Simpson says rest was needed for ‘flagging’ Harley Reid

Justin Chadwick |

The metrics showed rising star Harley Reid needed a break, says West Coast coach Adam Simpson.
The metrics showed rising star Harley Reid needed a break, says West Coast coach Adam Simpson.

Harley Reid’s western derby heroics have become all the more incredible after it was revealed he produced the match-winning display while his body was “flagging”.

Reid has made a stunning start to his AFL career will take a well-deserved rest when West Coast face the Suns on the Gold Coast on Sunday.

The No.1 pick from last year’s draft set tongues wagging with three goals, 19 possessions and seven clearances in West Coast’s shock 37-point win over Fremantle last week.

His two-goal burst at the end of the first quarter helped turn the momentum West Coast’s way.

A week earlier, Reid tallied 27 disposals, seven clearances and a goal in a 39-point victory over Richmond.

Remarkably, those two performances came after West Coast’s internal measurements revealed Reid’s body was showing some signs of needing a break.

“I think he was pretty keen to play (against Gold Coast), but he also understood the situation,” West Coast coach Adam Simpson said on Friday.

“He was just flagging a little bit with his body. 

“With the metrics we measure our players on each week it slowly decreased the last couple of weeks.

“We’ve made a decision looking at the bigger picture.

“We’re going to miss him … but doing the right thing by the kid is also our priority.”

Reid has been granted time to visit his family in the Victorian town of Tongala.

West Coast will also be without suspended defender Tom Barrass when they face the Gold Coast, robbing the Eagles of two of their most important players.

But in a major boost, premiership forward Liam Ryan returns for the first time since tearing his hamstring against Fremantle in round three last year.

Ryan replaces injured forward Noah Long (hip), while the Eagles also welcome back defender Harry Edwards and midfielder Luke Edwards.

“I think he’s nervous. It’s been a while,” Simpson said of Ryan.

“We’ll manage him through the game … we’ll look after him with some minutes.”

West Coast challenged Barrass’s one-match ban at the AFL Tribunal for a sling tackle, hoping the defender’s good record would help reduce the suspension to a fine.

But unlike what happened to Brisbane’s Charlie Cameron a week earlier, the AFL Tribunal deemed there were no exceptional and compelling circumstances.

As for the tackle itself, Simpson said his players needed to be careful not to repeat those actions.

“We’ve just got to be careful with those incidents. We can avoid those,” Simpson said.

“It was a 50-50 call I thought in terms of missing a week (through suspension).

“The action itself is pretty clear. We’ve just got to be careful.”

Gold Coast included veteran forward Sam Day and defender Rory Atkins in their 23-man squad in place of Ethan Read (managed) and Bodhi Uwland (dropped).