Wouldn’t mind Florent in out H/F line.
Having a very solid 2nd year, imagine what he’ll be like in another 12-24 months.
Good fox sports article posted elsewhere about McGrath’s friendship with Francis as well as Parish article on Essendon homepage.
Love the look of our future.
imagine posting the article.
Essendon’s Andrew McGrath says Aaron Francis has ‘turned his whole career around’ with his work to get back to AFL football
July 28, 2018 11:49am
ANNA [email protected]
Source: FOX SPORTS
Aaron Francis embraces Matt Guelfi after the final siren on Friday night.
Aaron Francis embraces Matt Guelfi after the final siren on Friday night.Source: Getty Images
WHEN looking at the winners’ circle on Friday night, there was one face that stood out.
Young Bomber Aaron Francis was a welcome member of the Bombers’ tightknit group, comfortably slotting into his first AFL game of the year.
Francis made a quiet entrance onto the field five minutes into the Bombers’ clash with Sydney — the final steps of a long road back to senior football.
A tick over two hours later, he was enjoying the spoils of victory — made even sweeter by his journey to reach that point.
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Fellow youngster Andrew McGrath reflected fondly on his close friend’s return to senior football.
“It’s awesome to see him back in the senior team,” McGrath told foxfooty.com.au.
“He’s such a talented player, such a great kid around the club and I’m so happy for him.
“He’s one of my good mates and just to see him smiling and being out there for a great win was awesome.”
There is clearly no denying Francis’ talent.
The young Bomber is strong in the air, classy with ball in hand and has a natural ability to read the play.
But there has never been any question mark on the South Australian’s ability.
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Aaron Francis comes off the ground with Darcy Parsh and Andrew McGrath on Friday night.
Aaron Francis comes off the ground with Darcy Parsh and Andrew McGrath on Friday night.Source: Getty Images
Francis lacked fitness last season, failing to earn a senior game after Round 7 while struggling to make a big impact at VFL level.
The former No. 6 draft pick then requested a trade home to South Australia — but was unable to secure one.
Francis also had an interrupted pre-season, having taken leave from the club in February to deal with a mental health issue — with the Bombers backing in the youngster’s decision — a call football manager Dan Richardson described as “extremely courageous” at the time.
Since his return to the Bombers in March, Francis has worked hard to earn back a spot in Essendon’s senior team, regaining fitness and plying his trade in the VFL.
McGrath says the work the 20-year-old has put in behind the scenes has “turned his whole career around” compared to this time last year.
“He’s turned his whole career around, really. He probably couldn’t run out a game fully at the end of last year and he knew that,” McGrath said.
“And tonight, you wouldn’t even know he was unfit, he was covering the ground, he had an awesome game.
“He just does a lot of extras. So he’ll finish training, go into the altitude chamber, do a bike (session). Just extra aerobic stuff and it’s really paying off.”
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Essendon young gun Aaron Francis on the move on Friday night.
Essendon young gun Aaron Francis on the move on Friday night.Source: News Corp Australia
As late as July 8, coach John Worsfold said the 20-year-old would have to wait for a spot to open up in defence, in order to feature at senior level.
The 20-year-old responded in his next two VFL games, averaging 19.5 disposals, six marks and four tackles against Richmond and Collingwood.
Then, ahead of Round 19, the call-up came.
And once Francis had entered the field, it was like he’d never left.
His first kick of the game was a clever, deft chip to Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti inside 50 — at a time when many of his teammates had been blazing away with their forward line entries.
“When you hear stories about Aaron Francis and that he’s a natural footballer — that’s what they mean,” Melbourne great Garry Lyon said on AFL Nation radio.
“He understands the game.”
Francis finished his night with 14 disposals, four marks, four inside-50s and two score assists.
It was a solid return to senior football — with flashes of the class and composure that saw him rated so highly in the first place.
“I thought he played his role as we had hoped,” Worsfold said post-match.
“He fit in really well with the backs down there and (I’m) really pleased.”
And if the 20-year-old keeps progressing like this, the in-form Bombers should have plenty more to smile about.
Bold is just for boot.
Imagine editing the article.
Imagine not reading it after copying on the phone.
I can imagine that.
Love how McGrath refers to Francis as a kid.
He is the cashmere of leadership material.
I love it when there’s a fight and McGrath steps in all adult like and calms everyone down.
Parish, Francis and McGrath will be the future of the team, if they learn from days like today.
I hope they all doing individual reviews not just about where they stood or how far they ran, but importantly - how they approached the contests in a hot game at the MCG.
They were all down this week compared to last, and personally I thought Andy looked up a few times before cracking in.
Don’t think it does Andy any favours to pretend McCluggage is inferior either - right now he’s delivering just as much, if not more and it should be driving McGrath to have a big offseason and work on some of his deficiencies.
All the happy clappers on here banging on about what a star this undersized, well spoken kid is going to be.
How frustrating is it to see Clug getting another 25+ 3 goal game in a bottom 4 team.
Thanks Dodoro, you picked a great person over a serious talent with pick 1.
Had a poor game, but the kid is class- he just needs time.
Gawd, there are some flogs here.
Yeh what’s your excuse ? Just continue to sit back in your armchair and wait for someone to slip up on a post so you can take a pot shot and feel good about yourself.
God forbid a young player has a quiet game. Be prepared to be sniped at any slip up.
He’s had some very solid games the last few weeks.