The extraordinary footballing story of Liam Ryan has added another remarkable chapter with the West Coast star tonight selected in the All-Australian team.
Ryan was named in the forward pocket in the All-Australian team after a stunning season inside 50 for the Eagles which finished with 25 goals and 95 score involvements.
He was one of only two men to kick 20 goals and have 90 score involvements.
The other player to achieve that, Geelong power forward Tom Hawkins, was tonight picked at full-forward.
Ryan rise to the AFL’s team of the year came in just his third AFL season.
He won a premiership in his first year after taking an amazing mark in the dying stages which allowed him to pass to Dom Sheed for the winning goal.
Then last year, Ryan won the mark of the year with an extraordinary leap over Melbourne ruckman Max Gawn at Optus Stadium.
The Eagles desperately needed a small forward to step up this year after losing Willie Rioli (ASADA suspension) and Daniel Venables (concussion) for the entire season.
Then Jamie Cripps returned home for the birth of his son and missed the last four matches.
Ryan was at his best when West Coast were in desperate need.
The 23-year-old’s footballing story is unique. He remained playing in Geraldton instead of joining WAFL pathway programs, then signed with Subiaco as a 19-year-old.
Ryan kicked 40 goals and took a series of spectacular marks in his debut WAFL season, but clubs still overlooked him in the draft.
He responded with 73 goals the next season as the WAFL’s leading goalkicker and West Coast pounced at pick 26 in the national draft.
Ryan took no time to make an impact on the AFL with his marking capturing everyone’s attention.
But his ability to bring teammates into the game and create goals have been his biggest weapon.