The much-hyped Reid, the universal selection as the premier talent in the draft pool, was presented with his guernsey on stage as part of the Fox Sports coverage by champion Eagles ruckman Nic Naitanui.

The draft served as both a formal arrival of Reid after months of speculation as well as the official handover of the coveted #9 guernsey that was vacated when an Achilles injury this year curtailed Naitanui’s career on 213 games.


Reid, from the country Victorian hamlet of Tongala, is just the third No1 draft selection in Eagles history after Drew Banfield in 1992 and Michael Gardiner in 1996.

Midfield powerhouse Reid enjoyed a dominant season in the under-18s competition as well as the National Championships and was generally expected to be secured with the first pick.

While the club fielded a variety of offers seeking to trade the selection the Eagles resisted those overtures to lock in the 187cm dynamo.

“We identified Harley as player we were keen to bring into club before we were locked into the No.1 draft position,” said Eagles list manager Rohan O’Brien. “We believe Harley will be central to the club’s build and look forward to seeing him play alongside some of the other players already on our list.

“We have had a strong focus on bringing the best young talent available into our club and drafting Harley definitely fits the strategy.”

Eagles recruiting staff attempted to work their way back into the top end of the first round but could not close out any deals.