Jason Horne-Francis after North Melbourne's loss to GWS at Marvel Stadium in round 18, 2022. Picture: AFL Media

NORTH Melbourne legend Brent Harvey says the club "can't be held to ransom" by No.1 draft pick Jason Horne-Francis, insisting the Kangaroos were correct to drop him for their clash with Adelaide.

Instead of what would have been the 19-year-old's first chance to play a match in his home state, North opted to axe Horne-Francis, with Harvey saying his sub-par preparation does not meet the standards of interim coach Leigh Adams.

It's added further fuel to the fire surrounding the midfielder's future at the club, with Horne-Francis having already put off contract talks with the Kangaroos about extending his deal beyond 2023.

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Asked if denying Horne-Francis the chance to play in Adelaide might serve to push him out the door, Harvey, who is a current development coach at North, said it was a risk the club had to take to drive high standards.

"He hasn't gone out and robbed a bank, he hasn't done nothing bad, his teammates love him, the coaches love him...this is just part of the development of a young boy to get his preparation right," Harvey told RSN

"You can't get held to ransom for these little things; you've got to make sure your culture is number one.

"That's what our coach is doing right now and I absolutely love it."

Harvey said it was a continuation of Adams impressing himself on the side, pointing to fringe midfielder Kayne Turner as evidence that good players can be left out.

"Kayne Turner would run through brick walls for every single one of his teammates, for every single one of his supporters ... he's playing in the reserves at the minute," he said.

"If you haven't got your Monday to Friday in order, that's just not good enough right now.


"Was it good enough in round three, round four and five? Maybe.

"But with Leigh Adams in charge, the standards have gone to another level and players have to play their part."

Horne-Francis was one of two big-name absentees when North's side was announced on Thursday, with Hugh Greenwood also omitted.

Ben Cunnington will make his return for the Roos after his inspirational battle with cancer, with the veteran coming in alongside fellow inclusions Ben McKay and Jackson Archer.

Cunnington gathered 18 possessions, including the first clearance of the match, in his comeback game against Sydney's VFL team last Sunday.