AFL called out over 'brutal' farce after Harley Reid display sends fans into meltdown

The 19-year-old was on fire as the Eagles took down the Dockers in the western derby.

Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir has lamented the AFL's 'brutal' scheduling after the Dockers were stunned by Harley Reid and the West Coast Eagles on Saturday night. Reid had the best game of his young AFL career so far, kicking three goals to go with 19 disposals, seven clearances and two contested marks in West Coast's stunning 16.9 (105) to 10.8 (68) victory.

The sparkling display followed on from his equally-brilliant performance in a 39-point win over Richmond last week, in which Reid racked up 27 disposals, seven clearances and a goal. The 19-year-old is the most hyped No.1 draft pick in AFL history, and he's well and truly living up to the top billing so far.

Harley Reid in action for the Eagles against the Dockers.
Harley Reid torched the Dockers in the best game of his AFL career to date. Image: Getty/Fox Footy

"We love what Harley's doing and our internal expectations are not what he's producing - they (his performances) are a lot higher," Eagles coach Adam Simpson said after the game. "They're probably just meeting expectations publicly. So I'm really cautious to not overplay it, because he's 19. It's hard to sustain that coming into the AFL.

"While he keeps doing it. I think we should all enjoy it, but let's not get too worried if he has an off day. Today he ... kicked three and really energised the crowd and the players, but we're not expecting that every week."


Dockers coach adds voice to criticism of AFL fixture

Longmuir didn't want to make excuses for his team's flop in the western derby, saying his players simply got smoked in the contest. But the Dockers coach did bemoan the fact his side haven't played at home for a whole month.

“It’s a brutal season. The fixtures are brutal," he said. "Throws up some of these results sometimes. We’re looking forward to getting home in front of our home crowd next week. Two home games in six rounds is a tough fixture.

“We’ve been away from our home crowd for four of the six weeks so it’s been a pretty long stretch. It’ll be a month since the Adelaide game by next week – I’m not sure too many other teams have had to do that across the start of the season.”

Fremantle Dockers players, pictured here after their loss to West Coast.
Dockers players look on after their loss to West Coast.
Jack Darling and Harley Reid, pictured here after West Coast's win over Fremantle.
Jack Darling and Harley Reid share a laugh after West Coast's win over Fremantle.

Longmuir's gripe comes amid widespread backlash over some of the AFL's fixturing decisions - namely the decision to only play four games in Opening Round before the season got underway in full the next week. Geelong coach Chris Scott has declared the fixture 'compromised', while St Kilda fans were left fuming they had to play three games in 11 days when they were thrashed by 60 points at the hands of the Western Bulldogs on Thursday night.

Saints coach Ross Lyon pointed out the “mitigating circumstances” after the heavy loss. “We were a little bit worried coming here, the demands of the game ... I don’t want to use excuses, but I certainly came here and I was cautious, and I flagged in the pre-game interview that it was our second four-day prep,” he said.

AFL world in meltdown over stunning Harley Reid display

Meanwhile, Reid's growing popularity in the west is on track to rival that of Nic Naitanui and Ben Cousins in their heyday. Not that the Victorian teenager is letting the popularity go to his head.

"I'm sure Harley will be the first to say it's not about him," Simpson said. "It's about all of us. I think we all enjoy the fact that he contributes the way he does. But I'm sure he doesn't want us to say it's about him, although he's a very good player and he's he's helped us."

AFL fans and commentators were sent into a frenzy by his performance on Saturday night. At one stage he treated Brownlow medallist Nat Fyfe with disdain and shoved him to the turf during a squabble.

with AAP