“He is a pretty special player, I love him. I can’t help that, he’s the best ruckman in the competition.”
Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley certainly made his feelings known after Paddy Ryder turned in a dominant display in the Power’s 32 point victory over West Coast yesterday at Domain Stadium.
Paddy Ryder’s return
Ryder finished the day as one of the best players on the ground with 17 disposals, 5 marks, 6 tackles, 2 goals and 39 hit outs as he put on a ruck masterclass.
The return of the 29 year old has been critical for Port Adelaide in 2017. The ruckman has not looked out of place at all after missing the entire 2016 season while serving a WADA imposed ban.
Along with Hinkley his West Coast counterpart, Adam Simpson was also full of praise for Paddy Ryder after yesterday’s game.
“Ryder is the No.1 ruckman in the comp at the moment. He would be an All-Australian straight up walk-in selection in my eyes.”
Paddy stats in 2017
Statistically Paddy Ryder is averaging similar disposals to previous years (12.6 per match). But one of the big improvements for the 29 year old has been hit out totals. Currently averaging 34.6 hit outs per match. Ryder’s highest average previously was the 2014 season for Essendon where he averaged 26.1.
While the Port ruckman is ranked seventh for total hit outs, his quality of taps is where he has really shown his true value. The Power midfield has benefited greatly from his return and taps to advantage.
The high flying ruckman also showing his value around the ground with his ability to take marks currently ranked ninth in the competition for contested marks.
The battle for All-Australian selection
Matthew Kreuzer has had a brilliant season for Carlton. He will certainly be in the All-Australian frame and quite possibly just ahead of Ryder currently. Unfortunately he missed the clash with Port Adelaide earlier this season due to injury in what would have been a fascinating match up.
In the remaining games this year Ryder will likely come up against the likes of Todd Goldstein, Max Gawn, Sam Jacobs and Brodie Grundy who are all quality players.
Grundy in particular has been very impressive in a tough year for Collingwood. He may have his own claims to be in the All-Australian discussion.
Season 2017 has been one of unpredictability so who knows what will happen in the coming weeks.
A good showing against quality opposition however will do Paddy Ryder’s All-Australian chances no harm. And if selected this would be great reward for what has been a brilliant return to AFL football.