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Flyin' Ryan makes successful return to help West Coast's WAFL team snap 28-game losing streak

Jackson Clark -

West Coast high-flyer Liam Ryan has made a successful return to football, helping the Eagles snap a 28-game losing streak in the WAFL.

The former All-Australian played in defence and was impressive with his speed and pressure around the contest in what was his first game back after a hamstring injury.

His 19 disposals and five inside-50s was enough to see him named in the Eagles’ best players.

West Coast 13.17 (95) defeated East Fremantle 14.7 (91) at Mineral Resources Park on Sunday.

Eagles coach Adam Simpsons told media that he would consider playing Ryan across half back when he is deemed ready to return to AFL level.

“We’ve been training him as a half-back for the past five weeks since coming back,” Simpson said.

“One to give him a bit of excitement to return because he’s been out for a long time, and two, the game’s built off back-half transition as much as front half, and the skill level he can bring it’s pretty good.

Liam Ryan in action for the West Coast Eagles. (Image: Getty Images)

“While we haven’t been scoring a lot in that front half and he’ll add in that area, but to upskill him in another role might pay us back down the road.

“It’s not to say we’ll do it every week but learning the craft of a rebounding defender is something we can bank.”

The 2018 premiership player has played 89 games and kicked 123 goals since being selected with pick 26 in the 2017 AFL National Draft.

The 27-year-old has struggled with hamstring injuries over the past 12 months, but now looks fit and ready to go.

Simpson said that he wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Ryan playing in the club’s ‘derby’ match against Fremantle on Saturday night.

“We’ll see how he pulls up. He played probably 70 or 80 minutes," he said.

“It’s great to have some (selection) conversations.”

Jamaine Jones is another who impressed in the Eagles’ drought-breaking WAFL win.

Jones was named among West Coast’s best players with 24 disposals and five tackles, while youngster Tyrell Dewar kicked an important goal during the second term.


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