Has Noongar-Yamatji man Paddy Ryder been the best ruckman in the AFL this season and should the Port Adelaide star be named in the All-Australian team?
That was among the talking points on The Marngrook Footy Show live on NITV on Thursday night.
Ryder received a league-most eight votes in the Victoria Police Marngrook Player of the Week award, with Noongar-Wajuk man Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin picking up seven votes for his eye-catching efforts playing with Sydney Swans.
“Paddy is always a wonderful player for Port Adelaide but he’ll definitely be an integral part for Port Adelaide to push into the finals series, deep into the finals series,” panel member Leila Gurruwiwi said.
“He’s a massive chance to be All-Australian ruckman. If it’s not him he’s gonna be very, very close,”
“Absolutely and if he goes well, he gives all them onballers first use of the ball,” host Gilbert McAdam said.
“He has 55 hitouts (which he had in round 22), more than 50 per cent of those hitouts go to a player, that’s what makes him special,” McAdam added.
“He’s a massive chance to be All-Australian ruckman. If it’s not him he’s gonna be very, very close,” panellist Rohan Connolly said.
Host Grant Hansen said Ryder reminds him of an old-school ruckman, the way he looks for his teammates when tapping the ball in the ruck. It’s something Richmond legend and Marngrook panel member Kevin Bartlett agreed with.
“I can remember when he first went to the Bombers as a young boy. Kevin Sheedy likened him to a Polly Farmer type player because he had that ability to jump, very very early,” Bartlett said.
“Cos he’s not a huge ruckman is he, not huge. But he’s got a beautiful spring and he has got beautiful hands in terms of palming the ball down.”
Also on Thursday night’s show, the panel gave a quick preview of former Melbourne and Collingwood player Heritier Lumumba’s documentary ‘Fair Game’, which will be shown on SBS via the on demand service on Sunday.
Hansen announced Lumumba will make an exclusive appearance on The Marngrook Footy Show next Thursday.
Carlton’s Charlie Curnow then joined the panel and gave a good insight into Carlton’s year and how he’s enjoying his development at the club, along with a host of other exciting talents.
So excited was the panel with Curnow’s development that Bartlett predicted he’ll kick eight goals against Sydney this weekend, although Bartlett still says he thinks Sydney will beat the Blues by one point.
Former Collingwood superstar Peter Daicos joined the show on the back of a package on his son Josh Daicos making his AFL debut, also for the Magpies.
Peter Daicos spoke about how special the experience was for him and his family, with McAdam then sharing a story about watching his brother make his AFL debut.
Regular panellist Shelley Ware and Melbourne’s James Harmes followed Daicos onto Marngrook on Thursday and Harmes answered questions about his ability to grow facial hair and his relationship with teammate Neville Jetta, who was another of the panellists on the show.
Hansen asked Harmes if this weekend’s game against Collingwood was as big as there has been in his young career, given Melbourne can secure a finals berth for the first time in 11 AFL seasons.
“There’s a lot riding on it,” Harmes said.
“We don’t win this game, we’re probably a chance to not pay finals. We definitely know Collingwood are gonna bring it up to us as well so it should be a good hit out,” he said.
“In saying that, as a team, we’re really trying to embrace the pressure,” Jetta added.
“Our leaders are really driving us to go out and embrace it and have fun out there. Because obviously, as footy players, and a lot of people know, when you have fun, you play your best footy.”
Bartlett was so impressed with Harmes’ form he predicted Harmes would kick eight goals.
For more football news and to be a part of the conversation, head to The Marngrook Footy Show’s Facebook and Twitter pages, or watch Thursday’s episode in full On Demand catch up service.