Jason Horne-Francis and Junior Rioli join Port Adelaide in an AFL mega trade made on Monday.
There were four key clubs involved in the trade which saw an array on picks exchanged, including North Melbourne’s pick one.
MORE: All your AFL trade news and rumours
The mega deal is DONE! 🤯🤯🤯
Jason Horne-Francis and Junior Rioli get to Port in one of the craziest trades we can remember!
— Footy on Nine (@FootyonNine) October 10, 2022
Horne-Francis requested a trade away from North Melbourne after only 12 months at the club.
At times throughout 2022, the young star was visibly frustrated which led to speculation that he wanted to return to South Australia.
The Power have signed the 2021 pick one for a staggering six years which has already seen some criticism by media personality Kane Cornes and Fremantle star Paul Hasleby.
On SEN, the former Port legend has been vocal about long-term contracts and believes they rarely work out.
“I detest long term contracts and I think rarely if ever do they work out in favour of the club,” Cornes said.
“There’s a couple of exceptions. You might say Dustin Martin, Lance Franklin probably gets the tick. Other than that, I’m yet to see many examples of them working.
“I can see why Port Adelaide has done this and you might say that’s the Port Adelaide bias – one of those six years is a standard second-year player contract. $120,000 plus match payments. Well under the AFL average.”
Cornes also spoke out in June that Horne-Francis would not be at the club in 2023.
Hasleby also voiced his confusion over the length of the deal.
“That’s ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous,” Hasleby said.
“He had one year, a troubled year, and now you’re giving him a six-year deal? Hopefully the homesickness thing sort of works itself out because he is going home to family in South Australia, but he was challenged on a number of fronts by teammates and coaches and he spat the (dummy) on occasion.
“You don’t want to be giving six years to a player like that. You want to be confident that he is 100 per cent going to see out that six-year deal.”
Throughout the year, Horne-Francis was showing signs of unrest and a desire to return home.
The young gun liked a social media post which displayed a mock trade involving a move to the Power.
Do North and Port make the trade? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/3PBperlMM7
— 7AFL (@7AFL) June 3, 2022
However, Port Adelaide are satisfied with their pick ups, according to list manager Jason Cripps.
“Jason is a highly talented player who we know will complement our developing and exciting midfield group,” Cripps said.
“He is competitive and aggressive, and we like his power and explosiveness as well as his ability to go forward and hit the scoreboard.”
Rioli is the other player joining Alberton on a four-year deal, tying him to the club until the end of 2026.
The recent retirement of Robbie Gray has left a void in the forward line, of which the former Eagle will fill in 2023 and beyond.
“Junior certainly has some attributes that will strengthen our forward line, particularly given some of the players we have lost since the end of the season,” Cripps said.
“He has had a difficult couple of years but we feel a change of scenery and within the environment we have created at Alberton, we will see him return to the electrifying footy we know he is capable of.”
Port Adelaide are of the belief that their list can compete toward the pointy end of the year.
Losing back-to-back preliminary finals in 2020 and 2021, the Power are ready to bounce back into contention.
Now securing Horne-Francis and Rioli, the club will turn to look at bringing in Geelong’s Esava Ratugolea.
The forward-turned-defender has expressed his interest in joining Port Adelaide in a bid for more opportunity.
GM of Football Chris Davies says the Power have a selection they hope the Cats will accept but isn’t too confident given Ratugolea is still contracted.
“Pretty slow to be honest. We have got pick 33 now, and that is the pick we have earmarked for Esava if that is what Geelong is willing to take for him. The challenge here is if Geelong want to trade a contracted player.”
– Chris Davies on the pursuit of Esava Ratugolea
— AFL Trade Radio (@traderadio) October 10, 2022