Harley Reid celebrates a goal during the round five match between West Coast and Richmond at Optus Stadium, April 14, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

STAR draftee Harley Reid and gun veteran Elliot Yeo have inspired struggling West Coast to its first win of the season, downing Richmond by 39 points.

Yeo (27 disposals, two goals) was back to his All-Australian best and Jake Waterman kicked a career-high six majors as the hosts delivered their strongest first half since 2021 on the way to a 16.13 (109) to 10.10 (70) victory at Optus Stadium.

The Eagles looked potentially in for another grim afternoon when they conceded the first four goals, but they dominated thereafter to claim just their sixth win in 54 games.


No.1 draft pick Reid gathered 27 disposals - including 13 touches and four clearances in the third term alone - and had the 47,665-strong crowd swooning with repeated bursts out of traffic and a superb roving goal.


The powerful 18-year-old is shaping as a generational talent and will give the Eagles faithful hope of fast-tracking what has been a painful rebuild.

"Harley had a good day. Hopefully he gets that Rising Star nomination," Eagles coach Adam Simpson said.


"He's a great kid. He works really hard and he wants to get better. Dealing with the (media) attention is just something we're trying to help him with at the moment."

Fellow youngsters Reuben Ginbey and Campbell Chesser also impressed, while Waterman was immense up forward with eight contested marks.


Already without Tim Taranto, Jacob Hopper, Dion Prestia, Noah Balta, Dylan Grimes and Tom Lynch, the Tigers suffered another injury blow when Jayden Short was substituted in the second quarter with a calf concern.

Adem Yze's side had started brightly with hometown star Shai Bolton capitalising on excellent team pressure and spread to snare two first-quarter majors.


But Yeo and Tim Kelly (29 disposals) lifted their intensity in the middle and the Eagles began to dominate the stoppages.

The hosts led by 19 points at the main break and their score of 11.2 (68) was their best for an opening half since round 7, 2021.

Bolton and Liam Baker (25 disposals) fought hard for the Tigers, but veteran Dustin Martin had little influence playing mostly forward.


A possible match-up between Martin and the similarly bullocking Reid had been hotly anticipated and the young gun gave the Tigers great a taste of his own signature fend-off when the pair crossed paths in the third term.

The Eagles won the contested possession count 144 to 106 and almost doubled Richmond's clearance numbers.

"We feel like that might happen when we've got a young group and young midfield group, so we're trying to limit that," Yze said.

Tyler Sonsie is tackled by Tom Cole during the round five match between West Coast and Richmond at Optus Stadium, April 14, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

"But right now, we're going through a little bit."

West Coast's victory leaves North Melbourne and Hawthorn as the only winless teams after round five.


Youngster Luke Edwards will miss Saturday's Western Derby against Fremantle under concussion protocols, but the Eagles should welcome back premiership players Dom Sheed and Liam Ryan in coming weeks.

Richmond will limp into a round six bye before the Anzac Eve match against Melbourne.


Tiger gets serious hang time
There's been a bit of talk about Nick Vlastuin's marking prowess this season, but it's all been of the intercept variety, not the spectacular. However, the triple-premiership defender changed the perception somewhat on Sunday, taking a massive hanger in the first quarter as everything was going right for the Tigers. Unfortunately for Richmond the day turned sour from that point on, proving you shouldn't mess with known realities.


Don't argue, Reid won the day
A match between two of the League's struggling sides always needed a a little something to make it more interesting, and so it was that eyes settled on the Dustin Martin and Harley Reid game-within-a-game as the master of 'don't argues' faced his young challenger for the first time. While the two didn't line up directly on each other, Reid clearly took the points on the day, especially through a dominant, 13-disposal third quarter when the Eagles put the result beyond doubt. And he threw in a couple of fend offs for good measure.

Harley Reid fends off Ben Miller during the round five match between West Coast and Richmond at Optus Stadium, April 14, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

Get on board the W-Train
He may never be the most glamorous footballer, but Jake Waterman has shown he can be a very real threat in the West Coast attack. The 25-year-old showed on Sunday that it's not just his haircut that brings former Eagles (and St Kilda) full-forward Fraser Gehrig to mind, as he burst through packs and made searing leads with steam coming from both nostrils. Early in his career he was fighting for a spot with Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling, and after Kennedy's retirement Waterman was used around the ground to plug injury-caused holes, but if he can get a regular spot in front of the big sticks the headaches he causes won't only be to the hairdressers of the world.



WEST COAST   3.1   11.2   15.8    16.13 (109)
RICHMOND     4.3    7.7     8.8      10.10 (70)

West Coast: Waterman 6, Yeo 2, Petruccelle 2, Cripps 2, J.Williams, Reid, Darling, Chesser
Richmond: Bolton 3, Lefau 3, Sonsie, M.Rioli, Martin, Baker

West Coast: Yeo, Waterman, Kelly, Reid, Duggan, Petruccelle
Richmond: Bolton, Baker, Lefau, Miller, Vlastuin

West Coast: Edwards (concussion)
Richmond: Short (calf)

West Coast:
Callum Jamieson (hamstring) replaced by Alex Witherden

West Coast:
Ryan Maric, replaced Luke Edwards in the second quarter
Tyler Sonsie, replaced Jayden Short in the second quarter

Crowd: 47,665 at Optus Stadium