Jason Horne-Francis has been dropped by North Melbourne for Round 22.
The 19-year-old No.1 draft pick has collected 13, 21, 11 and 12 disposals in his last four games after returning from hamstring issues and suspension.
It is the first time he’s been omitted from the senior side.
The call to drop him ahead of the upcoming game against Adelaide comes as a shock to the footy community, with David King one who questioned the decision when the news dropped.
“Wow, gee, that’s interesting,” the dual-premiership Kangaroo said on SEN’s The Picks.
“Why would you drop Horne-Francis? He’s going back to Adelaide to play in front of family and friends, why wouldn’t you give him that opportunity? I don’t understand that.
“Just put him there in front of his friends and family because he’ll want to perform.”
Horne-Francis, a South Australian, will now miss out on all three games against SA sides after not playing the Crows and Port Adelaide earlier in the year.
1988 Brownlow Medalist Gerard Healy also weighed in on sports day.
“A big omission, Jason Horne-Francis – the number one pick – has been dropped, which really puts a bookend to a pretty disappointing season,” he said upon learning the news.
North Melbourne recalled Ben Cunnington following a battle with testicular cancer for the weekend’s game at Adelaide Oval, with Ben McKay and Jackson Archer also on the list of ins.
Flynn Perez, Hugh Greenwood and Josh Walker join Horne-Francis going out of the side, with the latter two also axings.
Horne-Francis has averaged 16.3 disposals, 3.6 clearances and 2.4 inside 50s a game in 16 games 2022.
North interim coach Leigh Adams confirmed earlier on Friday that while he was happy with the youngster’s development, the club hadn’t helped Horne-Francis by where he’s played in his debut season.