St Kilda will officially challenge Paddy Ryder’s two-game sanction as fans point out inconsistency with his charge and a similar incident in an earlier round of the season.
Ryder was offered a two-match ban by the AFL’s Match Review Officer (MRO) after standing his ground in the second quarter of their clash with the Hawthorn Hawks on Sunday.
Hawk Will Day collided heavily with the ruckman and was later withdrawn from the match with concussion. The Saints have confirmed they will challenge the ban at the AFL tribunal.
Saints fans have pointed to a similar bump from Western Bulldogs’ Tim English on Sydney Swan Nick Blakey in round three.
English appeared to square Blakey up in the final quarter with heavy contact but there was no charge.
‘English gets to a stationary position before turning his body and making contact with player Blakey. It was determined by the MRO that English’s actions were not unreasonable in the circumstances. No further action was taken,’ the AFL said in a statement.
English escaped charge for this hit on Sydney Swans player Nick Blakey in round three of the 2022 AFL competition.
It has some fans crying foul over the penalty for Ryder bump, as the Saints player also appears to have been stationary when he hit Day, who ran into him.
‘One player cops two weeks, the other gets nothing. Spot the difference,’ popular Facebook group Saints TV posted.
‘That is unbelievable. He simply couldn’t get out of the way. Accidental high contact, just like when Hunter Clark was smashed last year and there was no penalty,’ a fan commented.
‘If it was one of the big clubs like Collingwood or Richmond there would be a big uproar but because it’s the Saints they will take it with no fuss and move on,’ posted another.
Ryder braces himself as Day collides with him in the second quarter of the clash between the Saints and the Hawks on Sunday
Damian Barrett and Josh Gabelich said that Ryder was hard done by with the suspension and said that Day should have taken more responsibility for the collision.
‘I just saw a guy who was already in the middle of the ground and with Will Day coming at him,’ Barrett said in their AFL Daily podcast.
‘The moment Will Day disposed of the football I saw Paddy Ryder – whether I am seeing something different to other people – but I saw Paddy Ryder basically stop and just brace himself for Will Day [colliding] into him.
‘Obviously Will Day’s head moves backwards and forwards, there is a whiplash component to the knock, but I don’t see that as being Ryder’s responsibility.
‘Now obviously there is a price to pay when someone goes down like Will Day, but I really feel for Ryder.
‘I don’t know what else he could have done apart from actually run away from that contact and we know that no one has ever been required to run away from contact. It’s how you deal with the contact.’
‘I didn’t feel there was any malicious intent with Paddy Ryder, two games feels a little bit stiff,’ Gabelich added.
Day immediately fell to the ground and was later replaced through the medical substitution rule as he was suffering from concussion
Former Collingwood player and coach Nathan Buckley also defended Ryder, saying the game is going ‘soft’.
‘They’ll say “what other options did he have”, (but) Will Day … I can’t believe a player can keep himself that open. I mean, there’s going to be contact and he just ran into him,’ Buckley said.
‘Paddy, he didn’t really run through him (Day) … This is what you see quite often when it comes to front-on contact or someone turns their body and braces for contact and the other one doesn’t.
‘I fundamentally don’t believe in legislating against the worst-case scenario, or for potential injury – and that’s the slippery slope that we’ve got caught in. The game has got too soft if that’s a suspension.’
St Kilda skipper Jack Steele admitted the knock to the head of Day probably influenced the severity of the charge.
‘At the end of the day, I suppose, it’s the player’s choice whether they bump or not. You just can’t get a knock to the head. So, Paddy went for the bump, [and] was a bit unlucky,’ Steele said.
‘Something we love from Paddy, obviously his tap work, but his follow-up as a ruckman as well is so crucial and being a physical player in the contest is something that he is really good at and makes us walk taller.
‘It’s good to see him doing what he is doing, but … it’s your choice to bump, I suppose. That’s what the AFL is going with, which is fair enough – you have got to protect the head.’