The West Coast Eagles have taken Harley Reid with the number one pick in the AFL draft on a long opening night of high drama.
There had been speculation the wooden spooners would trade out of the top spot to get more picks as they continue their rebuild, but the brains trust in Perth decided to stick firm and take Reid with their first number one pick in 27 years.
- Follow the second night of the AFL draft with ABC Sport’s live blog on Tuesday.
The versatile 18-year-old projects as a key piece of West Coast’s midfield moving forward and was joined on stage after AFL boss Andrew Dillon announced the selection by retired Eagles ruck Nic Naitanui.
Naitanui passed on his number nine guernsey, which was also worn by Ben Cousins when he won the 2005 Brownlow Medal and 2006 premiership with the club.
Despite being the consensus top pick and saying he was “pretty laidback” about all the hype around him, Reid admitted to having some butterflies before his name was read out.
“It’s a big relief,” he told Fox Footy.
North Melbourne picked Tasmanian Colby McKercher second, with Gold Coast matching a bid for fellow Allies player Jed Walter at pick number three.
The Kangaroos picked up Zane Duursma, brother of Port Adelaide’s Xavier, with their second pick, and Hawthorn nabbed small forward Nick Watson to round out the top five.
The Adelaide Crows were successful in orchestrating a trade with GWS to snatch pick eight and recruit West Australian defender Daniel Curtin, while the first big shock of the draft came at pick number 12 when the Giants took Allies small forward Phoenix Gothard.
Look back at how the night unfolded — and get the lowdown on every first-round pick — in our live blog.
That’s it for night one of the AFL draft
A big night indeed! Harley Reid is West Coast’s new number nine, North Melbourne have added five new young guns to their list, Adelaide have pulled off a late swoop for a West Aussie and a whole raft of young footballers have launched their AFL careers.
But we’re only about halfway through this draft. I will be back tomorrow afternoon to get stuck into the rest of it, and I really hope to see you all then. Until then, goodnight.
Every first round pick
Who will clubs be circling tomorrow night?
The draft continues tomorrow night with the remaining rounds. We’ll probably only see another 30-odd players picked in the second round and beyond.
Among them will be players like Ollie Murphy, Archie Roberts, Arie Schoenmaker, Angus Hastie, Logan Morris and Zane Zakostelsky, who all would have had hopes of being picked tonight.
The Eagles have the first selection tomorrow night, and may well be fielding yet more offers for that pick overnight.
Who is happiest right now?
Well, everyone will say they are chuffed. But some more than others:
- West Coast: They got Harley Reid. That’s a massive win. Some later moves didn’t work out, and a couple of players they probably hoped would slide haven’t, but they will get Harley on that plane and start celebrating.
- North Melbourne: McKercher, Duursma, Goad, Dawson and Hardeman is a terrific return on their five first rounders.
- Adelaide: The Dan Curtin play worked, and they will be delighted. Charlie Edwards and Oscar Ryan round off a good night.
- Gold Coast: They knew what they were leaving with, but it’s still ridiculous. Walter, Read, Rogers and Graham. Locked and loaded.
- Melbourne, Essendon, GWS and Hawthorn all left with pretty much the exact players they had hoped for.
The first round has been completed
A marathon! Feels like Harley Reid has been a West Coast player for years now.
Some shocks, some surprises, some drama. But 29 very happy young men, whose AFL careers are just beginning.
Pick 29: Carlton have selected Ashton Moir
SA/Glenelg – FWD
Snapshot: A crafty mid-sized forward who has fallen down draft rankings this year, but still boasts the raw potential to have a strong AFL career. Kicks well on both feet, but struggled to impose himself physically in his under-18 year.
A bit like Collard, this is absolutely a punt worth taking.
Twelve months ago, Moir was considered a genuine top five prospect. His 2023 didn’t go to plan for a number of reasons, but you don’t lose the talent he has overnight.
The Blues will back themselves to get the best out of Ashton Moir.
Carlton are on the clock
Here we go, the last pick of the night. Barring a seriously left-field bid on someone.
