West Coast midfielder Elliot Yeo couldn’t contain his excitement after seeing Liam Ryan’s spectacular mark on Friday night, but he reckons the one from Ashley Sampi in 2004 was a tad better.
Ryan sent Eagles fans into overdrive when he soared into the side of Melbourne ruckman Max Gawn to take a mark of the year contender.
The spectacular grab quickly led to comparisons to Sampi’s mark of the year effort in 2004, when he stood almost upright after soaring onto the shoulders of Andrew Embley and Adem Yze.
— AFL GIFS (@AFL_GIFS) May 1, 2017
West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui’s mark of the year in 2015 is also in the conversation when it comes to rating the club’s ‘best ever’ grabs.
But in a direct comparison between Sampi and Ryan’s marks, Yeo said Sampi gets the cake.
“That was pretty big, pretty epic,” Yeo said of Sampi’s mark.
“If you had to draw comparisons, I think maybe Sampi’s might be just on top. He was standing.
“But Liam’s was on top of one of the tallest blokes on the field, so it’s one of those things where you have to weigh it up.”
Ryan’s mark came with just nine minutes remaining in the match and with scores level.
How about this hanger from @WestCoastEagles walking highlights package Liam Ryan 😱 Could be an early call for our Round 8 mark of the week! 👏🏼 #AFLEaglesDees #afl #mark #hanger #goal #MarkOfTheWeek #TheAFLFootyCast pic.twitter.com/Dv8TgaeMSu
— The AFL Footy Cast (@afl_cast) May 17, 2019
The ensuing goal gave West Coast a lead they never relinquished on the way to a 16-point win.
“It was pretty energising,” Yeo said of Ryan’s mark.
“I pretty much came up and hugged him. He hadn’t even kicked the goal yet either.
“That’s how electric he can be.”
Ryan’s fireworks painted over some worrying signs for West Coast.
The Eagles lost the inside 50s (62-47), contested possessions (158-141), hitouts (59-20) and clearances (39-33), but secured the win following a dominant last quarter.
It continued a trend for West Coast, who have struggled to recapture the form that led to last year’s premiership triumph.
“Last year we were the hunters, and now we’re the hunted,” Yeo said.
“It was always going to be a tough year. Most teams always put their best foot forward against us now.
“Being the reigning premiers is quite difficult.
“Looking back on it, last year we were the same against Richmond – basically whenever you play the reigning premiers it’s almost like a grand final for that team.
“We’re trying to get around that and trying to play our best football as well.”
West Coast will be aiming to make it four wins on the trot when they take on the Crows in Adelaide on Saturday.
Lewis Jetta will miss the match after copping a one-match suspension for a rough tackle on Tim Smith, while Daniel Venables (concussion) is also expected to be out.