Draft night is one of the highlights of a young footballer’s career, but COVID-19 has ruined the experience for the AFL’s last two draft classes.
Due to restrictions in various states, the AFL Draft was once again a virtual event for the second straight year, and technology wreaked havoc right at the beginning.
As AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan announced that the Kangaroos had indeed made Horne-Francis the No.1 pick, fans were confused as to why there was little to no visible reaction from the youngster himself, who was watching from South Australia.
Later, Horne-Francis revealed that the TV he was watching the draft on died just moments before his name was read out, leaving the youngster being forced to watch the draft on his manager’s phone.
“It was a bit weird,” Horne-Francis told Fox Footy of the moment.
“The TV shut off and we couldn’t see much. Luckily, my manager Benny hooked us up with his phone and I was able to watch it.”
Horne-Francis has earned rave reviews in the lead-up to the draft, compared to the likes of Michael Voss and Patrick Dangerfield as North resisted trade offers for the No.1 pick from a number of rival clubs.
He described the feeling of being drafted as “a pretty special moment”.
“Definitely a lot of excitement. I can’t wait to get into things with the North Melbourne footy club,” he said.
“North are [heading] on the right direction and they’ve got a lot of young midfielders and I think I can learn a lot off the players at the club.
“It’s a dream for a lot of players to come in and make their debut Round 1 and hopefully that’s the case for me. I feel like I’m pretty well prepared and ready for it.”