2021 NAB AFL Draft Recap
The 2021 NAB AFL Draft saw a trio of Panther products take the next step in their footy journeys.
It was a history-making start to this year's draft, with Jason Horne-Francis becoming the first South Adelaide player to get selected with the first pick and the first croweater to be selected at number 1 since Bryce Gibbs in 2006.
Watching with family and friends, the Christies Beach junior heard his name read out at the cherished first pick – marking 5479 days since a South Australian had last experienced it.
"It was really special actually, I'm privileged and proud to spend it with them," Jason said in a press conference post-draft.
One of footy's worst kept secrets, the number 1 pick will now look towards his debut season with North Melbourne.
"… It feels really good, it's a nice fit actually," Jason told the press when asked how it felt to be in the blue and white stripes.
However, Horne-Francis is not the only Panther that fans would recognise from the 2021 SANFL season.
Matty Roberts, who joined the Panthers' pathway from Langhorne Creek, began his life in the senior side with a strong display during South's nail-biting win over the eventual premiers in Round 6.
Going on to play 7 matches this year, Roberts averaged 11 touches and 4 tackles a match which no doubt led the Sydney Swans to select him with Pick 34.
Fellow Great Southern product, Arlo Draper, has swapped the blue for black as Collingwood picked him up with Pick 45.
Joining the pathway from Willunga, the young Panther showed his pace during his league matches this season while also averaging 11 disposals, 5 marks and 3 tackles a game.
Draper now joins two fellow graduates of the Panthers' development pathway, with Nathan Kreuger and Beau McCreery also calling the Magpies home.
From team mates to opponents. The Three Panther Draftees have one last laugh before heading off to Melbourne. Image: SAFC Media.
Going from strength to strength in recent years, the Panthers' pathway is beginning to produce high-class talent – with the 3 drafted this season being the equal highest total in the league.
The Panther faithful will be eagerly waiting to see how well our exciting boys can perform at the top level – but they've already made the club extremely proud.