Port star hits back over 'cowardly' racist attack

Port Adelaide star Paddy Ryder has vowed to continue the fight against racism after he was vilified on social media following the Power’s stunning win over West Coast.

An Adelaide member has been suspended indefinitely after he was found to have posted a vile comment on a Fox Footy Facebook thread on Friday night.

An image of Ryder was posted on Fox Footy’s social media account to commemorate his side’s 13.17 (95) to 8.5 (53) win over the West Coast Eagles.

However, in a disgusting attack on Power’s Indigenous star, one user commented on the post with three banana images, while another posted a shot of a banana stand.

Ryder, who has received a wave of support from the AFL, the AFL Players’ Association and fellow players, spoke to reporters at Adelaide Airport on Saturday on his return with the team from Perth.

Ryder was the target of an atrocious racist attack. Pic: Getty
Ryder was the target of an atrocious racist attack. Pic: Getty

“It’s really disappointing that another Aboriginal man is standing up here with this happening to us again,” Ryder said.

“It’s an attack on our culture and our people but we’re going to keep fighting the fight.

“We have a lot of good people supporting us and the AFL have been really supportive, we know it’s not something we’re going to eradicate overnight.

“We’ve just got to keep on it and keep educating people and hopefully one day we’ll get there.”

Ryder called on the suspended Crows member to come forward, own his actions and help educate others.

Gold Coast also launched an investigation after one of their supporters made a similar comment, but found the person was not a member and could not be sanctioned.

The incident follows similar racist comments levelled at West Coast’s Liam Ryan and Adelaide’s Eddie Betts this year.

“We all feel it, we as a club felt it when Eddie Betts went through it, Liam Ryan is my little cousin and I felt it when he went through it,” Ryder said.

“It’s not good.

“As Aboriginal people we are heavily out-numbered and that stops young people from chasing their dreams and going away from their community and families when this sort of stuff happens.

“Hopefully this doesn’t dampen the spirits of young boys out there who are looking to chase their dream.”

Port Adelaide released a statement after the incident, calling out the abhorrent racism and defending their player.

“Racism has no place in the AFL or our society more broadly,” it read. “It is divisive, hurtful and not welcome.

“The Port Adelaide Football Club is aware of a racist social media post directed at Paddy Ryder following last night’s game in Perth.

“Port Adelaide will support Paddy and its Indigenous players in dealing with the impact of this cowardly and ignorant comment, but it is clear that the AFL and its member clubs must remain vigilant in coming together to eradicate this behaviour.

“Paddy and all Indigenous players across our competition deserve so much better.”

The unsavoury incident left fans fuming on social media.

Power shock defending champs in Perth

West Coast officially have a weakness and Port Adelaide took full advantage to post a 42-point win in their clash at Optus Stadium.

Port booted nine goals to two in the opening half to set up the 13.17 (95) to 8.5 (53) triumph.

West Coast have proven to be the kings of dry-weather football, but slippery conditions are fast becoming an Achilles heel for the defending premiers.

In round one against Brisbane, West Coast copped a 44-point hammering in greasy conditions at the Gabba.

And against the Power in front of 49,290 fans, West Coast’s big guns could barely fire a shot in the wet and windy conditions.

Key forwards Josh Kennedy, Jack Darling and Oscar Allen managed just one goal between them, with West Coast only avoiding an annihilation courtesy of a five-goal haul to speedster Jack Petruccelle.

In contrast, the slick Power had 10 different goalkickers in a dazzling team display.

The Power led by 49 points by halftime – an astonishing figure given the downpour in the first half.

Some Eagles fans left the stadium at that point, such was their dismay at how poor West Coast were playing.

West Coast were thoroughly outclassed by the Power. Pic: Getty
West Coast were thoroughly outclassed by the Power. Pic: Getty

The six-goals-to-one second term tore the game wide open, with West Coast’s defence unable to cope with the constant Power raids in the driving rain.

With tall timber Kennedy, Darling, Allen, Tom Hickey and Nathan Vardy proving to be ineffective in the wet, Port Adelaide cashed in.

West Coast showed a bit more fight in the second half when the rain stopped, but the game was already over.

“We’ve got 15 or 16 night games this year, so if we can’t play in slippery weather we’re going to be in strife,” Eagles coach Adam Simpson said.

“I hope it’s a bit deeper than that. It’s something we need to address, but I don’t think it’s the sole reason for our inability to compete tonight.”

Power co-captain Ollie Wines was superb with 35 disposals, seven clearances and a goal, while Tom Rockliff, Sam Gray, and Sam Powell-Pepper were also influential.

Eagles skipper Shannon Hurn and Brad Sheppard fought valiantly in defence, while Petruccelle’s pace helped him to boot his career-high five goals.

But West Coast boasted few other winners in a game where Port Adelaide won the inside-50m count 69-38.

“I think we were strong over the ball and took our opportunities,” Power coach Ken Hinkley said of his team’s powerful second quarter.

“We played reasonably smart football, because the conditions got difficult. We took our chances that quarter.”

The result leaves both Port Adelaide and West Coast with 3-2 records.

With AAP