MELBOURNE, VICTORIA - SEPTEMBER 29: Liam Ryan of the Eagles celebrates the win with fans during the 2018 AFL Grand Final match between the Collingwood Magpies and the West Coast Eagles at Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 29, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Hawthorn is said to be setting itself to make off-season inquiries about the future of West Coast premiership forward Liam Ryan.

Ryan, 26, remains a contracted name at Lathlain until the cessation of 2024, however, should the one-time All-Australian express a desire to depart the Eagles' nest after another horror year for the club, a familiar face could act as the key to bringing the 26-year-old across the Nullarbor.

When breaking the story on Friday night, 7News' Mitch Cleary raised that familiarity between Ryan and Hawks coach Sam Mitchell, forged during their days working at West Coast, could aid any potential move.

Given Ryan's contracted status, Hawthorn would be required to part with picks to bring the goalsneak through the doors at Bunjil Bagora. At present, Mitchell's 16th-placed Hawks are armed with picks 3, 31, 49 and 75 ahead of the 2023 AFL Draft.

Should Ryan opt out of the final year of his deal, he could be joined in heading for the Eagles' exits by reigning best and fairest winner Tom Barrass, with the defender linked to a Harbour City shift. 

In his three games for Adam Simpson's cellar-dwelling side this season, Ryan has managed a total of four goals, 11 tackles and just 15 marks.

Ryan's season came to a premature close in Round 3 after the high-flyer injured his hamstring during the Eagles' 41-point Derby defeat to the Dockers.

Since making his senior debut during the opening round of the 2018 season, Ryan has donned the Eagles' royal blue and gold on 89 occasions, slotting 123 goals and 123 marks inside 50, including the 2019 AFL Mark of the Year.