Five new faces have joined North Melbourne after the completion of the 2021 NAB AFL Draft, and the overall talent and versatility of the new Roos has the club, experts and fans excited.
Here’s what they had to say.
Pick 1: Jason Horne-Francis
Plenty has been said about Jason Horne-Francis ahead of and after the draft, but his grandmother’s tales may have provided the greatest insights into the new Roo.
“He has put in a lot of hard work,” she told North Media.
“When he was little he was a little bugger, he would have me out on the park wanting me to kick to him and after two hours I would say ‘I’ve got to go in now’, and he would say ‘No Nanny, no Nanny, I want to learn!”
"No, Nanny! I wanna learn!" 😂— North Melbourne (@NMFCOfficial) November 24, 2021
No one was prouder of Jason Horne-Francis last night than his grandmother Jennifer! 💙🤍 pic.twitter.com/Pum5ibQ1bU
While that story had Horne-Francis lost for words, a call from the skipper Jack Ziebell left the new No.1 speechless for a whole different reason.
“Welcome to the North Melbourne family, the colours look very good on you,” Ziebell said to his new teammate.
“We can’t wait to meet you next week.”
Pick 22: Josh Goater
"Just keeping breathing, mate," was Kangaroos' coach David Noble's advice when he spoke to a clearly delighted Goater on draft night.
The lifelong Kangaroos fan Goater said he was "over the moon" to be drafted by his beloved Roos early in round two.
“I followed North Melbourne my whole life and I’m absolutely stoked to be able to be at that pick to land myself at that club," he told Fox Footy.
“I’m absolutely rapt to get in with that bunch of boys and get into it next week.”
A versatile utility who uses his 190cm frame to make an impact across the ground, Goater had a restless Wednesday night after he was overlooked in the draft’s first round, but his anxiety soon turned into excitement.
“It was a bit of mixed emotions last night, I would have loved to go last night, it would have relieved a bit of the stress a bit, but I’m absolutely over the moon to land at North Melbourne tonight," he said.
“It was worth the wait.”
“Josh is a versatile and athletic utility who can play all three zones of the ground,” North Melbourne’s National Recruiting Manager Mark Finnigan said.
“We see Josh as a rebounding defender in his early days of his AFL career with the potential to play multiple roles with more exposure in the system.”
"Remember to breathe, mate."— North Melbourne (@NMFCOfficial) November 25, 2021
Fair to say Josh Goater was pretty excited when Nobes called him from the draft room. pic.twitter.com/jjKIvtvutU
Pick 35: Paul Curtis
Western Jets forward Curtis “brings genuine X-factor to the front half which will complement what we already have in that area of the ground,” Kangaroos National Recruiting Manager Mark Finnigan said.
Curtis developed exponentially throughout 2021 to become a top 40 draftee, displaying his versatility in front of the sticks by booting nine goals in the final four matches of the NAB League Season.
“Offensively he is very dangerous, regularly hitting the scoreboard or setting up teammates’ shots,” Finnigan said.
“We see Paul as a really exciting prospect long-term who can fill a list need for us.”
Pick 38: Miller Bergman
Defender Bergman is “the boy you want to see with the footy in his hands, that’s how good his decision making and execution is,” AFL talent ambassador Kevin Sheehan told Fox Footy after the Kangaroos strengthened their backline just three picks later.
“He’s such a great decision maker and user of the footy.”
Bergman, whose father was drafted to the club in 1989, caught the eye of Mark Finnigan and his recruiting team this year with his athleticism and elite skills.
“He will provide a lot of drive with his run and kick, filling a position type we need for the long term,” Finnigan said.
“Miller showed his talent and versatility in the NAB League this season also playing forward, kicking three goals in one quarter”.
Pick 59: Jackson Archer
“When you see him play you know straightaway whose son he is,” North Melbourne GM Football Brady Rawlings said of father-son selection Archer.
“He’s aggressive and highly competitive – it’s a good foundation to build on in today’s footy.”
The club aren’t the only ones to believe Jackson has similar traits to his father, Shinboner of the Century Glenn Archer.
“This boy is a chip off the old block,” Kevin Sheehan told Fox Footy.
“As well as running hard and straight he makes great decisions too.
“Love this boy’s composure with the footy as well, he hits his targets and he’s still developing as a young player.”
“So good to see an Archer back at the Kangas!” Premiership Roo David King tweeted.
So good to see an Archer back at the Kangas! Can’t wait to enjoy his journey. Congrats all— David King (@davidking34) November 25, 2021