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Kangaroos’ Horne-Francis handed AFL ban

North Melbourne’s AFL woes have continued with young gun Jason Horne-Francis offered a two-game AFL ban for striking GWS star Josh Kelly.

Last year’s No.1 draft pick will sit out the Kangaroos’ next game against Adelaide on June 26 and a round 16 clash with Geelong unless the AFL strugglers can successfully challenge the suspension.

The match review officer has graded the third-quarter incident in North’s 49-point thumping by the Giants on Sunday as intentional, medium impact and high contact.

Horne-Francis made contact after Kelly had kicked the ball forward, resulting in a down-field free kick.

The incident sparked a melee in an otherwise fairly tame affair at Marvel Stadium.

“I think there’s some frustration from all of our guys,” Kangaroos coach David Noble said.

“(Horne-Francis) is a young guy learning the caper, he’s got high standards and high expectations, so there’s some frustration out there, no doubt.

“But I don’t think it’s just limited to him.”

Horne-Francis has had a mixed first year in the AFL after clearly being the top-rated player in the 2021 draft.

The midfielder missed North’s round nine defeat to Port Adelaide with hamstring tightness.

It was later revealed Horne-Francis had returned home to Adelaide for Mother’s Day, without the club’s knowledge, following an extended break after the round eight smashing against Fremantle.

“He didn’t get into trouble, he wasn’t suspended,” Noble later said.

“We sat down with him and said there’s protocols and what happens if he’s drug tested and if they don’t know his whereabouts, then the club actually gets fined.”

Horne-Francis, through his manager, has opted to put contract talks on hold with North until the end of the season.

The Kangaroos, who sit 17th after losing 11-straight matches, could also be without defender Lachie Young against the Crows after he was charged with rough conduct on GWS veteran Matt de Boer.

Giants players Jake Stein and Harry Himmelberg were offered fines for separate last-quarter incidents against North.

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