Day.
“Jason Horne-Francis said the North Melbourne Football Club was unstable, felt like he didn’t get the support – I don’t think North Melbourne could have invested any more support into this guy.
“They’ve strapped a 432-game legend, the games record holder (Brent Harvey) to his hip for 18 months.
“I’m not sure what more you could have done Monday to Friday to assist him to be the best he could on weekends.
“I think it’s easy to sling mud once these players are gone but the North Melbourne footy club felt they had to get out of the path of Jason Horne-Francis. They had to put a full stop on this journey.
Premiers cap ‘exceptional’ trade period | 01:35
“It’s really sad that’s it’s the case.
“I’ve never seen a number one pick not be up for the fight.
“To pull the rip cord so early and be done on your tenure at a club that’s clearly in trouble because they are 18th on the table when you get them… it’s just cut and run.
“I’ve never seen that happen before. I wish him well at Port Adelaide, but you can just sense there’s a level of anger at what’s gone on the last six months.”
North Melbourne ended up arguably one of the big trade period losers after Horne-Francis and pick one departed in the mega four-club deal on Monday.
JHF reflects on his professionalism | 01:40
They now hold picks two and three heading into this year’s draft – with Brisbane expected to jump ahead of them to nab father-son Will Ashcroft.
Complicating matters is the fact the future first round pick they received from Port Adelaide is tied to the Power’s success in 2023.
Port Adelaide list boss Chris Davies said the club wasn’t concerned about any perceived behavioural issues with Horne-Francis, after his controversial first season at the Roos.
“From our perspective, Jason’s character wasn’t questioned before the draft year,” he said.
“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.”