Yeo, Reid star as Eagles thump Richmond in AFL

Michael Ramsey
AAP
3 Min Read
Dustin Martin after the match.
Dustin Martin after the match. Credit: Paul Kane/Getty Images

Star draftee Harley Reid and gun veteran Elliot Yeo have inspired struggling West Coast to their first win of the AFL season, downing Richmond by 39 points.

Yeo (27 disposals, 15 clearances, two goals) was back to his All-Australian best and Jake Waterman kicked a career-high six majors as the hosts stormed to a 16.13 (109) to 10.10 (70) victory at Optus Stadium.

The Eagles looked potentially in for another grim afternoon when they conceded the first four goals, but they dominated thereafter to register their best first-half score since 2021 and just their sixth win in 54 games.

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No.1 draft pick Reid gathered 27 disposals - including 13 touches and four clearances in the third term alone - and had the 47,665-strong crowd swooning with repeated bursts out of traffic and a superb roving goal.

The powerful 18-year-old is shaping as a generational talent and will give the Eagles faithful hope of fast-tracking what has been a painful rebuild.

“Harley had a good day. Hopefully he gets that Rising Star nomination,” Eagles coach Adam Simpson said.

“He’s a great kid. He works really hard and he wants to get better. Dealing with the (media) attention is just something we’re trying to help him with at the moment.”

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 14: Harley Reid of the Eagles is happy with the win during the 2024 AFL Round 05 match between the West Coast Eagles and the Richmond Tigers at Optus Stadium on April 14, 2024 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
Harley Reid was instrumental in his first AFL win. Credit: Daniel Carson/AFL Photos/AFL Photos via Getty Images

Fellow youngsters Reuben Ginbey and Campbell Chesser also impressed while Waterman was immense up forward with eight contested marks.

Already without Tim Taranto, Jacob Hopper, Dion Prestia, Noah Balta, Dylan Grimes and Tom Lynch, the Tigers suffered another injury blow when Jayden Short was substituted in the second quarter with a calf concern.

Adem Yze’s side had started brightly with hometown star Shai Bolton capitalising on excellent team pressure and spread to snare two first-quarter majors.

But Yeo and Tim Kelly (29 disposals) lifted their intensity in the middle and the Eagles began to dominate the stoppages.

The hosts led by 19 points at the main break and their score of 11.2 (68) was their best for an opening half since round 7, 2021.

Bolton and Liam Baker (25 disposals) fought hard for the Tigers but veteran Dustin Martin had little influence playing mostly forward.

A possible match-up between Martin and the similarly bullocking Reid had been hotly anticipated and the young gun gave the Tigers great a taste of his own signature fend-off when the pair crossed paths in the third term.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 14: Jake Waterman of the Eagles celebrates a goal during the round five AFL match between West Coast Eagles and Richmond Tigers at Optus Stadium, on April 14, 2024, in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
Jake Waterman kicked six goals for the Eagles. Credit: Paul Kane/Getty Images

The Eagles won the contested possession count 144 to 106 and almost doubled Richmond’s clearance numbers.

“We feel like that might happen when we’ve got a young group and young midfield group, so we’re trying to limit that,” Yze said.

“But right now, we’re going through a little bit.”

West Coast’s victory leaves North Melbourne and Hawthorn as the only winless teams after round five.

Youngster Luke Edwards will miss Saturday’s derby against Fremantle under concussion protocols but the Eagles could welcome back premiership players Dom Sheed and Liam Ryan.

Richmond will limp into a round six bye with Hopper and Grimes among possible inclusions for the Anzac Eve match against Melbourne.

Taranto is facing up to six weeks on the sidelines after having surgery on his broken wrist.

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