West Coast Eagles premiership player Liam Flyin Ryan a credit to Rovers Football Club

Peter FiorenzaGeraldton Guardian
Liam Ryan takes a screamer for Rovers in a game against Mullewa.
Camera IconLiam Ryan takes a screamer for Rovers in a game against Mullewa. Credit: SnapAction, www.snapaction.com.au

I’m always fascinated by the term six degrees of separation and the fact there is a line of connection to everyone, place or incident.

And today, in this modern world of advanced technology and communication it would seem, something that years ago looked so removed from our own realities, is well and truly in our grasp.

Recently, I was at a function when I was again reminded of this.

It was the Rover Football Club’s Club Champion Awards.

Just like all local sporting clubs, it was the annual wind-up, where everyone comes together to celebrate the end of a sporting season and give out a few awards.

Except on this night, something happened that created something a little special.

Earlier that day, the West Coast Eagles had thrashed Melbourne to advance to the AFL Grand Final.

On the off chance, the local club tried to contact former player Liam Ryan who starred in the winning side.

Liam grew up in Geraldton, playing football with the Demons. It is a heartening story of a knock-about indigenous boy making it to the pinnacle of his sport.

Only three years ago, Liam was playing colts and league for Rovers in the Great Northern Football League.

As luck would have it, the club got hold of “Flyin” Ryan, and he was able to chat via speakerphone as part of an interview with the assembled crowd.

And from the moment the likeable youngster started talking, you could have heard a pin drop in packed room.

Young underage players, league regulars, partners, club stalwarts and other invited guest seemed to hang on every word, as Liam talked about his life at the West Coast Eagles, and his football attributes.

Among the laughs and jokes, he spoke about why he was enjoying his time at West Coast so much.

In all, the conversation lasted the best of five minutes but it was indeed something that truly united the room.

For the young colts players it was an inspiration, to older players, an example of what could be achieved, and for the older folk, a heartening reminder that life’s journey does not change who people are.

On that night Liam Ryan reminded me that we are all cut from the same cloth, the cloth can be taken many different places, and used in many different ways, but it still remains the same piece of cloth.

One thing Liam said that brought this home was, he will always love and never forget the Rover Football Club.

One of the very reasons he’s flying high.

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