Midfielder, Forward


Harley Reid

height: 187cm

weight: 85kg

D.O.B: 17-04-2005

Leagues: AFL U18 Championships, Coates Talent League Boys

  • Snapshot
  • Analysis
  • Summary

SNAPSHOT: “This year’s top prospect, Harley Reid is a powerful athlete who dominates at the contest, can play in each third of the ground, and has an extensive highlight reel.”

There have been few more heavily hyped draft prospects than Harley Reid, who was touted as 2023’s hottest prospect a over year out. He put together a sparkling bottom-aged campaign and backed it up this year to become a two-time All Australian and Coates Talent League Team of the Year member.

Coming into the season, the National Academy star was named skipper of the Bendigo Pioneers and co-captain for Vic Country, where he took out Most Valuable Player (MVP) honours despite less than ideal preparation for the National Championships. The list goes on, he’s done it all throughout the junior pathways.

Such was Reid’s dominance at Under 18 level over the last two seasons, recruiters wanted to see him challenged with exposure at senior level. He answered that call by representing Carlton and Essendon in the VFL, as two of the six sides he ran out for across a busy year. He even snuck in a senior game back home in Tongala.

For all the fanfare and achievements, there have been hurdles along Reid’s path. He missed a month of footy through a head knock and was managed in the back-end of the season after jarring his knee, while also having to deal with more attention and expectation than any of his peers – past or present.

Despite the small setbacks, Reid played his footy with a smile and embraced every assignment like the elite player and person he shapes up to be. As has been the case all year, it seems a mere formality that his name is read out first come draft time.



+ Contested game
+ Explosiveness
+ Scoreboard impact
+ Strength
+ Versatility
+ X-Factor


- Endurance
- Defensive running

Where to start with Reid's game? Power and strength form the crux of what the 18-year-old does best, with his contested nous as readymade as any draft prospect this year. He is equal parts explosive and competitive, but levels out the pure brawn with clean fundamental skills and decision making in all phases of play.

Though he is capable of starring in each third of the ground, the main thing holding Reid back from being a more permanent midfielder is his running capacity. Endurance, particularly after his injury setbacks this year, has been an area for improvement, and the man himself says being able to run both ways is something he has sought to develop.

Perhaps the other thing which restricts him from full-time midfield minutes is the aforementioned versatility. He was an All-Australian defender last year, but named at full forward in 2023, and as a rover in the Coates Talent League Team of the Year. No matter where he starts, his magnet can be moved to impact in any role the team requires.

But when Reid is employed at the centre bounces, look out. He proved this year he can already match it with senior bodies, so it's no wonder he made dominating more junior opposition look so easy. Reid ran at a 60 per cent contested rate across all competitions in 2023, also averaging seven clearances at representative level.

While excellent as an on-baller, Reid's bread and butter comes together inside attacking 50. He's so natural around goal and an absolute nightmare to defend one-on-one. He booted 100 goals one season as a 14-year-old, and few could forget his three-goal burst to start Vic Country's national carnival - camped out of the goalsquare.

Whether on the lead, holding his ground, or sitting on someone's head, Read's marking prowess is strong and dynamic. His scoreboard impact is also unquestionable having split the sticks in all six of his Talent League games this year, with a highest haul of four. That's not to mention his average seven score involvements per Talent League game.

Reid has the intangibles, too. He offers enormous X-factor and can win matches off his own boot, proving a big game player time and time again. The Vic Country and Bendigo Pioneers captain also enjoys leadership roles, saying it helps him focus more on others and the task at hand, rather than just his own game.

It's clear he has the character to make it at the top level. Many others would have crumbled under the expectations set of Reid this year, or perhaps gotten ahead of themselves. Not this special talent - a down-to-earth, laid back gem of a draft prospect who has lived up to the hype. He's a household name before even hitting the elite level.



There has been plenty of conjecture throughout the year over what certain teams will do with pick one, and whether Reid would be willing to travel and play out of his home state. While much of it has been nothing more than noise, one thing is clear – he’s the best junior player in the country. It’s no wonder clubs are clamouring for the top pick this year, and a shot at bringing in the latest generational talent. Think Dustin Martin-like potential, that’s where he lies on the scale of talent.

Contested work
Scoreboard impact
Defensive running

AFL U18 Championships

2022Vic Country5130812628506034122412.87.520.
2023Vic Country443478175033100271535411.08.519.

Coates Talent League Boys

2021Bendigo Pioneers36195512002000134857.23.811.
2022Bendigo Pioneers13812326158005000442291211.510.321.
2023Bendigo Pioneers65461112600200024912610.87.718.
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