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Port Adelaide, Power, mega trade, Jason Horne-Francis, leg injury, debilitating pain, North Melbourne, number one draft pick, surgery

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A fit and firing Jason Horne-Francis will be a “scary proposition” for rival clubs, after the number one draft pick revealed he was hampered by “debilitating pain” during his debut season.

Horne-Francis’ former South Adelaide teammate, and a former number one draft pick himself, Bryce Gibbs said the youngster’s decision to opt for post-season surgery will be “daunting” to other clubs come 2023.

“He’s the type of player to not whinge or complain too much, especially on the field,” Gibbs said on SEN SA Radio.

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“Hopefully this knocks it on the head, and I think it’s a scary proposition.

“A fully fit Jason Horne-Francis heading into the next AFL season will be a very happy one for Port Adelaide and a very daunting one for other teams.”

Last week the Power revealed their new recruit had undergone surgery on both legs after struggling with leg pain in his first year at North Melbourne.

Horne-Francis wasn’t ‘up for the fight’ | 01:48

The Power said it was “made aware” of Horne-Francis’ ongoing leg complaint during the trade period, but weren’t scared off the deal to bring the talented teen home to South Australia.

Gibbs said while disappointed the 19-year-old’s pre-season would be affected, he was confident the young gun could rebuild in time for Round 1.

“It is a bit disappointing, and it is a bit of a step back because I know how hard he was training,” he said.

“He had taken a fair chunk off his 2k time trial already and pre-season hasn’t even started yet.

“He was pretty determined to start the year off with a bang, obviously it’s not ideal preparation, he’s going to miss a bit of the pre-season.

“But he’s going to get back with enough time to get enough training under his belt to be ready to go come Round 1.”

South Australian journalist Michelangelo Rucci said Horne-Francis’ honesty over his ongoing leg issue had impressed Power club officials.

Might be another unstable year at North | 01:06

“Most new recruits would just want to hit the training track as soon as possible to make an impression but Jason Horne-Francis wanted to get into a hospital bed to give himself the best chance to perform next season,” he said on SEN SA Radio.

“I always find it interesting when (North Melbourne list boss) Brady Rawlings said in that trade period, ‘we have more information that others do’, so what was he really trying to tell us there?

“There’s a lot of things still in the mystery box with what Jason Horne-Francis was all about at North Melbourne.

“He’s impressed Port by being so mature to put that (injury concern) on the table immediately on arrival that he needed to go into hospital to get something done.”

Horne-Francis had reported “ongoing” pain in both calves and feet throughout the 2022 season, with scans revealing a “significant compression” of the arteries at the back of his knees.

The 19-year-old endured a drama-filled debut season at the Kangaroos after being taken with the club’s first-ever pick one in the draft.

Four team MEGA-TRADE for JHF! | 01:53

His decision to fly home for Mother’s Day without proper club authorisation was an issue, while he was seen arguing with teammates and had to be spoken to by club leader Todd Goldstein. His ice bath debacle, where it is reported he refused to follow coach’s orders regarding post-match recovery, saw him dropped for the only game in his home state – so he missed the opportunity to play in front of friends and family.

Horne-Francis sought a trade home to South Australia weeks later, lasting just one year into a two-year deal at North Melbourne.

Story Credit: foxsports.com.au

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