By ZAC MILBANK
South Adelaide sensation Jason Horne-Francis has wasted no time in making his presence felt at elite level, earning the AFL Rising Star nomination for his performance in Round 7.
The 18-year-old, SANFL’s first No.1 draft pick since Bryce Gibbs in 2006, collected 20 disposals, four clearances and four inside 50s for North Melbourne in its loss to Carlton at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night.
Averaging 19.1 disposals, 10.9 contested possessions, 4.6 clearances and 3.3 tackles a game across his first seven AFL games, Horne-Francis has been quick to forge an imposing reputation at Arden Street.
“Jason’s done a really good job to come in and play at the level straight away. He’s well and truly earned this recognition,” North Melbourne General Manager of Football Performance Dan McPherson told North’s website.
“I think the expectations are pretty high given he’s a No.1 draft pick. What he has to produce and how he has to perform to earn that nomination is probably higher than most.
“We expect he’ll continue to improve week-on-week, which he has done over the last few weeks. He’s done a wonderful job so far this season as far as we’re concerned.”
North Melbourne General Manager of Football Performance Dan McPherson
''He's done a wonderful job so far this season as far as we're concerned."
Captain of the Torrens University SA U19 team last year, Horne-Francis transitioned into senior football with the Panthers in seamless fashion.
Measuring in at 185cm and 78kg, Horne-Francis’ impressive second SANFL League season resulted in him averaging 17 disposals from his 20 games as he divided his time between the midfield and half-forward.
The Christies Beach FC product also kicked 15 goals in 2021 while averaging four marks, four tackles, three inside 50s and three clearances, to illustrate his all-round game.
A key cog in South’s third-placing last season, Horne-Francis saved his best to last when he produced a stunning Preliminary Final display which yielded 24 disposals, three goals and 11 clearances to underline his game-breaking ability.
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