AFL great worried by ‘dangerous’ draft call

Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes is concerned about the hype surrounding the consensus No.1 pick in the AFL draft Jason Horne-Francis, amid comparisons to some all-time legends.

Horne-Francis is all but certain to be the name read out at the top of the draft by North Melbourne, who have confirmed it will not bid on father-son prospects Sam Darcy and Nick Daicos.

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A terrific season has earned the 18-year-old rave reviews so far, with Kangaroos recruiter Scott Clayton saying he “has the attributes of [Michael] Voss and [Patrick] Dangerfield with the power, speed and endurance combination all great players have”.

While Cornes believes the South Australian will enjoy a successful career, he asked: “How much pressure is too much?”

“That’s as big a statement in the lead-up to a draft as I can remember,” he told SEN SA Breakfast.

“Usually clubs want to play down their player … now you can understand why North Melbourne have rejected Adelaide’s offer for that pick.

“But how much pressure is too much? Is he going to be better than Nick Riewoldt in 2000, than Luke Hodge (in 2001)?”

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Cornes compared the hype to that surrounding Bryce Gibbs, who Carlton selected first overall in the 2006 draft.

“He was a ‘generational player,’ (it was) the same sort of hype. I just think it’s dangerous to be giving these wraps,” he said.

“Reportedly, he can handle it. I haven’t met him, and haven’t seen him play enough, but it’s a lot of pressure to be comparing him to the best No. 1 pick of all time.

“I just wonder if North Melbourne had realised that these comments would go mainstream, whether they would have tempered expectations a little bit.

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“It’s a lot of pressure to put on an 18-year-old before he’s even reached an AFL club … it’s a tough game, and you need a lot of things to go right.

“You need to land at the right club with a good development strategy, you need to be so highly driven yourself to reach those heights.”

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