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St Kilda star Paddy Ryder has slammed a report claiming he and fellow Saints player Brad Hill were left out of the team for last weekend's clash with Sydney for disciplinary reasons.
An irritated Ryder took to social media to rubbish the report, which suggested he and Hill had been involved in an altercation with patrons at a Mordialloc bar in the days after their round 14 loss to Essendon.
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The club has also moved swiftly to deny the report, which claimed Ryder and Hill, along with a third player, left after security at the venue became involved.
The Saints, via a statement released on Tuesday morning, said neither Hill nor Ryder was left out of the side due to any incident.
Ryder missed the loss to Sydney for injury management reasons, while Hill had been absent from training earlier in the week for personal reasons, with the winger not selected as a result.
The ruckman posted on Twitter, demanding the source of the report come forward.
“I wasn’t involved in any altercation which has come through the media outlets tonight,” Ryder wrote on Monday evening.
“Just want to make that clear. Anyone have anything different to say please come forward, show your face and name yourself. I’ll wait. Good night all.”
In a statetemnt on Tuesday morning, the Saints said the pair had the club's full support and outlined the reasons why they weren't selected last weekend.
I wasn’t involved in any altercation which has come through the media outlets tonight. Just want to make that clear. Anyone have anything different to say please come forward, show your face and name yourself. I’ll wait. Good night all
— Paddy Ryder (@PRyder4) June 27, 2022
The Saints did confirm that there had been a verbal altercation at the Mordialloc venue, but that the three players had left immediately afterwards.
“Reports this evening stating that Paddy Ryder and Bradley Hill were not part of the Saints’ round 15 team due to disciplinary reasons are incorrect,” the club stated.
“Both Ryder and Hill, accompanied by another teammate, attended a venue in Mordialloc on the Saturday after our Round 14 match against Essendon on the Friday night,” the Saints said.
“Following a verbal exchange and disagreement with fellow patrons, all three left the venue without a fight ensuing.
“As previously communicated by the Club, this incident had no impact on selection, with Ryder missing due to ongoing management and Hill for personal reasons which meant that he was unable to train on both Monday and Tuesday and not in a condition to take his place in the side against the Swans.”
Saints' AFL season hangs in the balance after losing streak
The Saints (8-6) have slipped to 10th on the ladder following three straight losses.
Saturday's 51-point loss was St Kilda's worst of the season, with the heavy defeat putting the heat on coach Brett Ratten.
Ryder and Hill are two of St Kilda's most important players, and it remains to be seen whether they will be slotted back into the side for Friday night's crunch clash with Carlton at Marvel Stadium.
A reliance on Max King has been a concern in recent weeks as the Saints form has crumbled since the bye and with their spearhead shut down there were few other options inside their forward 50.
King went goalless for the first time since round 11 last year, ending with eight disposals and four marks but Saints coach Ratten refused to criticise the 21-year-old or his fellow forwards.
"Good luck to Max. Kick the ball like that to anyone, he could be Tony Lockett, Jason Dunstall, you've got no chance," Ratten said.
The Saints were sitting in the top four when they entered the bye with an 8-3 record but have lost their three matches since then to Brisbane, Essendon and now Sydney.
The form slump has seen the Saints tumble out of the top eight with a crucial run of games against fellow finals contenders Carlton, Fremantle and Western Bulldogs to come in the next three weeks.
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