It’s often said that in footy, big blokes take the longest to develop.
Patrick Ryder has matured a lot – both on and off the field – since joining Essendon as a 17-year old in 2005.
At 26 years of age, Ryder still has plenty of good footy ahead of him; having spent almost a decade at the Bombers, he’s learned how to deal with the challenges that accompany an AFL career.
As the latest player to feature in Channel Seven’s #discovered series, the versatile big man reflected on his growth since coming over from Western Australia as a highly-touted youngster.
Originally from Geraldton, located 424km north of Perth, Ryder admits he was tempted to return home early in his career.
“Most of the time you just want to pack up and go back, just to be there and support your family and be the big brother,” he said.
“It’s not all about me anymore, as my fiancé says a lot of the time” – Paddy Ryder
But that perspective began to shift when he became a father in 2010.
“You can’t really dwell on things or sook because you’ve got kids to look after,” Ryder said.
“It’s not all about me anymore, as my fiancé says a lot of the time… I’ve got my own family here and I just keep telling myself that I’ve got to provide for them.”
Ahead of the AFL’s Indigenous Round, Ryder reflected on his journey through the AFL as an Indigenous player.
“It’s not always been easy for Aboriginal people and some people still look down [on us] because [we’ve] got dark skin.”
Acknowledging that reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians is a work in progress, Ryder said Indigenous Round – and the annual Dreamtime at the ‘G clash – was a special part of the season.
“All the Indigenous players that put on the jumper this weekend will say it’s a proud moment.”