Tuesday, June 18, 2024

‘Totally unnecessary’: AFL storm erupts over ’embarrassing’ Harley Reid act

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Harley Reid has found out a brutal lesson that the bigger the hype around a player, the more hate they tend to attract from opposition fans. The rookie West Coast Eagles sensation has lit up the AFL with some scintillating displays in 2024 but was mercilessly booed by Adelaide fans on Sunday, during his side’s 21.11 (137) to 5.8 (38) humbling by the rampant Crows.

In scenes described as “pathetic” and “embarrassing” by many AFL fans on social media, the boos rang out around Adelaide Oval pretty much anytime Reid touched the ball. It was reminiscent of the treatment fellow No.1 draft pick Jason Horne-Francis used to cop as a young player, having requested a trade back home to Adelaide to play for the Power after starting his career at North Melbourne.

Pictured here, West Coast AFL star Harley Reid.

West Coast’s Harley Reid was booed constantly by opposition fans during the Eagles’ sobering defeat to Adelaide in the AFL. Pic: AAP

Horne-Francis started being booed at just about every away game he played in and on Sunday at the Adelaide Oval Reid copped the same unsavoury treatment from Crows fans, despite having limited impact on the contest and his side being thoroughly outplayed. Reid’s phenomenal display in the Eagles’ stunning upset against Melbourne has sent the AFL world into meltdown, with West Coast coach Adam Simpson admitting he would need to try and keep a lid on the hype around his 19-year-old superstar.

But Reid and the Eagles came crashing back down to earth on Sunday after that stunning upset of the Demons, Adelaide’s Jordan Dawson spearheaded a 99-point demolition job with an epic 32-disposal display. In contrast, Reid was fairly subdued throughout the match, with just five disposals in the opening half and 14, plus a goal, for the entire match. But it was the booing of the teen sensation that left many viewers seething.

While the treatment of Reid by opposition fans could be an issue for Simpson to deal with down the track, his immediate focus will be determining how and why the Eagles crashed to their heaviest defeat of the season. “The way we started was indicative of the game,” Simpson said after Adelaide booted seven goals to none in the first quarter.

“We just looked lethargic when we started the game and there’s no excuse for that, so we have got to own it.” The Eagles’ hapless display followed three wins in their past six outings, including that epic 35-point home triumph over heavyweights Melbourne.

Seen here, West Coast AFL coach Adam Simpson.Seen here, West Coast AFL coach Adam Simpson.

Adam Simpson was at a loss to explain his West Coast side’s huge defeat to Adelaide in the AFL on Sunday. Pic: Getty

“I don’t think anything can be an excuse for what we did today,” Simpson added. “You have got to be honest, pragmatic, a sense of understanding that some days you’re not going to have great days. But I thought we were sort of past these type of losses.”

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Adelaide’s first quarter onslaught included two goals from Dawson, who set up another, gathered 12 disposals and had five inside-50s in the quarter. “Daws’ first quarter led the way and it seemed like the guys just got on board and momentum was then with us,” Crows coach Matthew Nicks said. He leads by example on the field, I think that’s what everyone can see.

“He has got the other part too … there’s a reason we picked him as our captain, it wasn’t just because of what he was doing on-field. He’s as good as any.” Dawson’s brilliance set a dominant tone for the Crows, who now hold 12th spot with four wins, a draw and six losses. West Coast are languishing in 16th spot after their fourth loss in five games.

with AAP

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