Bombers coach Scott marvels at ‘special’ Harley Reid

Justin Chadwick |

Harley Reid’s fend-offs have become part of his highlights package across his first six games.
Harley Reid’s fend-offs have become part of his highlights package across his first six games.

Essendon coach Brad Scott has described Harley Reid as a special talent, saying the 19-year-old is every bit as good as everyone says he is.

Reid was the most hyped No.1 draft pick ever when he was snared by West Coast last November.

Comparisons to Richmond star Dustin Martin have been on the mark, with Reid’s fend-offs becoming part of his highlights package across his first six games.

Reid racked up 27 disposals, seven clearances and a goal against Richmond three weeks ago, and backed it up with 19 disposals, three goals and seven clearances in a match-winning derby display against Fremantle. 

The emerging star was rested for last week’s 37-point loss to Gold Coast, but will be back for Saturday night’s home clash with Essendon.

“He’s as good as everyone says he is,” Scott said on Wednesday. 

“There’s no surprises to us. We had him training with us for a couple of weeks (last year), we had him play in our VFL team.

“We’re not surprised at all by the footy he’s playing. He’s a special talent, really impressive young man. 

“But it’s not just Harley. West Coast have good availability now, they’ve got a strong line-up.”

The way Reid has combined with Elliot Yeo in West Coast’s midfield has been a big reason behind the club’s resurgence this year.

It means West Coast are no longer easy-beats, and Scott is well aware of the challenge that awaits his side.

Essendon sit seventh on the ladder after opening their season with four wins and two losses, along with last week’s thrilling draw with Collingwood.

The Bombers loaded up on talls against the Magpies, employing ruckmen Todd Goldstein (201cm) and Sam Draper (205cm) alongside bigs such as Nik Cox (200cm), Ben McKay (202cm), Peter Wright (203cm) and Harry Jones (196cm).

Forwards Kyle Langford (192cm) and Jake Stringer (192cm) were also part of the side. 

“Horses for courses,” Scott said about how many bigs he will play week to week. 

“We’ll look at who we’re playing, the particular roles.

“But rather than just looking at height, we think we’ve got flexibility within that height.

“We’ll work through that on a week-to-week basis. Whether we go with the same structure this week, we’re not sure yet.

“I think there’s positive pressure for spots. 

“We’re all about actions, and if everyone keeps delivering and if we’ve got all our talls playing well, we’ll play them all.”

Essendon midfielder Archie Perkins is a chance to return from a hamstring injury he suffered in Gather Round. 

West Coast will welcome back Tom Barrass from suspension and forward Noah Long from a hip injury.