Samson Ryan

height: 206cm

weight: 96kg

D.O.B: 09-12-2000

Leagues: AFL U18 Championships, Coates Talent League Boys

Picture credit: RF Photography


DRAFT ANALYSIS: "Ryan is a developing over-age ruckman who who dominates the hit-outs with his height and has plenty of potential." - Michael Alvaro

Brisbane Lions Academy graduate, Samson Ryan earned a late call-up to the Queensland Draft Combine in 2020, fresh off a promising season as Sherwood's primary ruck in the QAFL Seniors competition. The former Allies representative will turn 20-years-old on draft day (December 9), technically making him a mature-age prospect under the current format. He is well known to recruiters though, having come through the Lions' program and run out for Queensland at Under 17 level before going on to enjoy a stint in the Allies side. Ryan even came back as a 19-year-old in 2019 for the Lions, continuing his rate of development in the Academy Series to be thereabouts among the draft conversation. Having missed out, he has continued to hone his craft and remains a potential project player with plenty of upside as a mobile, 206cm key position prospect - now available in the open draft.


  • Height/size
  • Ruck work
  • Mobility
  • Upside


  • Consistency/raw
  • Endurance

While Ryan does most of the things you would expect of a 206cm player, much of the bigman's value and potential is also seen through his flashes at ground level and with ball in hand. It is hard to ignore his height though, which is often a factor as he out-jumps or out-reaches his opponents to win big hauls of hit-outs. He averaged 26 per his five NAB League games last year and managed 21 in his sole Allies outing, making for a decent rate. His size is also used to advantage in aerial contests, as Ryan can position himself under the drop of the ball and stand tall to pluck the ball out of the air. He is filling out quite rapidly too, up to 96kg as of the most recent combine measurements, which will only aid both his ability to wrestle in the ruck and to remain strong in contested marking situations. His vertical leap (72cm, running) is quite handy, making him hard to beat when allowed a run at the ball.

Back to Ryan's upside, and some of his most promising plays come when scooping up the ball off his laces. He is not overly quick but a decent strider over 20-metres (3.084 seconds), and is mobile enough to impact in bursts at the fall of the ball. Rucks who can not only win the hit-outs, but also through their body around in the follow-up are valuable commodities, and Ryan has the scope to do so. Something which may restrict that style of play around the ground is his endurance. He ran 2km in 7:23 at the draft combine, a below average result, though not disastrous for a player of his size. Should he improve in this category, Ryan would be able to impact more contests both aerially and at ground level, turning spurts of form into more consistent runs.

That sense of rawness is ironing out as he gains experience and size, with the opportunity to have played a full year of senior football paying off in 2020. Ryan has been a touch inconsistent over the journey in terms of output, but managed to provide enough balance to be named among Sherwood's best players across four of his nine QAFL outings this year, including both finals matches he ran out in. That reads as an improving level of consistency, with Ryan's attributes building towards a player who can really put his stamp on games and take over when required. He is not quite yet the finishes product, but could certainly get there with more work at the highest level possible. He was set to do so at NEAFL level before the competition was scrapped, which would arguably have aided his development even further.


Ryan would be an ideal project player taken in the rookie draft, most likely by a club which has the scope to develop him over the long-term behind an already dominant ruckman at senior level. His ties to the Brisbane Lions are no more given they passed on the opportunity to pick him up earlier, with clubs able to take him uncontested in the open draft, or later on. He now looks a talent more ready for that level and there will be interest there given he was requested to test at this year's draft combine. Ryan is the kind of player who could improve rapidly in an elite environment, but has quite a ways to go in his footballing development.

AFL U18 Championships


Coates Talent League Boys

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