Gippsland Power key defender Kyle Reid needed a wake-up call after his bottom-age 2017 TAC Cup season in order to produce a stellar 2018 season.
The 18-year-old looked to have established himself in Gippsland’s line-up through the club’s first 13 games last year but was then dropped and spent a short stint playing senior football with local club Leongatha (Gippsland League).
As a result, he worked hard over the 2018 pre-season to improve both his fitness and his mindset, with 193cm Reid now in the frame for selection at the NAB AFL Draft on November 22-23.
He saw his work pay off with selection in both the AFL U18 All Australian team following four matches for Vic Country at the AFL U18 Championships and the TAC Cup Team of the Year after averaging 14 disposals and six marks per game in 13 TAC Cup appearances.
“It was pretty much reward for effort (this season),” Reid said at the recent AFL Draft Combine. “I put in all that hard work and then being able to back it up in the games was satisfying.
“Being dropped from the team last year made me realise that nothing is just going to happen and it all takes hard work to achieve your dreams and goals.
“I didn’t actually seek too much help in my bottom-age year because I had the mindset that it would all just happen if I just kept on playing footy, but that’s not the way it goes. It was the wake-up call that I needed.”
Reid sought help from coaches through extra running and weights sessions over the pre-season – “I wasn’t very happy with how my body was looking, so I worked pretty hard to improve on my speed and agility” – and continued the work with pilates and cross-fit classes during 2018.
Getting his body right allowed Reid to showcase his strengths – limiting the influence of one of the opposition’s best key forwards and reading the play to intercept attacks with his strong hands.
But when his form dipped a little in the back half of 2018, he again demonstrated the maturity that has characterised his top-age season by adapting his mindset once more.
“My first half of the season was probably a little bit better and I think I dropped off a little bit in the second half,” Reid said.
“I probably put a little bit too much expectation on myself after the U18 Championships and just started worrying about my own footy. I probably realised I was doing that after a game or two and then got my headspace back to just playing my role and focusing on team success, which in turn brings out my best footy.”
THE AFL DRAFT WATCH ‘FAST FIVE’ with Kyle Reid
Why should an AFL club draft you?
“I am a key-position backman and I have leadership qualities.”
What is the funniest or weirdest question you’ve been asked by an AFL club?
“I haven’t had many funny or weird questions, just the general ones really.”
Who is your football idol?
“My dad. He has been in my corner the whole time and I have learnt a lot from him.”
Who will be selected with pick no.1 in the 2018 AFL Draft?
“Sam Walsh (Geelong Falcons), because he is a freak player, a freak leader and an all-rounder.”
Which of your 2018 teammates should also be in draft consideration?
“I think Xavier Duursma will be right up there, with Matthew McGannon right behind him.”