Pick 28: St Kilda have selected Lance Collard
WA/Subiaco – FWD
Snapshot: Full of tricks and plenty of speed, Collard has the potential to light games up in a forward line. Still undersized and will take some time to become AFL-ready.
I had wondered who would take a crack at Collard, and it’s the Saints who have backed themselves to grab one of the draft’s big excitement machines.
He could be anything. He’ll take time to develop, grow and mature but players of his natural talent don’t grow on trees.
St Kilda are on the clock
Just the Saints and Blues left to pick tonight.
Just quietly, this is way too many picks for the first round. The academy and father-son situation is juuuust starting to get a bit out of hand for the AFL I think.
Pick 27: Adelaide have selected Oscar Ryan
DEF – Vic Country/Murray Bushrangers
Snapshot: Rebounding defender who has genuine pace to burn.
There’s a real shock! It looked like Ryan was at the draft event thinking he was only going to be cheering on his mates, only for the Crows to pluck him out and chuck him on stage.
Curtin-Edwards-Ryan is the trio for the Crows tonight.
Pick 26: Gold Coast have matched a bid for Will Graham
DEF/MID – GC Suns academy
Snapshot: A strong and dashing defender with good skills. Has a solid frame and looks like being able to step up to AFL football in quick time.
The Suns have coughed up picks 47 and 51 to match the bid.
Some thought a bid might come even earlier than this for Graham, who rounds out the Suns’ haul in style.
He’s a really good size and has some zip about him too. Looks like he could play AFL footy pretty early in 2024.
Adelaide have bid on Will Graham
And the Suns will complete their first round haul by matching that bid.
Adelaide are on the clock
The Crows are lining up their third pick of an already profitable night. Plenty of decent options still on the board.
Three picks left tonight, probably four with a likely bid for Will Graham.
Pick 25: Collingwood have selected Harry DeMattia
Vic Country/Dandenong Stingrays – MID
Snapshot: A quick and hard-running midfielder who can also operate off half-back.
A great fit for the Pies. You can already see those long locks streaming down an MCG wing as another Magpies attacking chain forms.
Pick 24: Sydney have matched a bid for Caiden Cleary
Allies/Sydney Swans – MID – Swans academy
Snapshot: A hard-nosed, in-and-under midfielder prepare to do the dirty work for his teammates. Finds plenty of the ball and is a strong tackler. Not the fanciest, but a very effective footballer.
The Swans have coughed up picks 43 and 47 to match the bid.
Cleary is another that I have rated more highly than the consensus. I think he will be a 200+ game player for Sydney.
He’s the engine of a midfield. The bloke who will do the dirty work to make his more flashy teammates shine. That’s what he did for the Allies in the Championships win, and that’s what he’ll do for the Swans.
Collingwood have bid on Caiden Cleary
The Pies have had a crack at a Swans academy player. But Sydney will most likely match quickly.
Collingwood are on the clock
The reigning premiers are ready to get involved for the first time tonight. Lance Collard? Harry DeMattia? Logan Morris?
Pick 23: North Melbourne have selected Riley Hardeman
WA/Swan Districts – DEF
Snapshot: A hard-running half-back flanker who is a willing defensive worker too. Has good pace and a penetrating left foot.
A slick back flanker rounds off North’s first-round action.
Hardeman is a real leader too, a good character to bring in to join North’s growing young brigade.
So those five North Melbourne picks have become Colby McKercher, Zane Duursma, Taylor Goad, Wil Dawson and Riley Hardeman. A good night’s work indeed.
Pick 22: North Melbourne have selected Wil Dawson
Vic Country/Gippsland Power – DEF/FWD/RUC
Snapshot: Found a home as a key defender through the year and is a strong intercept player. At 200cm tall and the youngest player likely to be drafted, there is plenty to work with.
Absolutely love this pick for the Kangaroos.
Dawson is a 200cm defender who made the switch to the backline through the season and looked a complete natural. He’s a fantastic intercepter and moves well for his size.
Plus he’s only eligible for this draft by a few days, almost a full year younger than some who have been drafted already. There is so much scope for further development in Dawson.
North Melbourne are on the clock
They Kangaroos got the next two picks. Very interested to see what they do with them.