Kyabram Free Press

Reid is Pios’ best youngster

- By Meg Saultry

Tongala’s Harley Reid has done what very few have done before him — make a lasting impact within the Bendigo Pioneers program at just 16 years of age.

Recently, Reid was announced as the Pioneers’ best first-year player for 2021 after starring for their under-17 and under-19 teams.

Pioneers coach Danny O’bree said it was an easy choice to award Reid the honour.

“There hasn’t been too many 16-year-olds that had come in so early in the season as Harley did,” O’bree said.

“Generally, if they do come in and play games with any NAB League team, it always tends to be in the back end of the season.

"During our training, we thought we was quite ready to take on the 19-year-olds.

“Then the impact he had in his games, he kicked three in his first match, and the impact he had to play in most positions on the ground in a really short period of time, it’s probably something we haven’t seen in a while.”

One of the youngest players on the Pioneers’ list, Reid also gained selection in Victoria Country’s under-17 squad after making the leap up to under-19s to play five games for an eight-goal return.

While O’bree credited Reid as a “natural forward”, the coach can also see Reid’s talents translated into the midfield.

“Long-term I see him as a midfielder. He has really good size and power and strength for a young guy,” O’bree said.

“And he’s got a really good skillset, so I think he’s got a really exciting future in and around the midfield.”

With another two seasons of representa­tive football in Reid’s future before he is draft-eligible, O’bree believes the youngster’s biggest improvemen­ts will come from the training track.

“He kicked three in his first match, and the impact he had to play in most positions on the ground in a really short period of time, it’s probably something we haven’t seen in a while.”

– Danny O’bree

“If he continues to develop not only his strength, but his speed and endurance and understand­s what it takes to train and play like a profession­al, that is where he will get his biggest learning from so his body can go through the rigour of AFL footy,” he said.

“If he develops some really good habits and gets good consistenc­y with his training, I think the footy will speak for itself.”

• Bendigo Pioneers announced several locals had received invitation­s to train with the program this pre-season.

It is also expected the Pioneers will run a training base in Echucamoam­a this year.

Girls: Jayda Richardson, Charlii Dorrrity (Moama), Lexi Gregor, Maddie Elliott (club football at Golden Square), Tegan Williams (Rochester).

Boys: Jed Brereton, Corbin Anderson, Billy Barnes, Tighe O’brien, Noah Long, Logan Orr, Hugh Byrne (Echuca), Oliver Poole (Echuca United), Sam Edgar (Moama), Harley Reid, Macca Cowley (Tongala), Oskar Smartt (Leitchvill­e-gunbower), Charlie Palmer (Rochester), Anthony Depasquale, Charlie Barnett, Oliver Watt (Kyabram), Cooper Hamilton, Hugh Hamilton, Sam Ryan (Colbinabbi­n).

 ?? Photo: Martin KEEP/AFL Photos ?? Rising star:
Harley Reid has taken out best first-year player for the Bendigo Pioneers.
Photo: Martin KEEP/AFL Photos Rising star: Harley Reid has taken out best first-year player for the Bendigo Pioneers.

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