West Coast teenager Harley Reid gets Rising Star nomination for star showing in victory over Richmond

Headshot of Mitchell Woodcock
Mitchell WoodcockThe West Australian
VideoHarley Reid snaps truly to convert his first Optus Stadium goal.

It was inevitable, but West Coast No.1 draft pick Harley Reid has earned a Rising Star nomination for his incredible performance against Richmond on Sunday.

The teenage sensation produced the best game of his short but already exciting five-game career to become the fourth nominee from the Eagles in the past 29 games.

Reid starred in his first win wearing the blue and gold, recording 27 disposals, 12 contested possessions, seven clearances, eight score involvements, 531m gained and a goal against the Tigers.

That included 13 touches and five clearances in the third term as he stamped his authority on the game.

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After the Eagles conceded the first four goals of the game, Reid set up Jack Darling for the Eagles’ first goal with an excellent clearance before kicking his side’s second.

“We were a bit frustrated with the start we had and personally I was a bit frustrated too. I hadn’t got my hands on it for the first 15 but we knew that wasn’t the footy we wanted to play and the footy we’ve been playing. We knew it was going to turn if we kept playing to how we wanted to,” Reid told AFL.com.au.

Harley Reid.
Camera IconHarley Reid. Credit: Daniel Carson/AFL Photos/AFL Photos via Getty Images

“Through the game I was enjoying myself out there. I think you find another part of fun when you’re winning so I just tried to keep smiling and kept getting around the boys. There was a lot of individual brilliance from a lot of players on the team so that was so good to see.

“I still think there’s so much more I can show. The last two weeks I’ve been able to get out there and express myself a lot more and I’m starting to get that confidence in my game.”

One of the highlights included a big don’t argue on the man who made it his trademark - three-time Norm Smith medallist Dustin Martin.

“He tripped over and I was falling over as well. I realised as soon as I put my hand out I saw it was him and I was like ‘Woah, I better get back the other way’,” Reid said.

“For me (playing against Martin) was obviously pretty cool, I’ve got so much respect for Dusty.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 14: Harley Reid of the Eagles celebrates the win with the fans during the 2024 AFL Round 05 match between the West Coast Eagles and the Richmond Tigers at Optus Stadium on April 14, 2024 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
Camera IconHarley Reid. Credit: Daniel Carson/AFL Photos/AFL Photos via Getty Images

“I was a bit flat at the end, I didn’t end up getting to shake his hand because I had the Fox Footy stuff to do but it was pretty cool to run around and see him and running alongside him. Like I said, it’s pretty cool when your idols become your rivals.

“I got to the bench and I saw ‘Duggo’ (Eagles co-captain Liam Duggan) and he smiled at me and I smiled back and said ‘I did it’. But it was funny. I wouldn’t count it as a fend off.”

The Tongala product is already beloved by the Eagles fans and is soaking up the atmosphere from his first two games at Optus Stadium.

“If I can keep getting more kicks I’ll be happy because I just love hearing that roar,” Reid said.

“It was an unbelievable moment to kick a goal in front of the home fans because obviously the support we have here is huge and they have been with us through thick and thin.

“I’ve only played five games, but I think they’re the reason we turned it around on the weekend to do it for them in front of our home crowd, so it was pretty exciting.”

It has only increased his favouritism for the overall award, with Reid paying a short $2 to claim the prestigious Ron Evans Medal.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 14: Harley Reid of the Eagles in action during the round five AFL match between West Coast Eagles and Richmond Tigers at Optus Stadium, on April 14, 2024, in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
Camera IconHarley Reid. Credit: Paul Kane/Getty Images

North Melbourne midfielder George Wardlaw is the next best at $5.50, while Western Bulldogs midfielder Ryley Sanders is at $6.

Sanders’ teammate Sam Darcy, who controversially got the nomination in Gather Round despite Reid’s strong showing against Sydney, is at $10.

If Reid does win the Rising Star he will be only the second Eagle to do so, following in the footsteps of fellow No.9 Ben Cousins - who took home the award in 1996.

Reid would also be the first No.1 draftee receive the honour since Carlton star Sam Walsh in 2019 and the fifth overall in the award’s 31-year history.

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