Liam Duggan and Elliot Yeo celebrate West Coast's win over Fremantle at Optus Stadium in round six, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

AS THE Harley Reid hype goes into overdrive, West Coast's leaders have been lauded for their crucial role in rejuvenating the once-struggling side.

A fortnight ago there was debate around whether the Eagles - with 48 losses in 53 games - required AFL draft assistance to lift them out of the mire.

But a breakthrough win over Richmond in round five and the Western Derby thrashing of Fremantle last weekend have dramatically altered the narrative.

No.1 draft pick Reid's performances have thrilled fans but assistant coach Jarrad Schofield says senior players, led by fit-again veteran Elliot Yeo and co-captain Liam Duggan, have also been vital in the resurgence.

"It's a really good balance," Schofield told reporters on Monday.

"We're seeing Elliot Yeo back to career-best form and our leaders are leading really well.

"They've had great pre-seasons and they've started the year really well.

"But it's what they're doing with their leadership qualities on-ground which is helping the younger fellas play well and play consistent footy."


Reid has shone in his opening six games and took his game up another level with three goals from 19 disposals in the stunning Derby upset of Fremantle.

Fellow youngsters Noah Long, Reuben Ginbey, Campbell Chesser and Brady Hough have also impressed.

"I know Harley's getting a lot of hype," Schofield said, "but there's the other fellas that are playing really well as well.

"It's exciting for the younger fellas to be playing great footy and they've got great support from our leaders that are leading really well."

Schofield said a competitive performance against Sydney in round four and wins in the past two weeks had been "massive" for the developing group.

"When you get evidence of what we've been chasing with the small wins and what we're chasing from an identity part, it gives belief to the players," Schofield said.

"What we're chasing is there when they do it in larger portions of the game and we've seen that over the last few weeks.

"There's a lot of evidence there that when we get it right we're a very competitive side."


West Coast is chasing three consecutive wins for the first time in almost three years when they take on Gold Coast at People First Stadium on Sunday.

Schofield said it is important the Eagles don't deviate from their overall plan to build their way back into premiership contention, having last played finals in 2020.


"Yes we want to win games, but we've got to look at the bigger picture about why we're doing well," Schofield said.

"It comes back to the collective. We're playing good team football, we've narrowed our focus on what we're chasing.

"It's pretty simple for the players to see and when they see affirmation around that, I think it's important."