Harley Reid handed brutal new blow after West Coast youngster learns fate at AFL tribunal

The Eagles went to the AFL tribunal in an attempt to downgrade the charge.

Harley Reid won't play again until the very end of June after the young star's two-game ban was upheld by the AFL tribunal on Tuesday night. The 19-year-old was slapped with a two-game suspension on Sunday evening after a tackle that resulted in Darcy Wilson's head slamming into the turf.

The back of the St Kilda player's head thudded into the ground after he was thrown backwards by Reid in a tackle that has been stamped out of the game in recent years. Darcy underwent concussion tests and was able to return to the field, but Reid was banned on Sunday nonetheless.

Harley Reid and Darcy Wilson.
Harley Reid slung Darcy Wilson onto the back of his head in a dangerous tackle. Image: Getty/Fox Footy

The match review officer graded the incident as careless contact, high impact and high contact. The Eagles announced on Monday that they would challenge the grading of ban and were seeking a one-game ban rather than two.

But the West Coast wunderkind won't play again until the end of the month after failing at the tribunal on Tuesday night. The 19-year-old is now ineligible for the AFL's Rising Star award, which he was one of the hottest favourites to win.

The timing of West Coast's bye, which falls between Saturday's home clash with North Melbourne and their round-15 away clash against Essendon, means it will be an even longer break between games for Reid. He can next feature against Hawthorn at Optus Stadium on June 30 - which will be 29 days after his most recent appearance.

AFL counsel Sally Flynn said Reid's charge was a clear example of an inherently dangerous tackle. The tribunal, including chair Renee Enbom KC and panel members Darren Gaspar and Paul Williams, deliberated for 53 minutes and believed there was "considerable" potential for injury from the "poorly executed" tackle.

The AFL's assertion that the nature of the tackle had the potential to cause a serious head or neck injury was accepted. The panel agreed that Wilson was "lucky" he landed the way he did.

David King said in commentary for Fox Footy during the game: “That’s a tackle we have to take out of the game. That’s the sling. Head hits the ground – it’s everything we don’t want. I’m sorry.

“If that is elevated to a suspension – we hope the young fella is alright first and foremost - if he has suffered a concussion, I think the Rising Star favourite is in a world of pain. The tackle, the action - it’s a problem for him.”

The race for the Rising Star award was blown apart over the weekend, with Reid and Sam Darcy both copping two-game suspensions. Darcy was slapped with a suspension on Saturday afternoon for his ugly collision with Brayden Maynard on Friday night.

The Western Bulldogs youngster appeared to be in a battle with Reid for the Rising Star award, but any player who gets suspended throughout the year can't win it. Just hours after Darcy was suspended, disaster also struck for Reid.

King said Reid should at least cop a one-game ban if the AFL is serious about protecting the head. “We don’t want that to be the case. But we don’t want concussion either,” he said. “You’ve got to choose your path as an industry. I think we’ve made that well known that (the tackle) is a no-no and unfortunately it looks like this weekend we’ll have the two favourites for the Rising Star (Reid and Sam Darcy) ineligible.”

Harley Reid in action for West Coast against St Kilda.
The AFL has stamped out sling tackles like the one Harley Reid produced. Image: Fox Footy


Reid cut a frustrated figure throughout the game after copping a hard tag for the first time in his young career. The 19-year-old tore St Kilda to shreds in the second quarter with 13 disposals and six clearances, and went to half-time with 17 possessions and seven clearances in total.

Saints coach Ross Lyon then ordered Marcus Windhager to run a tight tag on Reid in the second half, and it worked to perfection. Reid only tallied three more disposals for the match as St Kilda stormed to victory.

West Coast coach Adam Simpson said he didn't want to discuss the Reid tackle in detail, but suggested there wasn't much in it. "I thought there's nothing in it, that's what I'll say," Simpson said. "I spoke to him and it was like, 'mate, I didn't think there was much in it, so keep going, keep working through the tag'. That stuff will work itself out. Whatever happens there, we'll deal with it."

Simpson said the tagging of Reid would be a learning experience for the teenager. "He was sensational in the first half, so understandably he's going to get some attention," the coach said. "We've got his back, he's got to deal with it as we go. I hope we're not too critical of his second half.

"The learning for him is going to be good. We spoke about a few weeks ago that, 'you're going to get some attention, mate, so how are we going to deal with it together?'

"There were parts where he dealt with it really well, and then there's parts we can learn from. We all knew it was coming. He'll be fine. When you win your own ball, it's OK. It's when you're an outside player that relies on you receiving the ball, it's a bit harder."

Whether or not Reid should be suspended was a big talking point on social media. The majority felt he should cop a ban, but many didn't think it would be fair for him to be rubbed out of winning the Rising Star as a result.

with AAP