It’s hard to imagine a West Australian moving to Melbourne is something of a homecoming, but an existing bond with Ross Lyon and Bradley Hill has played a significant role in Liam Henry’s move to St Kilda.

Henry, 22, joined the Saints on Monday afternoon from the Dockers in exchange for a future second-round pick and a swap of future fourth-round selections.

The proud Walmatjarri/Noongar man was a member of Fremantle’s Next Generation Academy at the time now-Saints coach Ross Lyon was at the Dockers’ helm and Bradley Hill was roaming the wing in purple.

It’s a connection that’s paid huge dividends for St Kilda, four years after Henry was selected at pick nine in the 2019 National Draft.

The 22-year-old says the ties formed with Lyon and Hill during his formative years in Perth were a driving factor in his decision to become a Saint.

“Reconnecting with Ross and hearing his story on why he wanted to come back to coaching…and the change and them playing finals this year. He was a big part of it,” Henry said.

“Bradley Hill as well. He was a good source I could lean on to get that insight into what the club was like, the atmosphere, the culture and how they operate in the four walls which is really what got me over the line.

I couldn’t be happier reconnecting with those two, which really helped me decide what I needed to do and where my future was heading.

A stay at the Hill household to find his feet will be the perfect introduction for the emerging wingman.

“Bradley and his family have welcomed me with open arms, and I think that will get me settled in straight away to learn the ropes with him and learn the St Kilda way.”

After starting his career as a dashing small forward, Henry spent the 2023 season flourishing on a wing, averaging a career-high 20 disposals across 16 games, including a 32-possession, three Brownlow vote performance in Round 15 against Essendon.

The lure of dazzling crowds in football heartland is a childhood dream and one Henry hopes to fulfil in the red, white and black.

“I’ve always wanted to play in Melbourne. Obviously, it’s the home of footy and everything happens around Melbourne and the atmosphere is pretty crazy,” Henry said.

“Last year I went and watched the Grand Final which was a really good motivation…I’ve always wanted to play in Melbourne as a young kid and dreaming that I was out there on the MCG one day and hopefully that will come true.”


But it’s not just football drawing the creative youngster to Melbourne.

Co-founder of Indigenous clothing brand, Tied to Culture, Henry boasts a passion for fashion and hopes to expand his interest into the thriving Melbourne streetwear scene.

The label launched in Perth in 2018 with some modelling help of now-teammate Hill.

“The atmosphere and the footy life in Melbourne (is enticing), but also outside the footy world there’s a lot of opportunities that come with it,” Henry said.

“I’m really into my fashion, so there’s definitely a lot of opportunities that come with the fashion side of things and growing my business to make something out of it after footy.

It’s what I’m really passionate about, my culture and fashion.

As if Henry needed further endearing to the St Kilda faithful, he may have already sorted their holiday shopping.

“I’ve just recently designed a St Kilda coloured tie that hopefully will come out in the next two weeks - hopefully Christmas presents will be flying off the shelf,” Henry laughed.

Henry is the latest addition to St Kilda’s talented Indigenous contingent of Bradley Hill, Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera, Marcus Windhager and Isaac Keeler, along with J’Noemi Anderson and Nat Plane in the club’s AFLW program.

Having been sought after by multiple rival clubs, the new Saint is eager to immerse himself in his chosen destination.

“I’m just keen to get settled and earn my stripes,” Henry said.

“I think I’m a utility player and I really like to be around the ball. Hopefully Ross allows me to play a little bit around the ball in that sort of role in and out as a winger and maybe some time forward.

“I’m pretty excited to get over, meet everyone and get my legs ticking over in the St Kilda colours.”