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“You’re going to force him out”: Eagles great fed up with obsessive Harley Reid coverage


The West Australian newspaper and its coverage of Harley Reid is again in the spotlight after an article from a premiership Eagle was knocked back.

Reid has been a constant on the back page of The West Australian since being taken with the first selection of the 2023 National Draft and travelling across the nullabor to West Coast.

A combination of a brilliant Under 18s year and a lack of hype at West Coast after two dreadful seasons has seen Reid quickly become the club’s most talked about player.

Former Eagle Peter Sumich, who wrote for The West Australian regularly last year, looked to ease the fanfare on Reid in an article earlier this year. However, it was knocked back and Sumich revealed on Tuesday he has since quit the paper.

He believes Reid is being set up to fail by some in Perth.

“The West has been pumping this kid up unbelievably and I actually feel for the kid,” he began on SEN’s The Run Home.

“I thought to myself (before writing the article), ’40 days he’s been there and I reckon 30 days would have been him on the back page’. A ball hasn’t even bounced yet.

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“They were comparing him to Chris Judd and I wrote the story about how he’s no Chris Judd. I was there when Chris Judd got drafted, I was there when he played his first game and first 30 games and I haven’t seen anyone since play like Chris Judd ever at that age.

“I just said in the article… this kid is no Chris Judd. He’s going to be a very good player, don’t get me wrong, he’s going to be very, very good. But don’t put him in the Chris Judd category.

“He’s still got a bit to learn, he’s still got a bit of puppy fat…”

Dual premiership Eagle Drew Banfield told the newspaper earlier this year that Reid can follow a path similar to the one tread by Judd in the early 2000s.

Judd was drafted in 2001 and by 2004, found himself a Brownlow Medalist in one of the quickest rises the league has ever seen.

Reid, viewed as a generational talent who was a clear top selection in last year’s draft, batted away several reports in 2023 that he did not want to play for the Eagles.

A relaxed 18-year-old, Reid had under 10 touches in a match simulation loss to Fremantle on the weekend and battled significant cramps late in the game.

Sumich has concerns on how Reid will be developed by the Eagles.

“I just think the kid needs more time. He might be one of those kids that at the age of 20 or 21 you might see him blossom,” the dual premiership player and Eagles great continued.

“The other thing is, West Coast aren’t going too well, I don’t know about their development program so that’s the other thing you have to take into account.

“West Coast are unfortunately on the bottom and I can’t see them moving too far this year. The kid is going to be stunted a bit.

“If he was at a club (that was higher), his development would be better, there’s no doubt about that.

“West Coast are in that development phase and unless you’re an exceptional player, you’re going to get lost a little bit. That’s where I see it at the moment.

“He’s going to be a great player, but don’t pump him up where you’re going to really force the kid out of WA… that’s what I’m afraid of, you’re going to force him out of WA because there’s too much pressure on him already.

“He’s on the back page again today… he had five or six touches on the weekend and got found out a little bit and he’s on the back page again with a crown on his head!”

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