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Flyin' Ryan fails to fire in WAFL return

Lai mRyan is no certainty to come straight back in for the Eagles next week - AFL,WAFL,Liam Ryan
Lai mRyan is no certainty to come straight back in for the Eagles next week

WEST Coast forward Liam Ryan flashed in and out on his return to football, booting a couple of first-quarter goals before fading in East Perth's thumping 61-point win over Swan Districts on Saturday.

Ryan was unavailable for AFL selection for a second match after breaching the players' code of conduct by being out too late and drinking alcohol before he crashed his car into a tree 12 days ago.

In his first appearance for East Perth, after making his name with 113 goals in 39 games for Subiaco, Ryan was held to seven touches following a lively start.

He booted a third major after a goalsquare smother in the final term, but it remains to be seen if the Eagles' match committee will be swayed ahead of next Sunday's clash with the Bulldogs.

Ryan's availability also remains clouded while a police investigation continues into his traffic incident and, if the Eagles need another speedy forward, Jack Petruccelle (three goals, 12 disposals) was arguably more dangerous on a wintry day at Bassendean Oval.

"I'm not 100 per cent sure (on Ryan's AFL availability)," East Perth coach Luke Webster said post-match.

"I would say that now getting through today they'll see what happens tomorrow and how he trains throughout the week.  

"I'm sure over the next few weeks he's probably up for selection at some stage. 

"Today, I thought as much as he didn't get his hands on the footy a great deal, what we want from Liam is the defensive pressure you would've seen from him today.

"I think his form is starting to get there."

It was East Perth's first game since the board announced a shock decision to end its alignment with West Coast and 14 Eagles helped the Royals snap a six-game losing streak and jump into the WAFL top five.

Out-of-favour midfielder Dom Sheed was excellent in the clinches, backing up his 34-disposal performance last week with 37 touches, seven inside 50s and a goal to push his case again after being overlooked for a fourth-straight West Coast game.

Key defender Tom Barrass got through his first game for six weeks after a back injury and wasn't overworked in the 18.7 (115) to 8.6 (54) victory.

Nathan Vardy was the dominant big man with 66 hit-outs and a goal from 16 touches, while Brendon Ah Chee's (18 disposals, five marks, two goals) aerial work was a highlight as he found some form after being dropped.

Strongly-built onballer Hamish Brayshaw (25 possessions, seven tackles and two goals) showed promise in only his second senior WAFL appearance, while running half-back Jackson Nelson (25 touches) was also influential.

Ryan started slowly but lit up the contest with two goals inside a minute in the opening term.

His first came after a pin-point pass on the lead 30m out from goal, with every Royals player on the ground flocking to celebrate with the 21-year-old.

When a high ball came forward from the next centre bounce, Ryan went to launch for a trademark screamer and slipped, but quickly got to his feet, received a handball and split the middle from 45m.

The Royals kicked with a stiff breeze in the opening term and had the contest by the scruff of the neck after slotting seven goals to two.

Half-back Josh Rotham played no part after quarter-time after concerns about concussion following a sickening collision in a marking contest on the siren.

Rotham stayed down as players broke for their huddles and couldn't get to his feet at the first attempt, but was eventually helped from the field by trainers.

"I've just seen him in the changerooms, he's up and about," Webster said.

"Hopefully he pulls up really well and we can use him next week."

The Royals were down to two on the bench early after Jaxon Cahill came from the ground with an apparent leg issue but were too good for fourth-placed Swans, who have now lost five-in-a-row.