Ken Hinkley calls out booing of young gun Jason Horne-Francis

PORT Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley has launched a staunch defence of gun recruit Jason Horne-Francis after the No.1 pick had a dominant final quarter amid boos from the crowd during the Power’s win.

Horne-Francis was huge in Port’s come-from-behind victory over the Western Bulldogs, gathering 11 disposals and four clearances in the final term to be an important player in the Power’s 14-point win. He finished with 19 disposals and seven inside-50s. 

The former Kangaroo has been pivotal in both of the Power’s recent final-quarter triumphs, including last week’s win over Sydney, but received some booing from sections of the crowd at stages against the Bulldogs.

POWER v BULLDOGS Full match coverage and stats

Hinkley, who had encouraged the bullocking midfielder to grab his moments late in the game, said the treatment of Horne-Francis had to be better. 

“Jason Horne-Francis is 19. Some part of it is really annoying me about the way people are treating him. It’s annoying me. He’s never going to play four quarters every week, he’s 19 years old,” Hinkley said post-game.

“If you’re treating my 19-year-old son the way some people have treated him – I’d be embarrassed by my performance if I was those people. I think it’s been really unfair. The kid made a courageous decision to come home, let the kid play footy. 

“I’m talking about people who write stories every week, who talk stories every week and I’m talking about the treatment that they gave him at times tonight. Without making a big deal of it, the kid’s trying, he’s giving his best. He’s 19, stop treating him like he’s 28 and treat the kid with some respect.

Jason Horne-Francis in action during the round five clash between Port Adelaide and the Western Bulldogs at Adelaide Oval on April 15, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

“And I’ll tell you what – some people who put pressure on kids in this game need to have a good hard look at themselves.” 

The Power win lifted Hinkley’s side to 3-2 after a tough fixture for the opening five rounds and came with a rush after the Dogs booted the final four goals of the game after trailing by eight points early in the last quarter of the rain-soaked contest. 

Hinkley said it was up to Port to capitalise on the tough wins it has banked early in the season.

“Every game’s so different so you have to turn up as best you can every week. I don’t think any team is going to be able to do that for 23 rounds and then some, you’ve just got to give yourself a chance and what we’ve done now is give ourselves a chance to stay in the comp for longer than we were last year. I’m really proud of the team,” he said.

Bulldogs counterpart Luke Beveridge lamented the loss in the trying weather.

“It’s tough when the conditions are what they are and it’s a real armwrestle. We gave a few goals up too easy and when they haven’t been easy to come by and the opposition get on top of you in an area where you’ve been extremely strong, especially in the last couple of weeks, we lowered our colours towards the end of the game,” Beveridge said. 

Luke Beveridge during the round five clash between Port Adelaide and the Western Bulldogs at Adelaide Oval on April 15, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

“I thought our backs held up reasonably well considering, we just didn’t have enough contributors as far as the scrap goes to see it out. To Port’s credit they did. It’s tough but we just have to suck it, move on and refocus on what’s ahead,” he said.

Dogs defender Josh Bruce was substituted out of the game with a concern with his ribs and will be assessed in coming days.

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