The chase is on: Who will end up with pick one and Harley Reid?

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Key points

  • West Coast’s pick one, considered the rights to Harley Reid, is a hugely popular asset.
  • North Melbourne, Hawthorn and Melbourne are all keen to secure the Eagles’ No.1 selection.
  • West Coast have so far rejected all offers and may wait until draft night to make a call.

West Coast list boss Rohan O’Brien says it will take something extraordinary to prise this year’s No.1 draft pick – and the rights to boom teenager Harley Reid – from the Eagles’ grasp.

The AFL’s annual trade period technically ended on Wednesday night, but clubs will be able to exchange picks from this Monday until Friday, November 10, then again during the draft, which begins with the first round on November 20.

Harley Reid is as good as certain to be the No.1 pick, but which club will land him?Credit: Eddie Jim

North Melbourne, who were in pole position for the top selection before their round 24 defeat of Gold Coast, remain in the best spot to convince West Coast to give up the No.1 choice.

Hawthorn and Melbourne are the only other clubs considered to have any chance at scoring what Demons list manager Tim Lamb calls “the golden ticket”, with an increasing likelihood the Eagles wait until draft night.

Alastair Clarkson’s Kangaroos have an incredible draft hand – headlined by picks two, three, 15, 17 and 18 – owing to their lowly ladder finish, the free agency compensation for Ben McKay, their AFL assistance package and trades.

In fact, North Melbourne’s list and recruiting manager Brady Rawlings already tested the waters, offering the Eagles picks 15, 18, 21 and an end-of-first-round selection next year.

Rawlings all but conceded they would have to relinquish one of their top two selections to sway West Coast.

“It’s probably been made pretty public I had a bit of a go at it, about a week ago, with later picks because we had a surplus of them, and that was nowhere near getting it done,” Rawlings said. “So, I think any [package of] late first-round picks are probably [not going to be enough]. I think something pretty pointy would have to be in it.”

Hawthorn also took a shot during negotiations with the Eagles about ex-Hawk Tyler Brockman, with one offer involving the club’s No.4 pick this year, their future first-rounder and Brockman.

The Hawks tried to score the No.1 pick in the Tyler Brockman negotiations.Credit: AFL Photos

Alas, West Coast were unmoved.

“We had a crack at it over a two-, three-day period last week. Unfortunately, we were knocked back a few times, which is fair enough, so it will be interesting to see what happens with that No.1 pick,” McKenzie said. “We’ll keep having a crack. You never know exactly what the priorities are for other footy clubs, [so while] the No.1 pick’s there, we’ll continue to explore it. It’s probably unlikely when you think [about] what we were talking about last week, but never say never.

“We thought we put up some pretty strong deals in the end, but you can understand why they might take pick one and ride it out until early draft night. You want to see what deals come across, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they take the pick, to be honest, but if I was them, I’d probably take it to draft night.”

The first round of the draft order was shaken up during trade period, with Western Bulldogs (up to pick five), Melbourne (11) and Adelaide (14) making the most notable climbs. The Demons also have Fremantle’s No.6 from last year’s Luke Jackson trade, as well as their future first-rounder, so are expected to try to move up again.

“We’ll all assess our options and see what happens there, but if we can get a little higher in the draft, that would be nice,” Lamb said. “But we’re really thrilled to have six and 11 – we think we’re going to get two really good players there.”

There is an industry-wide view that this year’s draft crop has a particularly strong top end, then a second tier that runs until about the mid-to-late teens before a steep drop-off.

Therefore, clubs are setting a high price if they are to slide down the order.

The Dogs coughed up three first-round selections to nab Gold Coast’s top pick – knowing they were going to match a first-round bid on father-son prospect Jordan Croft – while Melbourne handed over pick 14 and a pair of second-rounders to the Suns to edge up to No.11.

The Bulldogs relinquished three first-round picks to climb up to No.5, knowing they would match a bid on father-son forward Jordan Croft.Credit: AFL Photos

The Crows’ ended up with the Dees’ No.14 in a separate swap with Gold Coast, who were a popular trade partner as they accumulated draft points to match bids on academy quartet Jed Walter, Ethan Read, Jake Rogers and Will Graham.

“We want to improve our hand still. We think we’ve got a pretty good hand, but if we can bring that up a bit higher and potentially use two picks to get up to one [that would be ideal],” Rawlings said.

“It’s just a bit of a tough market to get into … so I don’t think too many are going to move, but all you can do is put things to clubs and see if they entertain it.”

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