AFL world calls for change after Harley Reid and Sam Darcy made ineligible for Rising Star

The young guns are ineligible for the award after being handed two-game suspensions.

The AFL world has called for a change to the eligibility rules of the Rising Star award after West Coast Eagles young gun Harley Reid was made ineligible to receive the honour after being slapped with a two-match ban for a sling tackle on fellow nominee Darcy Wilson. His ban also came days after his biggest rival for the award, Western Bulldogs key forward Sam Darcy, was also was disqualified from winning the Rising Star after his bump on Brayden Maynard saw him cop a two-game suspension.

The Eagles phenom was cited by the Match Review Committee for rough conduct and handed a two-game ban in his side's 14-point loss to St Kilda on Saturday afternoon. The tackle on Wilson is one that the AFL is trying to stamp out of the game. In the third quarter on Saturday, as Wilson tried to step away from Reid, the West Coast Eagles star wrapped his arms around the body of the St Kilda player and threw him backwards.

Pictured Harley Reid
The AFL world has demanded change to the Rising Star award after Harley Reid was slapped with a two-week ban for a sling tackle on fellow nominee Darcy Wilson ruling him out of contention. Image: Getty/Fox Footy

As Wilson hit the ground the back of his head thudded into the turf. Wilson underwent concussion tests and was able to return to the field but Reid was banned on Sunday nonetheless, with the sanction ruling him out of the Rising Star race.

Unlike other sporting codes, the AFL is unique in the way that any player who is suspended in the regular season is deemed ineligible for an end-of-season award - such as the Rising Star or Brownlow medal. The ban means Reid has become the first favourite for the award in 30 years to become ineligible due to suspension.

The Eagles on Monday confirmed they’d challenge the level of impact in hopes of reducing Reid's charge from high to medium. If successful, it would still result in a one-match ban and the 19-year-old will still be ineligible for the Rising Star.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 01: Luke Shuey talks with Harley Reid of the Eagles following the round 12 AFL match between West Coast Eagles and St Kilda Saints at Optus Stadium, on June 01, 2024, in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
The Eagles are attempting to get Harley Reid's charge downgraded.

Speaking on Channel 9’s Sunday Footy Show, Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes said the 'fairness' element of the Rising Star award needs to be adjusted to take into account the seriousness of the offence committed. "Do we need to remove the fairness element of the Rising Star? Particularly with so many tiggy touchwood suspensions that we are getting that we wouldn’t have got 5-6 years ago,” Cornes said.

"These two players (Reid and Darcy) are ineligible, it’s going to be a bit farcical on the night because of a suspension. Whether we need to remove that and have a threshold (before losing the award) – maybe if you’ve been suspended for four weeks, then that triggers the threshold.”

Fellow panellist and journalist Damien Barrett also believes it is about time that a serious discussion is had on changing the eligibility requirements. “I think it’s a conversation the industry should have, and it’s one I had with Corey McKernan – who in 1994 suffered the same fate,” Barrett said. "He lost that year’s Rising Star to Chris Scott when he was found guilty … he has endorsed what you have put up there in the conversation."

Reid's sanction now leaves North Melbourne’s Colby McKercher and George Wardlaw as favourites for the award. Ironically the other notable contender for the award is Wilson - the player Reid tackled to receive his suspension.

While whether or not Reid should be suspended was a major talking point on social media after the incident, many said they felt he should cop a ban but in the same breath said that the indiscretion shouldn't rule him out of winning the Rising Star. And following the ban being handed down, the AFL world called for the rule to be scrapped.