SOUTH Adelaide prospect Jason Horne is the current consensus for top pick out of the 2021 draft crop, credit to an outstanding season last year which saw him crack the Panther’s League lineup. Now part of the AFL and South Australia Under 19 academies, Horne is looking to cement such status with another big season. The combative midfielder has very few weaknesses and can also hit the scoreboard, making him a threatening option in the engine room. Fittingly, he is a Fremantle supporter who moulds his game on Nat Fyfe.
Draft Central correspondent Tom Cheesman chatted to Horne at the recent South Australia preseason testing event for a question and answer (Q&A) special.
Q: How did you go at testing?
A: “Not too bad. The yo-yo was a bit disappointing, I think I got pulled out a bit early but I’m alright with that, I thought the day went pretty well.”
Can you tell us a bit about your footballing journey?
“I started playing footy in Under 7s for Salisbury North, I played there for a season then moved down here and played for (Christies Beach) since Under 8s I think. Then I played my whole junior career through there and came to South to play 13s, 14s, 15s and now 16s, 18s and seniors. So a pretty easy journey straight through all the development squads, it’s been good.”
How’d you find the experience of being promoted to League level in 2020?
“I thought it was a challenging step up but I really enjoyed it, took it onboard and thought it was a really good experience coming into this year.”
Did you enjoy competing against the bigger bodies?
“It was a bit difficult but I enjoyed the challenge and found ways to work around it I guess.”
What would you say your biggest strengths on the field are?
“I think my competitiveness and my contested footy, that’s the one big one that I think stands out a lot. My kicking and marking are two of my big (strengths) as well.”
What are you looking to improve on?
“I think I really need to improve on my leadership. Also, me and Boofa (Jarrad Wright) the League coach talked about my field kicking going inside 50, I just think that could improve a bit from last year. Then also my goalkicking, from my point of view I think it needs a bit of improvement.”
Do you anticipate some more midfield minutes this year having spent plenty of time up forward in 2020?
“Yeah, me and Boofa had a talk not long ago and we said we’ll have a bit more flexibility this year with our League team, getting ‘Gibba’ (Bryce Gibbs) and a couple of young fellas from the AFL clubs, so we think hopefully this year I’ll have a bit more midfield time as well as a bit up forward.”
Have any senior players in particular taken you under their wing at South Adelaide?
“I think Gibba’s the main one. He’s working with us young fellas and the 18s just to work on our development so he’s been a good mentor for us young boys and especially me, I’ve been spending a bit of time with him.”
How would you describe yourself off-field?
“I just think I’m a nice, respectful bloke. Good to have a laugh with and chat with.”
How do you go with balancing footy with other commitments?
“I’m working now five days a week so it’s a challenge but it’s helped me improve my time management.”
Is there anyone you mould you game on?
“Nat Fyfe. I like Nat Fyfe and I’ve been watching him for a long time so he’s the big one I model myself on.”
Image Credit: Deb Curtis/SANFL