Freo’s Luke Ryan continues to fly under the radar as one of the game’s most important defenders after stepping up as a tall backman against the Suns.
The 187cm Ryan played as a key defender on Saturday at Metricon Stadium, limiting opponent Sam Day to just two marks and a goal despite Day having a 10cm advantage in the contests.
Ryan earned the praise of fellow defender Stephen Hill, who said Ryan’s contribution was crucial with injured defenders Joel Hamling and Alex Pearce on the sidelines.
“You’re always going to have injuries and we just need the next guys to step in,” Hill said.
“I think we’ve really come together as a backline and really bonded well.
“We’re working together really well and I think it’s given opportunity to other players to come in and step up and play those roles.
“Luke Ryan had to step up and play taller at the weekend and I thought he did a really good job. It’s just going to give opportunities to other players and I feel like we’re working well together.”
Hill said 19-year-old Hayden Young was already a crucial addition to Freo’s defence with the no.7 draft pick impressing against Gold Coast with his skill and courage in the air.
“I’ve been really impressed with the way (Young’s) been going about his footy and especially on the weekend, he was courageous and he’s an exciting player,” Hill said.
“We’ve got a pretty young list and those guys (Fremantle’s 2019 draft class) are exciting players. It makes me feel younger running around with them.
“They’re great kids and really good footy players so I’m looking forward to seeing them grow over the next couple of years.”
“I’d put (Young) up there in top couple of the best kicks in the team. He has a damaging left foot so he’s be up there.”