When Harley Reid gave Dustin Martin a stern “don’t argue” during the Eagles game against Richmond in April, there was a small smattering of online applause, and a few knowing looks exchanged, as if a long-extinguished torch had just been quietly passed. 

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Martin left his snorting prime some time ago, and Richmond hasn’t been a contender for a while, so the moment was muted.

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So, on Sunday, Reid one-upped himself – or two-upped? – by fending off Clayton Oliver and Christian Petracca in one brawny sequence, one stunning part of an astounding performance in the Eagles’ 35-point win over Melbourne in Perth.

Here’s how the internet reacted.

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Reid had already kicked a goal of the year contender in the first quarter, peeling away from the centre square, leaving Petracca labouring in his wake, taking three clean bounces and firing home from 50.

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Watching on, Eagles coach Adam Simpson had the look of a teenager who’s just seen his formal date walk down the stairs.

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There is something almost unnerving about watching this 19-year-old play football. His boyish face on this rippling, powerful body, finely balanced and brutally bullocking, it’s as if a young West Coast fan found a genie and wished to be the best player in the AFL.

Although suggestions as to his standing among his current peers and past legends certainly draws ire online.

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Indeed, even the noting of Reid’s highlights seems to annoy those who feel he’s getting too much attention.

Two comments under Harley Reid's goal of the year contender post: "He is a joy to watch!" and "Shut up!"

Reid highlights tend to draw out contrasting responses.(Instagram/ABC Sport)

But it was impossible not to acknowledge the way he looked held right up against two of the best midfielders in the competition, and impossible not to make memes about it.

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The way Oliver shook his head at Reid after the siren, wry smile and slightly shell shocked expression on his face, said more than disposal-count comps or metres-gained ever could.

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After the game, Reid spoke to ABC Sport, and we asked him about the double-fend. His response: “How’d it look?”

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Being photoshopped lovingly on the back page of the West Australian newspaper every week will do wonders for anyone’s confidence, but still.

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Is he the best first year player since [INSERT YOUR OWN PLAYER TO MAKE EVERYONE MAD]?

Is he Dustin Martin 2.0?

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Is he getting too much hype?

Who can say? Apart from everyone on social media.

dan