Fiorenza saw Ryan fly way before I did
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.
Liam Ryan with his daughter River during the AFL grand final parade in Melbourne.