Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkey has taken an angry swipe at AFL fans that booed teenage star Jason Horne-Francis during the Power's 14-point win over the Western Bulldogs in Gather Round at Adelaide Oval. Port downed the Bulldogs 10.10 (70) to 8.8 (56) to record their third win of the season.
Despite being a home game for Port, 19-year-old Horne-Francis was routinely booed by sections of the Adelaide Oval crowd every time he touched the ball. The No.1 draft pick from 2021 has received the same treatment at other grounds so far this season after moving from North Melbourne in a four-club mega trade before the season.
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The Adelaide-born star walked out of North Melbourne after one season to return home and join Port. Despite the fact the Kangaroos weren't even playing Port, Horne-Francis was still subjected to constant jeers throughout the match, suggesting the animosity towards him is a more widespread Melbourne-centric attitude.
Speaking about the booing of his young player after the game, a visibly upset Port coach said offending supporters should be embarrassed and described it as "really unfair" on such a young player. "Jason Horne-Francis is 19," Hinkley fumed in the post-match press conference. "Some part of it is really annoying me, about the way people are treating him, it's annoying me.
"If you're treating my 19-year-old son the way some people have treated him, I would be embarrassed by my performance if I was those people. I think it has been really unfair."
Jason Horne-Francis is 19 years old.
If you’re booing him, it’s pathetic and it’s bullying. This is a professional game and players make the moves they want and need to make.
— Michelle Prak (@Prakky) April 15, 2023
The booing Jason Horne-Francis is receiving tonight is over the top. Conditions are very unfamiliar... It's like an ice bath out there 🥶 #AFLPowerDogs
— Simon Leon (@Jedicleaner) April 15, 2023
Honestly can’t fathom why people are booing Horne-Francis practically wherever he goes
— nick ⚓️🟥 (@docksandships) April 15, 2023
Why on earth is Horne Francis getting booed every week? He's just a kid.
— bouledogues de l'ouest (@gameof4quarters) April 15, 2023
Ken Hinkley going in hard defending Jason Horne Francis. He’s a great player, and the booing is from folk suffering from herd mentality. #aflportdogs
— Joel David Fleming (@JoelDFleming) April 15, 2023
"Jason Horne-Francis is 19. Some part of it's really annoying me, about the way people are treating him."
Ken Hinkley talks Jason Horne-Francis - the full presser is available on 7plus: https://t.co/UyfycfWQD6#AFLPowerDogs pic.twitter.com/0uwVCrGCP8
— 7AFL (@7AFL) April 15, 2023
Jason Horne-Francis rises above boos in solid game
Horne-Francis, citing homesickness, demanded a trade from North Melbourne despite being contracted to the Kangaroos for this season. The Power swooped on the prodigious talent, who is averaging 18.5 disposals a game for the South Australian club and had another strong showing against the Bulldogs, 11 disposals, seven contested possessions, five inside 50s and four clearances just in the fourth quarter.
"The kid made a courageous decision to come home," Hinkley added. Let the kid play footy. He's 19." The Port coach then suggested the media were culpable for the way the 19-year-old is treated by rival fans.
"I am talking about people who write stories every week, who talk stories every week, and I'm talking about the treatment that they (the crowd) gave him at times tonight," he added. Without making a big deal of it, the kid is trying, he's giving his best.
"He's 19. Stop treating him like he's 28. And treat the kid with some respect. And I tell you what, some people who put pressure on kids in this game need to have a good hard look at themselves."
Hinkley said Horne-Francis had shown no signs of being impacted by the jeering. "Great credit to him, he just wants to play good footy," he said. He is happy being home. Good on him."
Port forward Todd Marshall booted a pair of late clutch goals to inspire the Power's comeback victory after the Dogs led late on. Marshall's double-strike in a three minute span in the final term helped the Power overturn an eight-point deficit to come home with a wet sail.
The Bulldogs, with Cody Weightman slotting four goals in his first AFL game of the season after overcoming a groin injury, were eight points up 10 minutes into a frantic final term. But Marshall then converted two set-shots, including a remarkable 45-metre effort when hemmed on a boundary line, to put the Power in front. The home side kicked the last four goals of the game to seal victory.
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