He is certainly serious about looking at his options. Meeting Brisbane tonight. This cost us an elimination final and will cost us dearly if he leaves. I am very sad.
Paddy Ryder meets with Brisbane Lions head honchos as he weighs up future at Essendon
- Jon Anderson and Andrew Hamilton
- News Corp Australia
- September 16, 2014 4:05PM
Roos and Thompson on James Frawley & Paddy Ryder
AFL. Essendon v Port Adelaide at Etihad Stadium. Paddy Ryder gets a kick away
ESSENDON‘S Paddy Ryder will meet Lions officials in Brisbane tonight.
The Bombers ruckman was scheduled to arrive late this afternoon with his partner Jess McDonald, a Queenslander, for a barbecue with Lions football manager Dean Warren, coach Justin Leppitsch and CEO Greg Swann to hear their pitch for his much sought-after signature.
The Lions are one of three clubs - the others are Port Adelaide and GWS - who are attempting to lure Ryder away from Essendon.
The Lions claim to be unaware which direction Ryder will head but an official told The Courier Mail his visit to Brisbane showed the club was â€œin the game.â€
Clubs chasing star Jake Carlisle and Paddy Ryder
Port Adelaide‘s ability to offer immediate finals action is seen as a major attraction to Ryder, who has played just two finals with Essendon in 170 games since debuting in 2006.
Plus the Power can boast a proud tradition of providing a happy home for indigenous players, dating back to their 2004 premiership side that contained Peter and Shaun Burgoyne, Byron Pickett and Gavin Wanganeen.
The Bombers have made an offer of an upgraded contract to Ryder, who still has two years to run on his existing deal.
But it is believed they are still as much as $200,000 short of what he could earn if he activated a clause that would allow him to leave Essendon.
Paddy Ryder devastated as Essendon‘s season ends. Picture: Michael Klein
Ryder was set for more talks with Bomber officials this morning.
Brisbane made it known they were prepared to offer Ryder a four-year deal, believed to be worth upwards of $2.5 million, when they heard he was unhappy at Essendon and was prepared to activate a clause argued for by the AFL Players Association that would allow him to break his contract over fears for his health owing to the club‘s peptide regime.
Ryder, 26, has just completed his finest season in the ruck for the Bombers which, combined with his ability to play in the ruck and up forward, makes him hot property.
He is also remarkably durable having averaged 20 games for his last eight seasons.
Should the Lions secure Ryder they will find themselves in a very healthy rucking position, with Matthew Leuenbeger, Stefan Martin and Trent West already on the list.
Should Ryder leave Windy Hill, it will leave the Bombers desperate for another ruckman given they only have the injury-prone Tom Bellchambers and rookie 21-year-old Fraser Thurlow on their books. At 202cm Joe Daniher can play that role but wants to play as a key forward.
Sydney remains the wildcard in the race for Ryder with the club heavily reliant on 30-year-old Mike Pyke. As for how they could possibly fit Ryder into their salary cap, Ryan O‘Keefe‘s departure will help and there is a growing expectation that 2014 All-Australian Nick Malceski will also seek a new home.