St Kilda AFL coach hails Ryder influence

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

St Kilda coach Brett Ratten has hailed Paddy Ryder after the ruckman completed a whirlwind 72 hours of travel to play a crucial role in the Saints' AFL win over Collingwood.

Ryder returned to Geraldton Western Australia on Thursday to attend his uncle's funeral, with the Saints navigating through securing travel exemptions to allow him to travel west, then return in time for Sunday's game.

The 33-year-old returned to Melbourne on Saturday night and a day later booted two goals and had 23 hitouts in the Saints' nine-point victory at the MCG.

"He's a fantastic person, Paddy. He did ask if he could go to the funeral and (COVID-19 compliance officer) Ben Daley at our football club has done an amazing job to go to the WA government and go through all the protocols there and make sure that we tick every box," Ratten told reporters on Sunday.

"We were a bit unsure whether it could happen and Paddy knew that.

"But for Paddy to go and take off on Thursday and then come home - I think he landed around (6.00-6.30pm) last night in Melbourne - and to pay his respects to his uncle, who he loved dearly and to be around his mum and dad, is really important.

"He said he needed to do it, he wanted to do it and we helped and supported him there.

"But it's a credit to him because he wanted to get back and play as well and then to kick two goals and do the work that he does in the ruck was pretty important tonight."

Ryder, who previously missed the first six rounds of 2021 after taking personal leave, relished the victory.

"This is my outlet," Ryder told the Seven Network.

"I always talk to the boys. (The) centre-bounce, that's my happy place out there.

"I love footy and I just love playing footy."

A 265-game veteran, Ryder remains a crucial player at St Kilda, having formed a brilliant ruck partnership with Rowan Marshall in his two seasons there.

"He's playing consistent and he's really giving us some drive," Ratten said.

"It's interesting with ruckmen. History's been littered with ageing ruckmen that seem to just last forever and play until 35, 36.

"There's a lot of ruckmen that play well into their 30s and Paddy's just showing that."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting