Harley revs up for 2023 draft

Stepping up: Harley Reid has been among Vic Country’s best in the opening two rounds of the NAB AFL Under-18 National Championships. Photo: Martin Keep/AFL Photos). Photo by AFL Photos

Tongala football prodigy Harley Reid has set tongues wagging with another polished display for Victoria Country at the NAB AFL Under-18 National Championships.

Reid, who has just turned 17 and will not be eligible for the AFL Draft until 2023, took a game saving mark in Vic Country’s opening round win against South Australia.

He was again in the spotlight with a 23 possession game at half-back as Vic Country was a 33-point round two winner against the Allies at The Gabba on Sunday.

Reid was one of three Goulburn Valley players in the team, with Kyabram’s Charlie Barnett and Echuca’s Noah Long also part of the opening two rounds of the national championships.

Barnett played at half-forward and kicked a goal, as did Long.

The extraordinary rise to prominence of Reid, a St Joseph’s College student, came in 2019 when he made headlines with a 40 game-155 goal season while playing with both Tongala’s under-14 and under-17 teams.

He kicked 130 goals from 21 matches in the Under-14 Murray Football League competition, and after having 2020 wiped out due to COVID-19, made his debut with Tongala’s senior team last year.

Reid played in the under-16 championships with Vic Country last year and had made one appearance with Tongala in the Murray league this season — while also playing seven matches with Bendigo Pioneers, where he has been among the team’s best performers.

Bendigo Pioneers will be buoyed by the return of Reid, Barnett and Long for its match with fourth ranked Geelong Falcons at Avalon Airport Oval on Sunday.

Vic Country and Vic Metro remain the only unbeaten teams in the titles after two rounds, with the third round match for the country team scheduled for GMHBA Stadium on Sunday, July 17.