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The Bombers have had a tough year off the field, and have performed admirably under Bomber Thompson. But with more mystery and intrigue recently, what will happen to this club?
Paddy Ryder has been one of the best ruckmen in the AFL competition this season – from all reports he was unlucky to have missed out on All Australian honours. At 26, he is the perfect age for a ruckmen, and will be able to provide at least five more years of quality service. Not only is he a great ruckman with good tapping ability (and the best damn jump in the league), he provides quality second efforts, great marking ability and can kick goals. He’s basically what any team would be looking for.
Over his career at the Bombers, Paddy has been inconsistent in form. Picked at no.7 in the 2005 draft, Paddy showed inconsistent brilliance on the field. He was capable of winning games – or completely disappearing for weeks. In 2009, he won the ANZAC medal for destroying the Pies after David Hille went down with a knee injury.
Despite his inconsistency, the Bombers have continued to play the big man, and placing their faith in Paddy.
In recent days, there have been reports suggesting that the Brisbane Lions have made contact with Paddy Ryder’s management. Paddy’s manager, Paul Connors (coincidentally the manager of Stewart Crameri who left for the Bulldogs last year) angrily refuted claims that Paddy was unhappy and looking to get out of the Bombers.
The problem with this is that the clause allowing players to walk (due to the ASADA mess) does not appear to be as practical as first thought. As Ryder signed a contract mid-way through 2013 (well after the ASADA information was released), it would suggest that Ryder may not be able to simply walk away.
And this means that the Bombers need to look at trades…
Obviously Paddy’s decision to stay or go from the Bombers will play a big role for the Bombers during this trade period. Essendon only have a late first round pick, and may be interested in getting more exposure to the draft – depending of course on ASADA and the return of James Hird.
If Paddy goes, Essendon will want something pretty substantial. Paddy is an in form ruckman in the prime of his playing career. He was pick no.7, and he can kick goals.
Should Brisbane offer him $650,000 as reported, then clearly they’re willing to spend up big. And from reports, they’re relying on the threat of Ryder walking out on the Bombers with the ASADA clause. But his clause doesn’t appear to be overly feasible – especially due to the timing of Ryder’s contract in 2013.
It’s a difficult position for the Bombers – they won’t want to keep a player intent on leaving, but the club will need some compensation in return. Essendon has stated that they will fight any attempt to leave without a trade.
One could step back and start thinking about the appropriateness of Brisbane encouraging a contracted player to leave. In these days of free agency, one wonders where the boundaries and proper etiquette standards may be.
So who could Brisbane trade for Paddy Ryder? Current speculation is a second round pick. If that gets the job done, then the Bombers are absolute mugs. With Ryder being a previously high draft pick, in excellent form, good age, massive money offered from Brisbane, it seems far-fetched indeed for that trade to eventuate.
Perhaps it will need to be a combination of a player and second round draft pick. With a tall potentially heading to Brisbane, perhaps the Lions will want to offload Matty Leuenburger and a trade. The big fellow has had numerous injury concerns, but is a respected ruckman. Of course, the Bombers have Tom Bellchambers already, so they may be less interested.
Essendon will be looking for a quality midfielder who can play a bit up forward. This could mean someone like Dayne Zorko could be in the mix. The Lions will need to offer more than just Zorko to secure the trade however – so perhaps it can be sweetened with a draft pick.
And to all those Bombers fans looking to get Rockliff for Ryder – be assured that won’t happen.
So who else will be moved from Essendon?
Kyle Hardingham will be looking for opportunities elsewhere. Leroy Jetta’s time at Essendon is done. Tayte Pears may also look elsewhere – although he’s had terrible luck with injuries and may look to stay. There’s not a huge amount of currency in any of those players, so the Bombers won’t be expecting much movement this trade period.
Let’s just see what happens with ASADA and the return of James Hird.