Hawthorn fans have seemingly resigned themselves to the number one pick after six rounds of footy, after a less-than-encouraging start to the season.
An encouraging performance against the Giants and the Crows, plus a good win over North Melbourne haven’t quite papered over the cracks that have appeared in the games against Essendon (59-point loss), Sydney (81) and Geelong (82).
Add in the combined one-kick differential between the margins of the Giants/Crows quinella and the 1-5 score line reads horrifically for a team that has produced a mind-boggling opening month and a half.
The expected number one pick has already been set in stone, with the man described as “Dusty 2.0”, Bendigo Pioneers star midfielder Harley Reid has been turning heads since he was 15.
With 21 touches in three quarters against Port Adelaide’s SANFL side in his most recent non-trial games, he looks ready to take the next step.
However, there is a thorn in the Hawks’ side; West Coast.
With an injury list so severe coach Adam Simpson has declared he may have to bring in Next Generation Academy talent who “aren’t ready for WAFL footy”, the Hawks are not guaranteed that prized first selection, which worked really well last time.
That 2001 Draft is the best in history and although the likes of Chris Judd, Jimmy Bartel, Nick Dal Santo, James Kelly, Steve Johnson, Sam Mitchell, Leigh Montagna, Gary Ablett Jr, Jarrod Waite, Dane Swan and Brian Lake were all taken, there is no brown and gold bleeder that isn’t happy with our man.
Hodgey. The Warrior. Captain Courageous.
The possibility of having Pick 2 (or even further than that if you’re in an optimistic state) does mean there are other youngsters to look at.
You’ll hear tales of Ashton Moir and Nick Watson for small forward X-Factor but in a post-Luke Breust world, are Tyler Brockman, Sam Butler, Dylan Moore, Fergus Greene, Jai Serong and Connor MacDonald good enough to make that first-round pick a different position?
Yes, yes they are.
Well, if Harley Reid is a MID/FWD, what about another one of those?
Gippsland Power’s Zane Duursma (brother of Port utility Xavier) is a top-five prospect, damaging both on the scoreboard and with the ball in hand.
The Northern Knights have also got a top ten calibre FWD/MID, with Nate Caddy reminding me of Bailey Humphrey last season, who at 192cm is taller than Duursma (188cm) and has all the forward craft and athleticism that one could ask for.
There might even be some Daniel Curtin talk, with the WA key defender easily being the best in his position in the draft.
James Blanck and Denver Grainger-Barrass need the time to develop though so it seems unlikely.
However, the answer is crystal clear, even with key defender/forward Will McCabe coming without much fight.
Will should be a Hawk, courteous of being late 90’s/early 00’s cult hero Luke’s son, albeit a lot taller at 196cm.
The answer is like Duursma, at Gippsland Power.
Archer Reid is his name.
205cm is his frame, and he is an athletic freak.
Mitch Lewis can’t do everything himself and in a side crying out for a tall forward, Jacob Koschitzke has been dropped on poor form, so clearly there is a spot to be taken.
Max Ramsden is developing nicely of course but with the best clearance differential midfield in the league, depth on the wings and a settled back eight to ten as a core with the Seamus Mitchell inclusion, it’s what’s left.
3.1 came in Round 1 against the Murray Bushrangers from nine marks and 17 disposals, before being put on a light load for the game against Port’s SANFL side.
His latest tests are in Vic Country test games, coming at Trevor Barker Oval and he is expected to line up at Vic Country this year.
Reid’s ability to work in the front 80 metres of the field will allow Mitch Lewis to operate in the front 40 and be the big brute that had former Cat Steve Johnson name Lewis as the 13th best forward in the competition, coming into Round 1.
So, if not Harley, the Hawks can still end up with a Reid at season’s end and the positional need might be difficult to ignore if the Harley isn’t in the garage when it’s time to hit the road in 2024.