Harley Reid celebrates after scoring a goal during the match between Waalitj Marawar (West Coast) and Narrm (Melbourne) at Optus Stadium in round 10, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

THE WAALITJ Marawar revival has continued with a stunning upset over Narrm as young star Harley Reid overshadowed his superstar opponents to inspire a 35-point win at Optus Stadium.

Just nine months after collecting the wooden spoon, the Eagles notched their third win in their past four home games and sent the Demons tumbling to seventh on the ladder with a 16.9 (105) to 10.10 (70) win that underlined how dangerous they have become in 2024 if underestimated.

EAGLES v DEMONS Full match coverage and stats

Reid was central to the win with 21 disposals, seven clearances and two goals, fending off Demons midfield duo Christian Petracca and Clayton Oliver in one brilliant passage that was symbolic of his game, while kicking a NAB Goal of the Year contender from a centre clearance.

Meanwhile, key forward Jake Waterman continued his own outstanding season and climbed to equal top in the Coleman Medal race with a bag of five goals that took his season tally to a career-best 29.

It was a stunning team performance built on physicality and pressure, with the young team refusing to take a backwards step against the 2021 premiers and playing with the spirit they targeted as a non-negotiable this season. 


They responded every time the Demons looked like making a run and then broke away in the final quarter, kicking four goals to one to kick 100 points for the third time this season against a wayward Demons team that would have finished the round in third with a win. 

The Eagles were switched on from the very start, with Waterman taking two contested marks in the opening minute and slotting a set shot from 50m to re-open his account after missing last week with concussion.


Fellow key forward Jack Darling, who finished with three goals and 12 tackles, also showed he was up for the fight with a crafty goal out of mid air, which resulted in an accidental head knock for Jake Lever and saw the Naarm defender substituted before quarter-time.


A big reason for the Eagles' fast start was midfielder Tim Kelly, who had 10 of his 30 disposals in the opening term, while Reid was electric, giving the home team a 14-point lead when he burst out of the centre to kick a memorable 45m goal on the run.


The Eagles kept up their physical, high-pressure approach after quarter-time and quickly found themselves with a 27-point lead after Ryan Maric and Darling converted set shots, putting the Demons in a dangerous position if they couldn't respond quickly.

Well held for most of the first quarter, Petracca won a big centre clearance to set up Kade Chandler, with Ben Brown then wobbling through a snap from tight on the boundary line to cut the margin to nine points. 


By half-time, four of Dees' six goals had come from stoppages and it was clear they needed to limit the Eagles' inside 50 advantage (27-15) and spend more time in their front half to get their noses in front after the main break.


In a third-quarter armwrestle, they achieved the first and finally got an inside 50 advantage (14-10), but wayward kicking proved costly as they put on 3.7 and made no ground on the scoreboard. 

Reid was again the star for the Eagles, first in the midfield, where he laid his double fend-off on premiership stars Oliver and Petracca before setting up a goal for Darling. 


Then, after four straight behinds for the Demons, he outmuscled Blake Howes to win a contest in the pocket and motored in for his second goal to give the Eagles an 18-point lead at the last break, which proved enough as they celebrated a memorable win. 

Reid explodes for his biggest highlight yet 
The memorable moments are piling up nine games into Harley Reid's career, but his explosive goal from the midfield on Sunday tops them all. After collecting a groundball at the back of a centre clearance halfway through the first quarter, Reid burnt away from Christian Petracca, taking three bounces before converting on the run from 45m. As usual when Reid does something special, the Optus Stadium crowd responds in a way that can lift the No.1 pick and his teammates, spelling danger for opponents. 


Eagles target ruck star
There was a clear target on Max Gawn's back early on Sunday, with the premiership captain bumped into repeatedly off the ball as he made his way around Optus Stadium. The Eagles' physical approach to the ruckman was most obvious in the first quarter and could not be ignored by his teammates once Jack Darling floored him with a bump well off the ball. The tactic made sense, given the perceived advantage Gawn would have over Bailey Williams in the ruck, and the six-time All Australian did win his individual battle, finishing with 27 hitouts and six clearances. 

Bailey J. Williams compete in a ruck contest with Max Gawn during the match between Waalitj Marawar (West Coast) and Narrm (Melbourne) at Optus Stadium in R10, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

A new Darling 
Waalitj Marawar forward Jack Darling was desperately out of form earlier this season, but the premiership goalkicker has come back to life with nine goals from his past five games and a defensive edge that is making him very valuable. Darling laid a career-best 12 tackles against the Demons, including a massive nine inside 50. He typified the Eagles' high-pressure style, with the team laying 22 tackles inside 50 to nine and locking the ball in their front half for extended periods as a result. Darling was rewarded on the scoreboard with three goals in an impressive performance.

WAALITJ MARAWAR       4.3    7.7    12.8    16.9 (105)
NARRM                            2.1    6.1    9.8     10.10 (70)

Waalitj Marawar: Waterman 5, Darling 3, Reid 2, Ryan 2, Cripps, Ginbey, Hunt, Maric
Narrm: Fritsch 3, Brown, Chandler, McAdam, Neal-Bullen, Petracca, Pickett, Windsor

Waalitj Marawar: Reid, Waterman, Kelly, Darling, McGovern, Ginbey, Duggan 
Naarm: Oliver, Fritsch, Gawn, Petracca, Salem

Waalitj Marawar: Nil 
Naarm: Lever (concussion) 

Waalitj Marawar: Tyrell Dewar (replaced Luke Edwards in the fourth quarter)
Narrm: Taj Woewodin (replaced Jake Lever in the first quarter)

Crowd: 43,408 at Optus Stadium