He’s never played an AFL game. So why is Harley Reid talk of the town?
With the AFL regular season nearing a conclusion and the bottom part of the ladder solidifying, chatter around who could potentially land the first overall pick in the 2023 Draft has picked up.
After several battles between the league’s bottom teams, North Melbourne has now moved ‘ahead’ of West Coast as the leading contender to ‘win’ the coveted golden ticket in the ‘Need for Reid’.
Harley Reid is projected to be that No.1 pick — he set the Under 18s Championships alight playing for the Bendigo Pioneers.
At 18 years of age, the country boy from Tongala in Victoria is making a name for himself in the AFL community, despite having never stepped onto the professional stage.
Already in his young career, he has started to build an impressive resume; feats such as being selected in the All-Australian team and Vic Country. Going pick one would supersede all that, of course.
The buzz and excitement surrounding Harley Reid coming to the competition has recently gone up another gear too, with reports swirling he’d prefer to remain in Victoria and not end up on the Eagles’ list in Western Australia.
So it’s time to answer a few of the questions fans might have about who this talented emerging star is.
Who is Harley Reid?
Harley Reid is expected to go with the first overall pick in the AFL draft later this year and that has been the storyline for seasons now.
His ability to play all over the park, but especially down back and in the midfield in the national carnival saw him earn an All-Australian selection playing for Vic Country.
Reid’s been playing for the Bendigo Pioneers in the Under 18s Championships this year and has been a match-winner as a defender multiple times already.
His hype has been compared to some young AFL stars that are starting to establish themselves in the league such as Collingwood’s Nick Daicos and Brisbane’s Cam Rayner.
“It doesn’t feel real. When (the draft) happens I’ll probably feel more of the reality. I look back a couple years and you see all the hype around Daicos and now you realise it’s you but you still don’t feel like it’s you,” Reid said on AFL.com.au’s show Gettable.
Why is Harley Reid’s name coming up in AFL conversations already?
Put simply, there’s just no one like him in the 2023 projected draft class. Many have been questioning the depth of next year’s newcomers, but there’s no looking past Harley Reid.
At the national carnival last year, Reid was turning heads, earning an All-Australian spot. He’s since continued to stand out in the boys’ Coates Talent League, averaging over 22 disposals, five clearances and seven score involvements.
He claimed a best on ground performance for the AFL Academy against Port Adelaide’s SANFL side and was reportedly on track to repeat the honours up against Carlton’s VFL team before leaving the match with a concussion.
The youngster was also able to train with Essendon in the pre-season and was thrown into the midfield in match simulation against the likes of Zach Merritt. Even there, he stood out.
Standing at 185cm and 85kg, Reid has some deadly qualities; a powerful fend, acceleration and raw aggression. When all three are combined he’s almost unstoppable.
The likely career arc for Reid is developing as a player off halfback, before transitioning into more of a full-blown on-baller two-to-three years in.
The ‘Harley Reid Series’ games:
The ‘Harley Reid Series’, otherwise known as the teams with ‘The Need For Reid’ were the 2023 matches between a select group of struggling AFL sides – Hawthorn, West Coast and North Melbourne – who desperately need someone of his skillset to get the respective club back up where they believe they belong in future years.
The ‘tri-series’ has actually taken some twists and turns through the season and now it looks as though the Kangaroos have, in fact, managed to ‘out-bad’ the Eagles — West Coast stunned the AFL world in Round 23, beating the Bulldogs and rising one spot up the AFL ladder. North Melbourne have landed on the bottom, into ‘Pick 1 positioning’.
Rd 1 | North Melbourne 87 d West Coast 82
Rd 3 | Hawthorn 80 d North Melbourne 61
Rd 10 | Hawthorn 142 d West Coast 26
Rd 18 | Hawthorn 88 d North Melbourne 40
Rd 20 | West Coast 72 d North Melbourne 67
Ladder (with one round remaining):
16th | Hawthorn | 28 points | 7 wins, 15 losses (81.2%)
17th | West Coast | 12 points | 3 wins, 19 losses (52.5%)
18th | North Melbourne | 8 points | 2 wins, 20 losses (68.7%)
When is the 2023 AFL Draft?
The date for the first round of the national Draft – when Harley Reid will officially join an AFL list – is November 20. We’ve got a more thorough rundown of the important dates here.
The next action in the AFL Draft space is the Trade Period, where it’s possible clubs hand over the assets required to move into Reid territory. The Kangaroos would have to be at lengthy odds to hand over top spot (assuming they land there after Round 24), but if someone’s willing to come knocking with a king’s ransom, they should probably have a long, hard think about it.