Jason Horne-Francis taken by North Melbourne with number one pick in AFL national draft

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Outstanding South Australian prospect Jason Horne-Francis has been selected by North Melbourne with the top pick in the AFL’s national draft.

Horne-Francis was widely tipped to be selected at number one in this evening’s draft conducted in Melbourne, and the Kangaroos will be hoping the highly touted midfielder will play a key role as the club continues its AFL rebuild.

The 18-year-old is the first South Australian to be selected at number one in the draft since Bryce Gibbs was picked by Carlton in 2006.

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It is the first time since 2010 a player outside of Victoria has been selected at number one in the draft.

Horne-Francis — who played for South Adelaide in the SANFL — is also the Kangaroos’ first number one selection in draft history.

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He remained in Adelaide for the draft, which allowed South Australian and revered North Melbourne premiership player Malcolm Blight to present him with his new club’s jersey.

“I can’t wait to get into things with the North Melbourne footy club,” Horne-Francis told Fox Footy.

“I think North are on the right direction, they’ve got a lot of young talented midfielders and I think I can learn a lot off players at the club.”

Horne-Francis is set to feature in North Melbourne’s best line-up in 2022 under coach David Noble, who will be in his second season in charge at Arden Street.

In what was no surprise, the Western Bulldogs snared ruck-forward Sam Darcy, whose father Luke is regarded as a club great.

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GWS put in a bid on Darcy with pick two, but as expected it was matched by the Bulldogs.

In another father-son selection, Collingwood took Nick Daicos with the overall fourth pick after matching Gold Coast’s bid for the 18-year-old.

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Daicos’s father Peter was a legendary player for Collingwood, helping the club win the 1990 premiership.

Meanwhile, the Giants used the third pick in the draft to select Finn Callaghan, while Gold Coast chose Mac Andrew with its top selection at number five.

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