K rock Football

Horne-Francis firming as top pick

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

NORTH Melbourne is poised to snap up Jason Horne-Francis with the first live pick of the AFL draft but the Roos are yet to officially rule out first bidding on father-son prospects Nick Daicos and Sam Darcy at No.1.

South Adelaide on-baller Horne-Francis recently had 24 disposals, three goals, 18 contested possessions, 11 clearances and 10 score involvements in the SANFL preliminary final and appears the stand-out player not tied to another club.

North football boss Brady Rawlings said Horne-Francis had “all the attributes” the Kangaroos wanted and could “change a game”.

“He is clearly right up the top with Nick Daicos and Sam Darcy throughout the year, and there’s a couple of others that are very appealing as well at that pointy end,” Rawlings said on Thursday.

“I think what you saw from Jason, especially in that last month of footy in the SANFL, we have seen that for two years at SANFL level.

“Going into this season, he was well and truly at the top and he has had a terrific year .. you can’t put any better performances together than what Jason Horne-Francis has done over the last couple of years.”

Rawlings wouldn’t be drawn on whether the Kangaroos would make Collingwood pay the maximum price for Daicos, son of club great Peter, or the Western Bulldogs for Darcy, son of former skipper and board member Luke.

Last year, Adelaide used the top pick to make the Bulldogs match a bid on academy product Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, then selected Riley Thilthorpe with pick No.2.

“Over the next couple of weeks our recruiting team will start crunching the numbers a lot more in terms of our order… whoever we’ve got at pick one in the draft, we’ll call their name out,” Rawlings said.

Adelaide was reported to have thrown trade suggestions at the Kangaroos in a bid to secure Horne-Francis.

But Rawlings said they’d never really considered a deal, especially given the unknown position of future draft picks compared to the guarantee of pick No.1.

“Not really, (no pick swaps tempted us), no,” he said.

“I think what’s been reported, makes it sound a lot more appealing than what the deals actually were – and they were spit-ball deals as well… bird in hand, obviously, very appealing for us and we’ve never had a pick one in the history of the draft.

“Every club has had one, we haven’t.

“Here’s an opportunity for us to bring a player in who’s hopefully going to play a lot of football for our club.”

(C) AAP 2021