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Mayne Football Club

Mayne AFC

Ryan Eyles – 100 games of courage and determination

Ryan Eyles plays his 100th senior game for the Mayne Football Club this Saturday in one of the most memorable and moving milestones the Tigers will ever celebrate.


Eylesy as he is affectionately known came to the Tigers at the beginning of 2016 with a strong reputation as a tough competitor thanks to the recruiting efforts of one of his best mates in Fraser Thompson, a two times Tiger Premiership player at the time and soon to be three timer. The boys had grown up playing at Aspley Football Club through the ranks and but for a quirk of fate with the Hornets playing in the NEAFL at the time, they may never have ventured to the Tigers but thanks heavens they did. Ryan’s family football history is long and decorated with his Grandfather Graham Turner, a former President and long term servant of the Hornets while his father Peter played, coached, served on Boards and is a Life Member at the Graham Road club. Ryan’s brothers Justin and Trent were similarly very good players in their own right.


Eylesy wasn’t able to break into the star studded senior line up that year which went on to take out their third premiership in three years. However, there was significant youth and depth in the playing group with the Reserve Grade able to repeat the same feat. Ryan was part of the 2016 Reserve Grade Premiership and completed an outstanding first year at the club sharing in the Graham Walters Best and Fairest with Jamie Ivers, another emerging senior player of the day.


It was a wonderful time for the Tigers with much to celebrate but there was something more sinister at play for Ryan. At the conclusion of the Grand Final, Ryan commented to his father that he did not feel all that well. The feeling did not improve so with the support of his family Ryan undertook a series of tests and investigations which led to the devastating diagnosis of Hodgkins Lymphoma and that there was a mass in his chest the size of an Auskick football limiting him to one fully functioning lung. He was only 23 years of age. The questions arises as to how did he play in that Grand Final? This goes to the legend in the Tigers Den that is Ryan Eyles.


In an amazing off season, Ryan set about doing all that was asked of him by doctors and specialists to overcome the deadly illness undergoing a range of treatments to which he miraculously responded very well and was ready to play again in 2017 much to every one of his family, friends and supporters delight.


He has been a fixture in the Tigers senior group ever since performing at the highest level in numerous capacities, whether it is down back taking on the opposition’s best forward, creating opportunities for his teammates as the inside mid or tagging the most dangerous opponent, he can do it all.


Eylesy was also selected in the South Queensland team which played North Queensland in Cairns in 2021 in recognition of his considerable ability and standing in the wider football community.


He sustained a terrible facial injury in 2023 which might have seen most players call time on their career but he has been revitalised in 2024, enjoying his footy as much as ever with a new assignment as a key forward which he is unsurprisingly performing at the highest level averaging two goals a game.


It is clear that Eylesy is possessed with not only skill and talent, he is a very tough competitor and there is many an opposition player that has had their bones rattled by his fearsome tackles. He has on occasion suffered at the hands of the officiating umpires when they are taken to fright by the ferocity of his tackle albeit that it was very legal. Full contact at training has plenty of his teammates on edge as well.


He now plays his 100th game in an amazing effort of mental strength and courage which epitomises just how hard it can be to get to this milestone. All of Eylesy’s team mates, coaches and supporters will share in this weekend’s excitement and be cheering him on for another great game.


The following comments and well wishes from some of his team mates and coaches attests to the regard and esteem in which he is held.


Congratulations Eylesy! A massive achievement to get to 100 senior games in any career, but to do it under the challenges you have faced is inspiring.

Eylesy is one of the toughest players I have played with. The opposition (and sometimes team mates!) are always aware when he is going for the ball, because nothing gets in his way. 

I feel very lucky to have played many of those 100 games with you mate and hope you have many more ahead of you. Good luck for the weekend and give em some Tiger fury!

Well done legend! 

Dean Hartley


Eylesy is up there with Daly and Paterson as the hardest, toughest player I have played with. You always know what you will get from Eylesy, which is 100% effort and hard attack on the ball and the man. Has been one of my favourite players to play with at Mayne!

Eylesy has also had to overcome some serious injuries and illness and the way he has responded and been able to overcome those issues and still be one of the hardest and most committed blokes at the club is a testament to who he is as a person. 

Really happy and proud that he has reached this massive milestone and looking forward to running out with him for a big game for him and the club Saturday!

Jack Collings


Congrats Eylesy, Great effort to reach this milestone and has been great to play a lot of these games with you down back. Very physical and tough player who always gives 100% for the team. Would hate to have been a forward who had Ryan playing on them as they had to earn it at every contest.  Now it is good to see him up forward kicking goals!!

Sam Paterson


Eylesy is the type of team mate you love playing with and love to coach because you know what you're going to get every game... a relentless attack on the contest and a will to win! Playing with this level of intensity can come at a cost and no doubt he would have got to 100 games earlier if he was a more passive type of player, but that is not in his DNA. It's this mindset that has helped him to overcome some serious injuries and health scares along the way which makes the milestone even more impressive! 

I wish you all the best for the weekend and the rest of the season. 

Josh Duffy


Eylesy is one of those players every team needs. A tough and extremely versatile player who will give his all for the team whether that’s in a role down back, through the midfield and up forward. I have been lucky to have played footy with Eylsey since our Junior days and after a few years of persistence I was able to convince him to join the Tigers in 2016. He slotted seamlessly into Tiger culture both on and off the field and was a huge part of the club’s success that year despite playing over half the year with what turned out to be serious illness. 

I feel courageous is one of the most fitting words to describe Eylsey, both on and off the field. On the field he attacks the ball and the contest as tough and as fair as anyone I have played with. Across all the games I have played with Eylsey I cannot remember one instance where he hasn’t put his head over the footy when it was his turn to go, or put his body on the line when the team needs it. Off the field, the courage he demonstrated to fight and overcome serious illness is inspirational.

Eylsey, congratulations on your 100 games mate. It’s been an honour to have been a part of the journey. All the best on the weekend mate!

Fraser Thompson


Eylesy is genuinely as tough as they come and the perfect teammate. He is the ultimate competitor and everyone walks a little taller knowing he’s out there on the field. 

Incredible achievement, especially considering everything you have been through mate. All the best for the weekend, no doubt you’ll add to your list of victims on Saturday and hopefully celebrate with another victory.

Jordan Morrison


Eylesy, one of those blokes that you do your best to avoid at training due to his fierce attack on the ball and sometimes the body. As tough and courageous as they come, the type of player you always want in your side! Congratulations on reaching the 100 game milestone Eylesy. I’m already prepping my “1 more year speech.”

Jack Gartlan


Congrats on the 100 games Eylesy! Eyles is someone I absolutely love running out next to every week. He is a fantastic team mate and embodies what it means to be a true tiger! I need to thank him for dragging me out from countless packs after I get myself into some push and shove situations that I can’t get myself out of. All the best in game 100 mate, I’ll be avoiding you at training tonight to make sure I’m able to play Saturday! 

Zac McLean



 

 

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