Eagles to challenge Harley Reid ban, debate rages over ‘fakest and falsest’ AFL award

The West Coast Eagles will appeal a two-week dangerous tackling ban against Harley Reid, but even if they succeed, the rookie will be ineligible for the AFL Rising Star award.

Reid, who made a stunning impression for the Eagles and the league in his rookie season, was suspended for a tackle on St Kilda draftee Darcy Wilson in the third quarter of his team’s 14-point loss at Optus Stadium on Saturday.

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The incident was classified as careless conduct, serious impact and strong physical contact, resulting in a two-game suspension with no penalty for an early admission of guilt.

On Monday, the Eagles confirmed they would appeal his ban on dangerous tackling in the hope of reducing it to one week.

In the event of a ban, Reid, who was considered the clear favorite for the Rising Star Award, would no longer be eligible to participate.

“The West Coast Eagles will challenge the two-match ban imposed on Harley Reid before the AFL Tribunal,” the club said.

“West Coast will contest that the severity of the impact should be downgraded to medium rather than high, which would result in a one-match suspension.”

Failure to win would see Reid miss the games against North Melbourne and Essendon before and after the club’s off period.

Watch Harley Reid’s tackle in the video above

Two of the favorites for the Rising Star award were eliminated in one weekend: Both Reid and Bulldogs striker Sam Darcy were suspended.

Still eligible for the award in his third season but having played only a handful of games due to injuries, Darcy suffered an ugly last-minute collision with Collingwood’s Brayden Maynard on Friday night.

Darcy was suspended for two matches, leaving the race to be named Rising Star wide open. North Melbourne duo George Wardlaw and Colby McKercher are the new favourites in the betting markets.

The bans of Reid and Darcy have sparked debate about whether the Rising Star should be subject to the same “best and fairness” criteria as the Brownlow Medal, which states that a player cannot win if he was suspended during the season in question.

“(In) 1993, when it was introduced, I was very interested to know why they decided that Fairest would be included,” Gerard Whateley told SEN.

“It’s not a reflection of the Brownlow. It’s not a weekly vote on the award. It’s a subjective vote by the All Australian jury at the end.

“The following year (1994), Corey McKernan gets a short, narrow suspension for tripping, but we didn’t discuss that thoroughly enough at the time. We’re trying to recognize the best young player in the game and maybe predict the future.

“None of the incidents involving Darcy or Reid ruin their reputations or characters. That seems kind of odd to me.”

“I understand why the Brownlow is the ‘finest and best’. It has a long tradition that continues to this day. This one does not have a long tradition, it starts in 1993.”

“At the end of the year we should have the conversation that should have been had in 1994. It just doesn’t make sense to me why fairness is part of it.

David King said: “Ultimately, you created the Rising Star, but… award.

“Whoever the Rising Star is, it will be the most fake and inauthentic Rising Star we’ve had in a long time because he’s already lower in the rankings.

“If we don’t give it to the best, it’s clearly a fake award. If the best doesn’t get it, the whole thing is nonsense.”

Commentator and former AFLW coach Daniel Horford wrote on X: “The ‘Fairest’ component of the Rising Star is nonsense.”

Kane Cornes asked on Nine’s Sunday Football Show: “Do we need to remove the fairness element of the Rising Star? Especially at the moment when we are getting so many small-time bans that we wouldn’t have gotten five or six years ago.

“It gets a bit absurd that evening. Whether we need a hurdle, maybe if you’ve been banned for four weeks, whether that triggers a hurdle. But if it’s just that, you should still be able to win.”

Damian Barrett added: “I think the industry should be having this discussion.”

Kelli Underwood asked on ABC’s Offsiders: “Should we remove the most beautiful element? It is a bit different from the Brownlow, isn’t it?”

Gideon Haigh replied: “I want it to remain compatible with the Brownlow. The Brownlow should be the goal, I think everything should be consistent with that.”

In the loss to St Kilda, Reid was also fined a total of $1,875 for two counts of careless contact with a referee, with him pleading guilty at an early stage.

He was the best player on the field in the first half before St Kilda took him out of the game in the second half and took a 14-point win.

— With NCA Newswire

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