North Melbourne Jason Horne-Francis contract, David Noble comments, spray, Kane Cornes reacts, Ben Amarfio response

By Chris De Silva and Marc Churches

UPDATE: North Melbourne CEO Ben Amarfio says it is “not unusual” for No.1 pick Jason Horne-Francis to put contract negotiations with the club on hold.

News of Horne-Francis’ contract decision prompted fears among the Kangaroos’ faithful that the prodigious 18-year-old could walk from the club in the near future.

While he refused to confirm that Horne-Francis would remain a Kangaroos player long-term, Amarfio suggested contract decisions such as the No.1 pick’s are commonplace across the AFL.

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“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,” he told 3AW’s Sportsday.

“What we can do is provide the best possible environment for Jason and for other recruits and for other players to get a 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 camaraderie and a great bond between the players with the coaching panel as well.”

When pressed over what the club needed to do to convince Horne-Francis to commit his long-term future to the club, Amarfio said: “That’s a question for Jason, his management and his family, I guess”.

According to SEN’s Sam Edmund, Horne-Francis and his management were working on a new contract with the club before the Kangaroos’ woes on and off the field deepened.

North Melbourne sits on just one win through eight games and has suffered four-straight defeats of 50 points or more.

News on Horne-Francis’s reluctance to sign a new contract during the season comes after reports claimed that coach David Noble apologised to his playing group in the aftermath of the Kangaroos’ 108-point loss to the Brisbane Lions in round three.

Ziebell defends Noble spray

Reports have since emerged claiming players were left so rattled by the coach’s fierce spray that Noble was forced to apologise several days later.

Speaking on that matter on Nine’s Footy ClassifiedPort Adelaide great Kane Cornes didn’t see any issue with Noble’s spray so long as it was strictly footy-based.

“Reading between the lines, perhaps it got personal. That’s the only reason I can think why he apologised for something like that,” Cornes said.

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“I’ve been in situations where a coach has questioned a player’s haircut and the performance is reflective of having flair with your haircut and that you can understand why it would be offensive to a player.

“If it’s just specifically on-field, about effort, about structure, breaking team rules, can’t see how there could be an issue for David Noble and in what case he could ever have to apologise.”

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