Eagles’ new cult figure emerges with an almighty leap
A NEW cult figure has emerged.
And his name is Liam Ryan.
The West Coast forward had produced his own highlights reel by the end of the Eagles' 52-point win over the Western Bulldogs on Sunday afternoon, with his high leaping sending the crowd into a frenzy.
The 21-year-old was threatening early in the first term, flying at every pack.
The crowd's voice rose as he did; the decibel of the 'oohs' and 'aahs' mimicking the height the mature age draftee was climbing to.
Then one stuck.
Ryan soared over a pack late in the first term. Blink and you might have missed it. But the sound told the story on its own.
While Ryan's set shot faded right, the highlights continued to roll on.
Jeremy Howe may have met his match.
Stand-in coach Jaymie Graham was full of praise for Ryan after the match, saying the forward's maturity is often overlooked because of his flashy plays.
"He's building. He had a good performance last week and this week it was great to see him take one of the marks we know he can take," Graham said.
"He's shown real consistency and maturity and I don't think enough people give him enough credit for how mature he is.
"He has been fantastic for us so far and it was good to see him have an impact."
At half-time, Ryan had racked up nine touches, six of which were contested, as well as four marks, three inside 50s and two goals.
It was a performance that left you salivating for more, and one that earmarked the high flyer as one of the most entertaining players in the league.
He seems likeable enough, too.
After strolling in for his second major, Liam slipped as he went to high five fans on the boundary.
He dusted himself off, laughing.
Liam's third major showed off more of his wares. A check-side kick from 35 metres put the Eagles up by 51 points in the final term.
And after he attended the next centre bounce and won the ball it was evident Ryan had more weapons in his arsenal.
A 'don't argue' at that same stoppage completed his collection of tricks perfectly.
While it's unclear how many games this young Eagles side will win this season, West Coast fans will have a front row seat to the Liam Ryan show every time they front up to a game.
And that's certainly worth turning up for.