I can’t see Paddy Ryder leaving: Goddard

Essendon star Brendon Goddard is confident Paddy Ryder will stay, saying teammates have spoken to the ruckman about his importance to the AFL team.

Goddard doubts whether the ongoing supplements scandal at the club has been a major factor in Ryder’s uncertainty about his future.

Essendon’s reigning best and fairest champion is also confident that interim senior coach Mark Thompson will stay.

And Jason Winderlich has reversed his decision to retire, with former Bombers great Matthew Lloyd saying on Saturday that the speedy utility had agreed to a contract extension.

Ryder’s future is a massive issue for Essendon and it was an unwelcome distraction for the club ahead of their elimination final loss to North Melbourne.

He is understood to want a move to Brisbane, even though he remains under contract.

There is speculation Ryder could use a clause in the standard player contract to walk out on Essendon, claiming a breach of contract because of the supplements issue.

But Goddard said on Saturday that he thought other unspecified factors were influencing Ryder’s uncertainty.

“ASADA, I’m not quite sure on that side of stuff,” Goddard told the ABC.

“Paddy’s a ripping guy and to be honest he’s not very opinionated and he’s easy going – if we say ‘jump’, he says ‘how high?’

“So I’m not sure about that, then the emotional pull was obviously some things not so much out of his control, but decisions from other areas that aren’t ideal for the footy club and his position.

“But I know he loves the footy club, he loves the boys and I can’t see him going anywhere else to play footy.

“I think the environment we’ve created and he’s been in for so long, that will give him his best chance to be the footy player we know he can be and he knows he can be, and essentially, hopefully be a premiership player.”

Goddard revealed teammates had given Ryder plenty of honest feedback throughout the year.

Ryder was a surprise non-selection in the All Australian squad after a strong season.

“(He) doesn’t necessarily like to step out of his comfort zone and be in an uncomfortable situation,” Goddard said.

“It was hard for him to swallow at the start (feedback from teammates), but the good thing was we saw his response from it and I think the footy world saw his response from it.

“When we gave him responsibility and he had the No.1 ruck role singlehandedly, you saw him blossom into a consistent player.”

Now that senior coach James Hird is back from suspension, Thompson is discussing his future with the club.

Goddard is confident the pair will work closely together at the club.

“He’s too invested, he loves the footy club, loves the guys and he doesn’t want to miss out on potentially something special,” Goddard said of Thompson.

Winderlich had announced his retirement, but it emerged on Saturday that changed after a meeting with the club.

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