North Melbourne rookie Jason Horne-Francis has come under fire from Kangaroos legend David King, who has described the No.1 draft pick’s attitude as a ‘massive issue’ for the club.
Horne-Francis was visibly frustrated during the Roos’ 49-point thrashing at the hands of GWS Giants on Sunday.
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The 18-year-old’s angst bubbled to the surface when he was involved in a heated verbal exchange with veteran ruckman Todd Goldstein during the half-time interval.
Speaking on Fox Footy’s 'First Crack' following the game, King highlighted the flash point as an example of broader issues surrounding Horne-Francis’ behaviour.
“They’ve got a massive issue with the No. 1 pick – he is playing his own game at the moment,” King said.
“He needs to pull his head in, it’s as simple as that. I know he’s a star factor player. He’s abusing his teammates on field.
"There’s problems with his own game that he’s not really presenting his best footy, yet he’s happy to spray guys that are 300-gamers.
“Here’s Goldstein trying to tap the ball to him, which becomes the source of a heated discussion at half-time.
“Now if you want to learn anything at 18 years of age going into an AFL system, you do not know the lot. You’re not the finished product, so listen to players that are trying to help you.
“It’s a massive issue in his game and it’s a real problem for this kid — from day one that’s been his mannerisms.
“I know you can say he’s frustrated with them not winning, but this abusing your teammates.
"I think it’s counter productive to what the group are trying to achieve, and I wonder what they’re doing down there to rein that in, because this has been a problem for two months now.”
Former Hawthorn forward Ben Dixon agreed with King’s assessment, describing Francis-Horne’s antics as ‘unacceptable’.
“Turn around and listen to what he’s got to say to teach you how to play,” Dixon said in reference to the altercation with Goldstein.
“If you’re No.1 draft pick and you disrespect someone like that, I’d be dropping you… I’d be saying, ‘mate you’re going down to VFL football until you pick your bottom lip up and your attitude picks up.’
"Because it’s unacceptable and it’s week-in-week-out that he dishes it up.”
Tensions boiling over a bit between JHF and veteran Todd Goldstein after a dire first half for North? 😤
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Jason Horne-Francis in hot water over tackle
To make matters worse for Francis-Horne, he is set to come under scrutiny from the match review officer after he connected with a swinging arm to the head of Giants midfielder Josh Kelly in the third quarter of the contest.
North Melbourne coach David Noble defended his prized draft pick, saying it is all part of the ‘learning’ process for the teenager.
“He’s a young guy, a young man learning the caper,” Noble said.
“He’s got high standards, high expectations, so there’s some frustration out there, there’s no doubt.
"But I don’t think it’s limited to him.”
Interesting to note a lot of people having a crack at Jason Horne-Francis. Think the onus is on North Melbourne to ensure he is in a good place and happy at the club. Sure, he's acting out and that's not a good look, but they cannot afford to lose him. #AFLNorthGiants
— Akash Fotedar (@akashfotedar5) June 12, 2022
Jason Horne Francis.
If you’re going to behave like this around your team mates then move on we don’t want you! Move on mate never saw LDU act like this
— Justin (@JustinStreet89) June 12, 2022
Jason Horne-Francis has had poor body language all day and has topped it off with a nice whack that should see him miss a week or two. His agent is going to be working real hard this offseason to get him out! #AFLNorthGiants
— Sean Ioannidis (@yunggoolies) June 12, 2022
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