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West Coast Eagles

2018 Player Review: Liam Ryan

Best of 2018 - Ryan Liam Ryan was already an excitement machine in the WAFL, and it's no surprise he brought that trademark flair to the AFL in 2018

Liam Ryan’s rookie AFL season had it all. Highs, lows and premiership glory. The 2017 Bernie Naylor medallist got fans’ tongues wagging with some promising performances at the start of the year before he suffered an ankle injury that sidelined him for 10 weeks. Ryan took some time to work his way back to form, but he had a breakout game against Fremantle in round 10 (15 disposals, three goals) before preparing for his first finals campaign with a three-goal haul against Brisbane in the final home and away fixture of the year. Ryan was brilliant in the qualifying and preliminary finals against Collingwood and Melbourne respectively, and stepped up in some crucial moments in the grand final to help West Coast secure its fourth AFL premiership.

Premiership play: A mark for the ages
To say Liam Ryan’s grand final was a rollercoaster of highs and lows would be the understatement of the century. The first-year Eagle appeared nervy at moments, dropping marks and missing shots at goal that he would normally convert with ease. But when his moment came, the 21-year-old delivered. With just 2.25 minutes remaining on the clock, Ryan went back with the flight of the ball and soared over Magpies Jack Crisp and Tom Langdon – plus teammate Mark Hutchings – and reeled in a miraculous contested mark. He got to his feet quickly, wrestled the Sherrin off Langdon, and delivered a perfect pass to Dom Sheed, who kicked the match-winning goal.

Season averages:

Disposals: 11.5
Contested possessions: 6.3
Score involvements: 5.5
Marks: 2.9
Inside 50s: 2.5
Tackles: 1.9
Goals: 1.5

2018 AFL statistical rankings:

17th: Bounces per game