Horne-Francis ready to be No.1
SOUTH Australia’s Jason Horne-Francis believes he can make an instant impact at North Melbourne when selected with the top pick at the AFL draft.
Horne-Francis is certain to become the first South Australian since Bryce Gibbs in 2006 to be a No.1 pick at a national draft when the Kangaroos secure him on Wednesday night.
The 18-year-old on Tuesday revealed all other AFL clubs had given up on chasing him, knowing the Roos are committed to him with the top pick.
Horne-Francis has sought counsel from Gibbs, his teammate at South Adelaide in the SANFL this season, on how to handle the pressure of being a No.1 pick.
“He has been a big help for me this year,” Horne-Francis told reporters.
“It’s definitely really special and it’s an honour to have my name spoken with him.
“He has been tremendous for all of us young … kids at South, just developing us, bringing us in after games and doing individual reviews with us. He has been enormous for us.”
Horne-Francis desired to become a No.1 pick, believing the added pressure would help him made an immediate impact at North.
“I’m very well prepared for it,” he said.
“It sits well with me, to be honest. I feel like I’m pretty good with handling the pressure and my footy will take care of itself.”
Greater Western Sydney hold pick two and are tipped to select Sam Darcy, forcing the Western Bulldogs to match that bid for their father-son prospect, the son of the Dogs’ 226-gamer Luke Darcy.
That would leave the Giants with pick three and the Sydney club has been linked with Victorian Finn Callaghan, ranked the best midfielder of the draft crop behind Horne-Francis.
Another father-son shuffle is expected with Gold Coast’s No.3 selection – the Suns could choose Nick Daicos, the son of Collingwood great Peter Daicos, with the Magpies set to match that bid.
The Suns could then pounce on either Vic Country ruckman Mac Andrews or Josh Gibcus, considered the standout key defender in the draft.
Adelaide will pick next after seeking to jump up the draft order by offering effectively three first-round selections for North’s prized No.1 selection, a proposal rejected by the Kangaroos.
The Crows have been linked to Josh Rachele, a game-breaking small forward likened to GWS star Toby Greene.
Other expected first-round selections include South Australia’s Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera, a nephew of Essendon and Port Adelaide champion Gavin Wanganeen, West Australian trio Jye Amiss, Matt Johnson and Neil Erasmus and Victorian on-ballers Josh Ward, Ben Hobbs, Josh Sinn and Sam Butler.
First-round selections will be decided on Wednesday night with the following rounds settled on Thurssday night at a draft staged via teleconferences across the nation.
(C) AAP 2021