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Part One - ZERO HOUR, 9AM

The AFL Trade Period begins in earnest at 9.00am amid the announcement of a bombshell by North Melbourne’s 2021 Number 1 draft pick Jason Horne-Francis that he wants to leave the club and return to his home state to play for Port Adelaide. 

The Herald Sun is reporting that “Horne-Francis will cite the instability at North Melbourne this year in his first season“ along with a likely continuation of chaos as a result of the uncertainty surrounding coach Alastair Clarkson in the wake of allegations of bullying of First Nations players under his tenure with the Hawks.

The call by the youngster highlights the uncertainty of the draft even at its highest level. At last year’s draft, the Kangaroos and the Giants both bypassed Collingwood father/son prospect Nick Daicos who was ultimately picked by the Magpies at number four. Daicos went on to have a stellar season winning the NAB Rising Star Award and helping his side’s to rise from 17th to within a heartbeat of a grand final berth. Horne-Francis had a troubled season and played 17 matches while the remaining top five picks were restricted to a mere handful of AFL games in their debut seasons. 

The opening of the trades looks likely to signal a busy period for the Demons who will be dealing with the transfer of another young “wantaway” in Luke Jackson and his potential replacement, Brodie Grundy as well as the proposed moves of Jayden Hunt and Toby Bedford, ironically to interstate clubs. The trades of the two big men are likely to be protracted through the trade period which ends in the middle of next week. Hunt is an unrestricted free agent so that move should be swift and the Bedford trade is not seen as complicated.

Meanwhile Docker wingman Blake Acres is expected to become a Blue, the Pies  are set to snare the Giants’ Bobby Hill whose teammate Tim Taranto will be confirmed as a Tiger in the first moves of the AFL trade period today. Acres is expected to be the first of a number of Fremantle trades as they clear the decks to make room for Jackson.

The fun is about to start.



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