Kangaroos icon Brent Harvey has backed the club’s decision to drop No.1 pick Jason Horne-Francis ahead of what would’ve been his first AFL match in his home town.
With North Melbourne travelling to Adelaide to take on the Crows, Horne-Francis, a South Australian native, was poised to have friends and family watch him in person, before he was omitted from Leigh Adams’ side.
According to Seven News’ Mitch Cleary, Horne-Francis was “called out” by the Kangaroos’ interim coach and senior teammates after failing to complete a proper ice bath recovery.
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With Horne-Francis having parked contract negotiations until the end of the season, speculation is rife that the axing could lead the talented teen away from Arden Street, but Harvey says the club “can’t get held to ransom for these little things”.
North Melbourne Kangaroos star Jason Horne-Francis has endured a tough first season at the AFL level (Getty)
“He’s going to have the spotlight on him because he’s the No.1 draft pick … (but) he hasn’t gone out and robbed a bank, he hasn’t done nothing bad; teammates love him, staff love him, the coaches love him. He hasn’t done nothing bad,” Harvey told RSN.
“This is just part of the development of a young boy to get his preparation right and everybody else. Not just Jason.
“The risk is there (that he departs) … we know the risk, everybody knows the right. Not just Jason. It could be draft pick No.5, not No.1, and they’re from Adelaide or Perth. The going-home factor is always going to be there. Same as a Perth club that drafts a Melbourne boy – it’s always going to be there.
“But you can’t get held to ransom for these little things. You’ve got to make sure your culture is No.1, and that’s what our coach is doing right now, and I absolutely love it.”
Horne-Francis is yet to determine his long-term future after parking contract negotiations until the summer (Getty)
Fresh speculation surrounding Horne-Francis’ future comes amid reports the Kangaroos have tabled an official offer to legendary coach Alastair Clarkson.
According to The Age, Clarkson has been offered a “long-term deal of at least five years” by the Kangaroos.
Clarkson is yet to make a decision on his future, with the GWS Giants also linked with the four-time premiership winner.
However, despite also being without a coach for next season, the Giants are understood to have not yet made a formal offer to Clarkson.
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