VIC COUNTRY star Harley Reid produced a match-winning performance under the nose of West Coast's recruiters on Friday night, putting pressure on the Eagles to hold their first pick in this year's NAB AFL Draft.
Reid was outstanding against Western Australia at the WACA Ground, both in the midfield and as a deep forward, finishing with an equal game-high 26 disposals, 10 marks and two goals as Vic Country prevailed by two points.
He stood up under heavy attention from WA and relished the physical contests, shaking off midfield opponents to win five clearances and then drawing the ball as a forward, where his power on the lead was hard to stop.
The Eagles' off-field team was at the WACA Ground on Friday night and will need to decide whether they draft Reid in the likely scenario they have the No.1 pick in the Draft or trade the prized selection for multiple early picks.
He had the presence, skill and game sense of a special player on Friday night and already had a contingent of WA fans keen to show their support after the match.
After being instrumental in building Vic Country's early 23-point lead, the teenage star spent most of the fourth quarter as the deepest forward while WA rallied to nearly steal the game.
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It was teammate Zane Duursma who stayed cool under pressure to kick the crucial goal that gave the visitors some late breathing room before winning 8.13 (61) to 8.11 (59).
Big-bodied WA midfielder Clay Hall continued where he left off against South Australia in last Sunday's 28-point win, leading the Black Ducks with 26 disposals, six clearances and nine tackles.
He ran with Reid for long periods while the looming No.1 pick was in the midfield, showing off his pace and taking on opponents as his reputation grows through the under-18 championships.
Versatile WA prospect Daniel Curtin had brief forays in the midfield but was mostly used in defence, where his composure with 23 disposals and 11 marks was valuable.
The talented teenager also pushed forward to kick the final goal of the game, snapping his set shot from the boundary to give WA one last opportunity.
Geelong Falcons youngster Michael Rudd produced some excellent contested marking and led the visitors with three goals, while Harry Demattia (17 and seven inside 50s) and Kade De La Rue (22 and four) were influential.
West Coast Next Generation Academy prospect Lance Collard ignited late to kick two final quarters, including a classy running effort after he streamed inside 50.
Koen Sanchez was clean all night for the Blacks and finished with 20 disposals, five clearances and a goal in an eye-catching performance, with Riley Hardeman (23 and eight rebounds) and Luke Kelly (22 and six clearances) other major ball-winners.
WESTERN AUSTRALIA 2.1 4.5 5.8 8.11 (59)
VIC COUNTRY 3.6 5.8 6.11 8.13 (61)
Western Australia: Collard 2, Curtin, Dehavilland, Livingstone, Sanchez, Smith, van Rooyen
Vic Country: Rudd 3, H. Reid 2, Day-Wicks, Duursma, A. Reid