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18 Mar

Eagles forward Liam Ryan charged with drink driving on eve of grand final

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West Coast’s preparations for a second grand final in four seasons have been thrown into disarray after impressive first-year forward Liam Ryan was charged with drink driving over a car crash in early July.
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The 21-year-old allegedly crashed a Toyota Rav 4 into a tree on July 2 and was found by police nearby at an Armadale park just after 6am, before being taken to Armadale Hospital for a health assessment.

West Coast’s Liam Ryan has been charged with drink driving on the eve of the grand final. Photo: AAP

Ryan said the mid-season incident “straightened me up” in an interview following West Coast’s comeback victory over the Pies at Optus Stadium in the first week of finals.

He paid particular tribute to Eagles full-forward Josh Kennedy and defender Lewis Jetta for helping him through some personal issues.

But on Thursday the club confirmed Ryan had been formally charged by police, who had been waiting for blood test results taken from the mature-aged AFL rookie.

Ryan will appear at Armadale Magistrates Court on October 9 on a drink driving charge of exceeding 0.08g alcohol per 100ml of blood.

The livewire forward has had a brilliant debut season for West Coast and an impressive first finals series to help the club qualify for its second grand final in four seasons.

West Coast in a statement on Thursday afternoon said it would continue to support the no.26 draft pick in dealing with the incident.

“While Ryan was suspended for two AFL games by the club at the time, it has and will continue to work closely with him, with his health and wellbeing always being a priority,” the club said.

“The club has kept the AFL informed of all circumstances around this incident and Liam has at all times co-operated fully with police.

“The club understands the media interest around the situation, but as this is an ongoing legal matter and it involves sensitive personal issues around Liam’s health and well being, there will be no further comment until the legal process has been concluded.”

Ryan earlier this month said the car crash came at a time of personal tumult.

“I had a bit of stuff going on off the field. But now I’m fine, I’m all cleared with all that, and just focused on finals footy,” he said.

Ryan has averaged 12 disposals and just under two goals a game in 12 matches for the Eagles in 2018, including six majors in his past three outings.

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