By Aaron Cordy
THE anticlimactic unfolding of Monday night’s opening round of the AFL National Draft still turned out to be a dream come true for Tongala local Harley Reid as he was selected with the first pick.
When North Melbourne won their last game for the season many claimed they had blown their shot at recruiting generational prospect Harley Reid, who had long been tipped to go with the first selection of the 2023 AFL National Draft. The pick suddenly belonged to West Coast coming off another dismal season. All the AFL experts chimed in with their opinions with most claiming Harley would be on the first flight back to Victoria once his two-year contract ended.
Speculation carried for months on whether West Coast would trade pick one to another club, and the offers rolled in. There was also talk that West Coast would keep pick one and not select who every expert agreed is the standout talent of the draft. West Coast not only kept pick one but used it on the obvious best talent in Harley Reid.
“I’ve never ever even said to anyone that I’ve never wanted to go at all. I’ve spoken to family over the last couple of weeks, I’ve actually had the conversation, and like mate, I’m open [to going to West Coast]. If they take me at one I’ll go in a heartbeat,” Harley told Riley Beveridge and Callum Twomey on AFL Trade Radios Gettable earlier this year on the prospect of going to West Coast.
In other draft news, Murray Bushranger and Shepparton United’s Oscar Ryan was picked up by the Adelaide Crows with pick 27. The medium-sized Defender was a bolter on the night who only attended the draft to support friends.
“I didn’t make Vic Country last year, so worked my ass off. It’s finally worked out, I’m just so grateful,” Oscar said.
Three other Bushrangers were selected Connor O’Sullivan 11, Phoenix Gothard 12 and Darcy Wilson 18.