Jason-Horne Francis puts off contract talks, suitors for Bobby Hill, Victorian clubs, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti’s future

A prized Kangaroo has made a key contract call but the club isn’t overly concerned.

Plus a Giant is expected to request a trade again, and the latest on Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti’s future.

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HORNE-FRANCIS PARKS TALKS WITH NORTH

North Melbourne’s prized Pick 1 draftee Jason Horne-Francis has put contract talks with the club on hold until the end of the season, reports SEN’s Sam Edmund.

Horne-Francis and his management were reportedly closing in on a long-term extension with the Kangaroos over the pre-season, but have since parked negotiations after the club’s grim 1-7 start to the campaign.

Asked about the report on Tuesday evening, North Melbourne CEO Ben Amarfio declared it was “not unusual”.

“The obvious answer to that (what does he need to re-sign long-term) is that’s a question for Jason, his management and his family, I guess,” Amarfio told 3AW’s Sportsday.

“But what we can do is provide the best possible environment for Jason and for other recruits and for other players to get better. An environment where they’re learning and growing and developing and enjoying coming to work.

“That’s the best we can do and hopefully we have a bit of success along the way, and we create a great comraderie and a great bond between the players with the coaching panel as well.

North coach apologizes for spray | 08:30

“Ultimately, that’s up to Jason.

“It’s not unusual, he’s not the only first-round pick that hasn’t signed yet. Like anyone, he’s got to make sure that he’s had time to sit and think and he’ll make his decision I guess at the end of the year.”

It came after reports that Roos coach David Noble was forced to apologise to the playing group after delivering a fierce spray to it after the club’s 108-point loss to Brisbane.

“That was an initiative that he took upon himself,” Amarfio said.

“He felt as though he probably went at it a tad hard and then felt like he needed to apologise to the players, so he did.”

Horne-Francis, who’s tied to Arden Street until at least 2023 under the standard two-year rookie contract, has been a bright spot in North’s otherwise rocky opening eight games.

He’s averaged 18.6 disposals per contest and claimed the Rising Star nomination for Round 7.

Fellow 2021 draftees Mac Andrew (Gold Coast), Josh Rachele (Adelaide), Neil Erasmus (Fremantle) and Josh Sinn (Port Adelaide) have already signed extensions with their respective clubs, while Collingwood’s Nick Daicos came in on a four-year deal as a father-son pick.

GIANT STILL WANTS OUT AS LIST OF SUITORS GROWS

GWS forward Bobby Hill is expected to request a trade away from the club again at season’s end, according to SEN’s Sam Edmund.

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