West Coast have swatted away rival AFL clubs’ offers for the No.1 draft pick, standing firm to take prodigious talent Harley Reid with the top selection.
Coming off five wins across the past two seasons, the Eagles had toyed with the idea of trading the sought-after pick for multiple high-end selections.
North Melbourne, Melbourne and Hawthorn all made bids for the top pick – and access to the highly rated Reid.
But none could tempt West Coast, who flew cult figure Nic Naitanui to Melbourne to present Reid with his new blue-and-yellow jumper – and the number 9 – at Marvel Stadium on Monday night.
The 18-year-old midfielder is arguably the most-hyped draftee in history, viewed by many recruiters as a generational talent.
Before the draft, Reid was forced to defend himself amid speculation he was less than happy to move outside of Victoria.
But the Eagles are satisfied the young star, who hails from the country town of Tongala in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley region, does not represent a flight risk.
Reid is the third player taken by West Coast with the No.1 pick at a draft and the first this century.
The Eagles previously picked Drew Banfield (1992) and Michael Gardiner (1996) with the top selection.
MORE TO COME