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With pick number one in the 2023 AFL Draft, West Coast on Monday night selected the 18-year-old from Tongala, ending months of speculation on where the future of the prodigious country footy talent lay.
AFL CEO Andrew Dillon read Reid’s name as 2023’s number-one selection in Melbourne before the Murray Football League talent accepted his new number nine Eagles jumper from Nic Naitanui.
Speaking to Fox Footy after being announced as the Allen Aylett medallist, a new award for the number one draft pick, Reid admitted to being nervous as the selection was read out.
“The butterflies set a bit when it started there, but it’s a big relief, and good luck to the other boys tonight,” he said.
Reid paid tribute to those closest to him that have supported him throughout what has been a whirlwind year for the talented teenager.
“I was super grateful for the people around me and my friends and family, and my local club,” he said.
“I’ve got them on my jumper here, and my Bendigo Pioneers, I’m super grateful to have them.
“They’re all back home at the local club, they’ve got a great set up there, and I appreciate all you guys, thanks for all the support, I couldn’t have done it without you, I love you all.”
Reid becomes the first player out of Tongala and NAB League club Bendigo Pioneers to be the first selection of the AFL Draft, as well as the first Blue since Brad Campbell to leap into the top echelon of football, joining a raft of local talents in the process.
A move across the Nullarbor now awaits Reid, where he will link up with former Bendigo Pioneers teammate Noah Long and begin life as an Eagle.
Reid’s selection brings a close to one of the more remarkable chapters surrounding an AFL draftee, with predictions of his top billing at Monday night’s Draft made about a year and a half ago.
But while it’s the end of one chapter, it’s the beginning of another as Reid makes the 3300km move from Tongala to Perth.
West Coast finds itself in the middle of a rebuild following a three-win season, and the Eagles will be hoping the powerful utility that is Reid will help propel them back up the ladder.