West Coast Eagles small forward Liam Ryan is cementing his place as one of the AFL’s most exciting talents after pulling off an early contender for Mark of the Year.
Ryan scored an early goal in Saturday evening’s clash against Port Adelaide at Perth Stadium before sending the packed home crowd into a frenzy with an absurd grab in the second quarter.
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Leaping onto the shoulders of Power defender Darcy Byrne-Jones, the 24-year-old claimed the mark with his knees pressing into his opponent’s neck.
“Liam Ryan, every single week he thrills,” Channel 7 commentator Hamish McLachlan exclaimed. “Gets up, knocks his head on the moon, comes back.”
Western Bulldogs great Luke Darcy responded: “I thought he’d gone too early. He just hung there. He’s so exciting.”
Liam Ryan of the Eagles celebrates a goal.Source:Getty Images
Ryan then quickly returned to his feet and booted the Sherrin inside 50 towards teammate Josh Kennedy as the AFL community sang his praises.
Footy reporter Nat Edwards posted: “S**t that was awesome.”
The Herald Sun’s Jon Ralph tweeted: “He might be the most exciting player in footy.”
Fox Footy presenter Kath Loughnan said at halftime: “That’s got to be lead for Mark of the Year so far.”
Mark of the year. Yes thanks. #AFLeaglesport
Flyin Ryan. Wowwee #Afl#AFLEaglesPower
Ryan was awarded the Mark of the Year accolade in 2019 for his hanger on Melbourne Demons captain Max Gawn.
Tony Modra, Gary Ablett Sr, Billy Picken and Peter Knights are the only players to have won the Mark of the Year award on multiple occasions.
West Coast got their round three contest off to a flyer, racing to a comfortable 10.7 (67) to 2.3 (15) lead over the Power at halftime.
The hosts kicked four answered major before Port Adelaide finally got on the scoreboard, with Mitch Georgiades the club’s only goal-kicker in the first half.
Power legend Warren Tredrea tweeted: “West Coast too tough, desperate, ruthless, disciplined etc etc – Port embarrassing.”
Jamie Cripps and Kennedy both mustered two goals for the Eagles, while teammate Andrew Gaff recorded a game-high 20 disposals in the first half.
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