Harley Reid celebrates during the round five match between West Coast and Richmond at Optus Stadium, April 14, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

WEST Coast coach Adam Simpson is loving Harley Reid's swagger, praising the emerging star for being able to walk the walk under an intense spotlight.

Reid became the most hyped No.1 pick in AFL history when he was snared by the Eagles in last year's national draft.

The 19-year-old showed flashes of brilliance across his first four games for West Coast.

But he lifted to another level in last week's 39-point win over Richmond, finishing the match with 27 disposals, seven clearances and a goal.

That performance earned him a Rising Star nomination, and further enhanced his reputation as a superstar in the making.

Reid's ability to fend off opponents and break tackles has already drawn comparisons to Richmond great Dustin Martin.


Two weeks ago, Reid broke through seven tackles against Sydney. 

Reid will again be one of the drawcards in Saturday's Western Derby against Fremantle, where he will confront the likes of Nat Fyfe, Andrew Brayshaw, Caleb Serong and Hayden Young.

"Swagger – if you can back it up, there's nothing wrong with it," Simpson replied when asked about Reid's swagger and confidence.

"I don't think he thinks about that too much, it's just the way he is.

"When guys can back it up, it probably takes you to another level. I don't see him as an extravert, he just plays footy in the right way."


Simpson praised Reid for the way he's handled the intense external expectations.

"The attention – we can't control it. He seems to back it up. But he's going to have down weeks as well," Simpson said.

"He's got confidence, which we all love. There's no scarring with Harley in terms of the past.

"He just wants to play footy to win and play with his mates, and that's a great attitude."

Last week's win against Richmond has buoyed hopes that West Coast's rebuild may not take as long as originally feared.


But Simpson isn't getting carried away, especially ahead of a tough assignment against arch rival Fremantle. 

The Dockers beat West Coast by 101 points in round 22 last year.

"We had a good win on the weekend, but we've still got a lot of work to do." Simpson said.

"A few of the areas clicked on the weekend against an understrength Tigers, so we're not delusional, but we're taking steps forward.

"We'll get a pretty good audit this week."