I’m grateful for being booed: Port’s Horne-Francis

Steve Larkin |

Jason Horne-Francis says copping abuse from fans has helped him mature as an AFL player.
Jason Horne-Francis says copping abuse from fans has helped him mature as an AFL player.

Port Adelaide midfielder Jason Horne-Francis is grateful for being jeered by opposition crowds, saying the abuse has fast-tracked his AFL maturity.

Horne-Francis admits it was tough, and surprising, to cop booing from spectators last season, his first at Port.

The South Australian was taken with pick one at the 2021 national draft by North Melbourne but walked out of the club after just one season to return home.

Horne-Francis expected to get jeered by Kangaroos supporters but also became a target of any opposition club’s fan base.

“It was definitely hard early … it was tough early,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

“But you get used to it.

“It was definitely surprising … a bit daunting at the start and a bit surprising.

“I went through a lot in my first year (at Port) and I probably can’t top what I went through my first year.

“So I feel like I’m really well prepared for what’s to come in the future.

“I can’t be more grateful for what I went through, which is probably silly, but it was good to get that exposure.”

Horne-Francis said the experiences helped him mature and was unfazed if the jeering continued this season.

Jason Horne-Francis.
Port’s Jason Horne-Francis celebrates a goal against Gold Coast during the 2023 season. (Matt Turner/AAP PHOTOS)

“I just want to try to play the best footy I can and if that means getting booed then I don’t really mind,” he said.

“That (jeering) is one of the things that you can just accept that will happen in footy.

“So if I’m prepared as I can for it, then I think I’ll be alright to deal with it.”

Power coach Ken Hinkley bristled at the booing of his star signing, saying in April supporters should be embarrassed of their behaviour towards Horne-Francis.

“There was so many people at the club that helped me, supported me, Kenny was probably the biggest one,” Horne-Francis said.

“I know he came in the (April) press conference and said it, but just the one-on-one chats that we had throughout the year, he was basically like a dad to me.

“A lot of (Port) boys have said that, that’s what he’s like, he’s a father figure. He was awesome for me throughout the year.”

The 20-year-old is on the verge of completing his first full pre-season in AFL ranks after being hindered by injuries in past years.

“(I am) finding my feet a bit more,” he said.

“I earnt a lot of respect from the players last year.

“And that was my main goal coming into the club in my first year, to earn the respect and I feel like I’ve done that now.”