More pressure on Reid than any no.1 draft pick?

February 16, 2024 BY

Future favourite: The hype train is rolling on 2023 AFL draft number one pick Harley Reid. Photo: JOEL CARRETT/ AAP IMAGE

THE hype on Harley Reid is real, but is it any greater than that on recent number one draft picks?

That’s the question posed by Nathan Buckley on SEN Breakfast, with the former Collingwood coach suggesting the answer is no.

Instead, Buckley believes we’re locked in a recency bias and that the likes of Jason Horne-Francis, Sam Walsh and more in years gone by have all received the same treatment.

The fanfare of Reid is seen through The West Australian, who have already featured the 18-year-old on the back page 15 times in 2024 alone.

Buckley and Breakfast host Kane Cornes – who has previously posed the question of whether Reid is being set up to fail – disagreed.

“I’ve watched the Harley Reid stuff from afar… and West Coast and the West Coast media are going really hard on it,” Buckley said.

“Is it any bigger than other number one draft picks though? I don’t really believe there is any more pressure on this kid than a handful of number one picks.

“It just happens to be the most recent one.

“I think that’s a little bit of the media era. I think it’s a bit of recency bias, because is it any bigger than how we were talking about Jason Horne-Francis two years ago? In my mind no.

“We’re in the guts of it, this is why being a number one pick is really tough.

“You have to be more than just a great footballer to be a success as a number one draft pick, you need to have the where with all and the emotional regulation to be able to handle it.”

The Eagles have already put on the record that Reid is living up to his junior hype during pre-season, while Brad Scott drew comparisons between Reid and Michael Voss last year.

Buckley, who enjoyed a stellar start to his AFL career at Brisbane before moving to Collingwood and becoming an all-time great, knows a thing or two about expectation across the footy landscape.

He said he believes the hype is often not justified at such an early stage of a young player’s career.

“I’ve loved this, not as a 17 or 18-year-old, but as a 20-year-old I’ve lived it, I know what it’s like to be in this position,” Buckley said.

Some characters will just put their head down… and just grind their way through it, others will struggle.

“I think back to Matt Rowell in 2019, there were big raps on him coming in and changing things, his first six games were as good as any.

“We’ve allowed him to find his level and his best football is ahead of him.

“Tom Scully back in 2009, the raps on him were huge. He was going to revolutionise the game with his running.

“He didn’t quite make that level… Tom Boyd was one, he trained with us in the U16s as a young kid going through the AIS, he looked amazing but once again, it’s more than size and strength.

“He has spoken bravely about his challenges and mental state and I’ve got no doubt that part of where he got to was the pressure we’re putting Harley Reid under.

“We do build up young players to a level not all of them can reach.”

Meanwhile, Cornes offered his view.

“I think this is bigger [than recent years]… maybe it is recency bias from me but I don’t think this is anything like the Jason Horne-Francis coverage… it’s no one’s fault because clearly that’s the appetite and that’s what we want to read about,” he said.

“There’s no blame on anyone… but it’s a really tough start for him.”

Reid will spend much of his first year in royal blue and gold playing off half-back, with the Eagles hoping their prized asset will follow the same path trodden by Nick Daicos.