Poor preparation behind Horne-Francis axe 

Lui Zacher
August 12, 2022 / 7:22 am

North Melbourne legend Brent Harvey says the club “can’t be held to ransom” by No.1 draft pick Jason Horne-Francis, insisting the Kangaroos were correct to drop him before their clash with Adelaide.

Instead of what would have been the 19-year-old’s first chance to play AFL in his home state, North have opted to axe Horne-Francis, with Harvey saying his sub-par preparation does not meet coach Leigh Adams’ standards.

It’s added further fuel to the fire surrounding his future at the club, Horne- Francis having already put off contract talks with the Kangaroos to extend his deal beyond 2023.

Asked if denying Horne-Francis the chance to play in Adelaide might serve to push him out the door, Harvey, who is a current development coach at North Melbourne, said it was a risk the club had to take to drive high standards.

“He hasn’t gone out and robbed a bank, he hasn’t done nothing bad, his teammates love him, the coaches love him … this is just part of the development of a young boy to get his preparation right,” he told RSN.

“You can’t get held to ransom for these little things; you’ve got to make sure your culture is number one.

“That’s what our coach is doing right now and I absolutely love it.”

Two-time premiership Kangaroo David King was bemused by the call to prevent him from playing in his home state.

“Why would you drop Horne-Francis … he’s going back to Adelaide to play in front of family and friends, why wouldn’t you give him that opportunity?” he told SEN.

“Just put him there in front of his friends and family because he’ll want to perform.”

But Harvey said it was a continuation of Adams impressing himself on the side, pointing to fringe midfielder Kayne Turner as evidence good players can be left out.

“Kayne Turner would run through brick walls for every single one of his teammates, for every single one of his supporters … he’s playing in the reserves at the minute,” he said.

“If you haven’t got your Monday to Friday in order, that’s just not good enough right now.

“Was it good enough in round three, round four and five? Maybe.

“But with Leigh Adams in charge, the standards have gone to another level and players have to play their part.”



Image: Jason Horne-Francis in action for the AFL Academy. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)