Harley Reid in action during West Coast's intraclub at Mineral Resources Park on February 17, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

WEST Coast defender Tom Cole has sung the praises of Harley Reid, saying the No.1 draft pick is already so strong he can basically shrug off anyone's tackle.

Reid is set to be the star attraction in Saturday's practice match against Fremantle at Mineral Resources Park.

The 18-year-old has already wowed teammates with his work on the track, especially his fend-offs that have led to comparisons to Richmond great Dustin Martin.

"He's very strong around the contest. For an 18-year-old kid, you don't see it often," Cole told reporters on Wednesday.

"It usually takes a few years to build up (that) strength in the weights room, and he's got that power that not many others have.

"He's been able to shrug off just about anyone on our list at the moment.

"He's good in traffic. Good around the contest. When he gets the ball he doesn't rush himself.

"He knows he's got the strength and power to get out of tackles, so he can see other things around him."

Harley Reid in action during West Coast's intraclub match at Mineral Resources Park on February 17, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Reid is being tipped to play across half-back and in the midfield this season.

The Victorian represents 'generation next' at West Coast, alongside the likes of Reuben Ginbey, Noah Long, Brady Hough, Elijah Hewett, Archer Reid and Clay Hall, among others. 

Hall will miss the next three to four weeks due to an ankle complaint and West Coast has a host of other injury concerns.

Liam Ryan (hamstring surgery) will miss the start of the season, while Elijah Hewett (foot) and Dom Sheed (foot) are facing a race against the clock to be fit for round one.

Reuben Ginbey, Harley Reid and Elijah Hewett ahead of the 2024 season. Picture: AFL Photos

Tall defender Harry Edwards will undergo surgery after breaking his finger at last week's intraclub and fellow backman Rhett Bazzo is being deloaded to deal with a groin issue.

Jack Darling (hamstring) will miss the match against Fremantle but is on track to return against Adelaide next week, while Jeremy McGovern (soreness) is no certainty to face the Dockers.

Cole will again fill an important role in defence this season, and he noted how different things have been without retired veteran Shannon Hurn.

"It's a bit quieter. He was a grumpy man on the field sometimes," Cole said with a laugh.

"It's a bit different but we were ready for it, and guys have stepped up.

"Brady Hough is kind of playing that role that 'Bunga' played last year, so it's exciting to see."

Brady Hough and Ryan Maric contest for a mark during West Coast's intraclub at Mineral Resources Park on February 17, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

West Coast has unveiled joint captains this year - Oscar Allen and Liam Duggan, but Cole says the power definitely hasn't gone to Duggan's head.

"He's too nice of a guy. He's one of the nicest people to grace the Earth," Cole said.

"It's still the same old 'Duggo'."