Pretty much sums it up here.
Get right off the field before even contemplating football.
Life is bigger than a game.
Francis not happy ‘for a long time’: Woosha
Feb 14, 2018 10:42AM
AFL 2018 Training - Essendon 120118
Aaron Francis at Essendon training in January
If we took out and ignore the fact he’s on an AFL list and he was a high draft pick, the real issue is he’s a young man who should be living a really happy life
Don takes leave to deal with mental health
ESSENDON coach John Worsfold has no read on whether Aaron Francis will return to the club this season after the youngster recently took leave from the Bombers to deal with his mental health.
The South Australian youngster, who was about to embark on his third AFL season, will have what the club described on Tuesday as “an extended period of time” away from Tullamarine.
Francis played just five games for the Bombers in his first two seasons after joining the club as the No.6 pick at the 2015 NAB AFL Draft, but Worsfold couldn’t say if the 20-year-old would be back this year.
“I have no ability to know anything about all that,” Worsfold told AFL.com.au.
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"If we took out and ignore the fact he’s on an AFL list and he was a high draft pick, the real issue is he’s a young man who should be living a really happy life.
“Whether that involves football or not, that’s not the priority. That’s situation and where it’s all at. Our number one thing for Aaron is just to be happy.”
Francis requested a trade back to a South Australian club last year, but neither Adelaide or Port Adelaide showed strong enough interest in the intercept-marking defender so the Bombers kept him to his contract.
Worsfold said there were “indications” Francis was not enjoying his time at the club well before his trade attempt fell through.
“It’s obviously pretty sensitive, but Aaron hasn’t been really happy – as in what we would define as happy – for a long time,” he said.
"He loves the game, he loves the Essendon Football Club, but however it all works, he hasn’t been happy coming to training and he hasn’t been able to work out why. Basically, we’ve tried to get him the support of experts to assist him to work through why that is.
"A lot of the times a player will try to do this while they’re still playing and training and in the same environment, but it’s at that point now where we need to break that because it’s been ongoing.
“He’s a wonderful young man who loves the game of footy and it’s not just about footy – it’s about everything. He’s now working through whatever he has to do to be a happy young man.”
Francis had to deal with personal issues before arriving at Essendon, having lost his older brother to illness at the end of his bottom-age season in 2014.
He used his grief as motivation throughout his draft season and produced a run of sparkling performances through the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships and was named an under-18 All Australian.
His flexibility as a prospect who could play as a backman, forward and even occasionally as a midfielder appealed to Essendon, but Worsfold said the club has always been mindful of Francis’ circumstances.
“Initially we understood where Aaron was coming from and what he’d been through, so we were obviously very respectful around that,” he said.
"But it’s not something where we felt the need to adjust his overall program. He’s just tried to fit in and do what he can do. But when you look back over the two years, really, we only know Aaron from when he arrived at the club.
“We don’t know what Aaron was like before his brother passed away or when he was 10 or 11 years old, so it’s hard to say if there’s any change or anything different.”