Fiorenza saw Ryan fly way be­fore I did

Midwest Times - - SPORT - Peter Sweeney

For­mer Rovers and GNFL coach Dave Fiorenza used to tell me about this bloke called “Flyin’ Ryan”.

As much as I re­spect Fiorenza and his take on foot­ballers and the game in gen­eral, I didn’t take much no­tice.

Un­til a few years ago, when Fiorenza one day brought his footy team to Mullewa, a club I was pres­i­dent of at the time. Two of his play­ers were Liam Ryan and his dad, Dar­ren, bet­ter known as “Snotty”. Now Mullewa weren’t hav­ing a good year, in fact, they were hav­ing a shocker. But, as many will at­test, no mat­ter how badly Mullewa are track­ing, beat­ing them on their own dunghill is a pretty de­mand­ing as­sign­ment.

Liam Ryan, who was 22 yes­ter­day, had, from re­ports, played a pretty good game of footy for a com­bined team in Man­durah the day be­fore. He’d be tired. Snotty was get­ting too old to be run­ning around and there had been a bit of ten­sion be­tween fam­i­lies lead­ing into the game. But the pair kicked goal af­ter goal af­ter goal — fa­ther kicked four in the last stanza — to rip the Saints to shreds.

Af­ter that, one be­gan pay­ing more at­ten­tion to Fiorenza. More re­cently, I asked him if he had seen Liam Ryan’s mark of the week on The Footy Show when he was play­ing for Su­bi­aco in the WAFL. “No, I didn’t. But I didn’t have to,” Fiorenza replied. “I used to see marks like that ev­ery Tues­day and Thurs­day night at train­ing.”

Now the world has seen what Fiorenza saw for years.

Pic­ture: Getty

Liam Ryan with his daugh­ter River dur­ing the AFL grand fi­nal pa­rade in Mel­bourne.

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