Kane Cornes: Port, Crows must gear up for a ‘once in lifetime’ shoot to lure the pull prodigy to SA

According to Kane Cornes, it is now time for South Australian clubs to circle Jason Horne-Francis, number one of the draft pick, as the turmoil in North Melbourne continues to make headlines.

Horne-Francis, the 18-year-old described as a “generation player,” was one of the best Kangaroos in their bleak 2022 season.

But after delaying contract talks earlier this month, news from his “warning” from the club for his journey home to South Australia to see his mom for Mother’s Day and the drama surrounding it the departure of three recruitersCornes tells Port Adelaide and Adelaide to strike while the iron is hot.

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“I’ll hit the (panic) button if I’m a North Melbourne supporter,” Cornes told SEN.

“They have lost six games by more than 50 points, the coach has been accused of being too hard on the players, it doesn’t seem like a pleasant environment, the staff is running left, right and centre.

“If I’m Port Adelaide or the Crows, I’ll do everything I can to get this man home.

“This is the once in a lifetime opportunity you could have and who knows what Horne-Francis will look like in 10 years? Is he the next Mark Ricciuto? I don’t know.

“This is an opportunity to absolutely target a club that is at its lowest point.

“Can you imagine their biggest prospect, the number one draft pick, walking away? They will have to pay him almost anything he wants.”

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Since Paddy McCartin in 2014, a number one draft pick hasn’t left their draft club – and McCartin’s was for medical reasons.

But since Nick Riewoldt was picked with pick one in 2000, 10 top picks played for multiple clubs – including Luke Hodge, Brendon Goddard and Tom Scully.

Cornes said Horne-Francis’ potential return to a South Australian club could be the difference when facing a premiership challenge.

“Matthew Pavlich almost came back to Port, but not many guns have returned,” he complained.

“If Gavin Wanganeen does not return to Port Adelaide in the early days of Essendon, there will be no premiership.

“If Adelaide fielded Pavlich instead of Ken McGregor (in 1998), they’ll go through those preliminaries in that 2006 era under Neil Craig.

“That’s the difference we’re talking about. If Port Adelaide had called up Pavlich, you went from the best home side in the early 2000s to probably one or two premierships.”

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Cornes said he expected Power list manager Jason Cripps and Crows list boss Justin Reid to remain in constant contact with Horne-Francis management about the future, but warned that contact would raise the asking price. of the youngster could only increase if he gets out of contract at the end of 2023.

“(They would) check in, ‘how are you?’, under no circumstances encourage him to subtly renew his contract with North,” Cornes said.

“You would just advise him, keep fire, whatever he does, let him weigh all the facts at the end of next year and not sign a contract because it becomes almost impossible if he gets a contract and then decides he wants to come home.

“It won’t hurt him to be out of contract, it will only increase his price.”

Kangaroos general manager Brady Rawlings said on Wednesday that Horne-Francis’s trip to South Australia was a “non-story” but admitted the teenager “missed one small step” in getting his trip approved.

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Rawlings said he was sure Horne-Francis would want to stay with the club.

“All I can comment on is the way I see him in the club, and he’s got a big grin on his face, he’s got a great group of friends he’s drafted with. He plays great football and that’s what I see,” he said on SEN.

“From what I see, he seems extremely happy.

“Always around the guys and everywhere, especially the last few weeks.”

Horne-Francis isn’t the only young kangaroo to roll back contract talks, with young attacker Cam Zurhaar also chooses to wait until the end of the season

Horne-Francis has a contract with North Melbourne until the end of 2023, under the two-year deal he received when he was hired.

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