Harley Reid kicks the ball during West Coast's clash against Port Adelaide in round one, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

WEST Coast's coveted top draftee Harley Reid has found his happy place, coach Adam Simpson says.

"A lot of attention on Harley throughout pre-season," Simpson said after the 18-year-old's AFL debut on Sunday.

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"He's probably used to it. But I think he's at home when he's on the ground and playing footy."

Reid's first premiership match for the Eagles ended in a 50-point away loss to Port Adelaide.

But the No.1 pick showed signs of justifying his status as among the most highly rated draftees in recent history.

Reid only had six kicks, 10 handballs, five clearances and four inside 50s – but he looked at home.


"I'm just glad he got through," Simpson said.

"He started onball and just rested forward for five or six minutes each quarter. We'll keep exploring that."


Simpson said the deployment of the Victorian-born Reid was a deliberate tactic to avoid information overload.

"We just don't want to get too much information for Harley," he said.

"Going to the backline meetings, the centre bounce meeting, the midfield meeting – you don't want to cook him out.

"It's easy just to go play out of the goalsquare for five minutes."


Simpson was satisfied with Reid's performance but warned against expecting too much in his debut season.

"He's a good kid, he's pretty resilient and I thought he was pretty good today," he said.

"They (AFL debutants) are all not the finished product as well so as long as we just temper our expectations and know if they contribute and do enough to hold their spot, then we're pretty happy.

"It looks like he picked up the pace of the game pretty well. He's physically fine so he'll just pick up his endurance as he goes."


Port stars Connor Rozee and Zak Butters started their leadership reign with aplomb in the win.

Rozee gathered 27 disposals and two goals while Butters, who also collected 27 touches and a goal, was typically creative.

"Zak and Connor both delivered ... 14 score involvements for Connor, 12 for Zak," Port coach Ken Hinkley said.


"I thought they went in arm in arm as they've done their entire time at Port Adelaide.

"They have got a long, long way to go on their journey.

"But ultimately, as young leaders, they displayed football form first, and then leadership comes along with it, so good on them both."