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Eagles coach Simpson ignoring the Harley Reid hype

West Coast coach Adam Simpson is trying to ignore the fever-pitch hype around boom draftee Harley Reid.

The 19-year-old Reid is being praised for his impact, with some pundits rating him the best No.1 draft pick of all time.

Reid’s standout performance in the Eagles’ win against Melbourne last week sparked a fresh wave of rave reviews for the nine-gamer.

“I am not really reading too much into that,” Simpson told reporters on Friday.

“We just enjoy the fact he’s playing with such freedom and spirit.

“Internally, we know we’re doing a lot of things better and he is part of that.

“The accolades will come and go and there will be overs and unders at certain stages, so we will just try and stay balanced.

“We can’t control what you guys (the media) talk about but we’re at the start of a long journey and we’re really glad he’s part of it.”

Simpson acknowledged the “cultural shift we have had in the locker room… the young guys are taking over.”

But he said the importance of the Eagles’ experienced players in their improvement and three wins since mid-April could not be overstated.

“Where we’re at the moment, our senior players are pretty important,” he said.

“That’s (Jeremy) McGovern, (Tom) Barrass, (Elliot) Yeo, (Jack) Darling… when we win, they play well.

“The senior players we have got, we’re really lucky that, a: their leadership is as strong as it has ever been, and, b: they are available.

“I just can’t remember the last time they were all playing together.

“We haven’t got (co-captain) Oscar (Allen) on the side at the moment but they’re All Australians, premiership players, so there is some serious talent still there.

“They have still got a bit to give, and now that they’re healthy it makes everyone (else) better.”

Yeo, returning from a groin injury, will replace Luke Edwards in West Coast’s team for their visit to Adelaide on Sunday.

The 30-year-old remains unsigned beyond this season amid speculation of interest from rival clubs including the Crows.

“Of course we want to keep Elliot, we’re doing as much as we can to keep him, it’s the same with Harley,” Simpson said.

“These guys are great players and I would love to keep them, but you just can’t play it out through the media.”

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