Number one draft pick Jack Watts has issued a stunning warning to under-fire Kangaroo Jason Horne-Francis, encouraging the teenager to get out of North Melbourne.
Horne-Francis is just 12 games in to his AFL career, after being taken by the Roos with pick one in the 2021 Draft.
But Watts says he would advise Horne-Francis to head home to South Australia as the youngster sits in a no-win situation.
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“If I’m him, I would be getting out of there,” Watts said on KFC SuperFooty TV.
“The amount of pressure he’s under, anything he does, if you’re pick 76 and you like a tweet or you like something, no one cares.
“Even the thing with Todd Goldstein, that probably happens five times at every other club.”
Watts experienced his share of criticism when he failed to live up to the lofty number one draft pick hype for Melbourne before eventually being traded to Port Adelaide at the end of 2017.
The Demons snapped up Watts ahead of the likes of Nic Naitanui, Stephen Hill, Daniel Rich and Phil Davis.
Such was the weight of expectation on what Horne-Francis could deliver on the field, that Adelaide reportedly offered up a stunning trade of three first round picks in exchange for the No. 1 pick that would allow the Crows to snap up the 18-year -old.
But the Roos knocked it back. Now rumors of unrest about the young rising star won’t go away.
Horne-Francis remains contracted at the Kangaroos until the end of 2023, as part of the two-year deal given when drafted.
It’s been a tough start to life as an AFL footballer for Horne-Francis after he was “reprimanded” for heading home for Mother’s Day.
The club disagrees with reports they didn’t know about the trip, but admitted Horne-Francis didn’t tick all the boxes for his trip home.
The youngster was then criticized for liking a “fake trade” post on social media that involved him heading to Port Adelaide.
Horne-Francis has also been under fire this week for his actions when being spoken to by 300-game teammate Todd Goldstein over the weekend.
Some experts, including Fox Footy’s Garry Lyon, said it came down to respect while Mark Robinson called for Horne-Francis to spend some time in the VFL when he returned from suspension.
“From how he’s acting, you can’t play senior football – even after the suspension. You’ve got to teach them character of the game and you’ve got to teach them how to play the game – and the character of the game is you can’t be going off at 300-gamers,” he said on AFL360.
“You’ve done nothing, go back, get some humility. You’re going to be a good player, but grow everything about your game.”
Watts said there was “no real positive” to being the number one draft pick in the AFL.
The 2020 number one draft pick, Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, was unable to cement his spot in the Bulldogs line up in his first season, with rumors quickly emerging that he wanted to depart Footscray in early 2021.
The 2019 number one pick, Matt Rowell, escaped the first year scrutiny when he suffered a serious injury after five games, ruling him for the remainder of the season.