AFL Rd 10 - Gold Coast  v St Kilda
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 06: Paddy Ryder of the Saints is chaired from the field after his 250th match during the round 10 AFL match between the Gold Coast Suns and the St Kilda Saints at Metricon Stadium on August 06, 2020 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Matt Roberts/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

Paddy Ryder has admitted that emotions still get the better of him when the Essendon drug saga resurfaces.

Ryder left the Bombers for Port Adelaide at the end of 2014 and served a year suspension from football in 2016.

In an exclusive column to the Herald Sun, Ryder confessed that he still gets angry when the saga is brought up but has also been able to move on with his life.

“It still makes me angry to hear some of the barbs, but if I’m not prodded it doesn’t really faze me.

“For my own mental wellbeing, I’ve done a lot of work in knowing who I am, which has allowed me to move past it.”

The saga played a part in Ryder’s decision to leave the Bombers for the Power in 2014 and the change in scenery allowed Ryder to earn an All-Australian call-up and Best and Fairest award in 2017.

“That whole experience was a factor in leaving the Bombers, and I also felt like I needed a change of scenery,” Ryder wrote.

“I tried to look at the year-long suspension in 2016 as a positive.

“The time to heal helped me earn All-Australian selection and a best-and-fairest at the Power in 2017.

“I was quite proud to have a season like that after everything that had happened.”

Ryder’s time at the Power came to an end in 2019 even though he felt that he had plenty of football left in him.

A decision was made to move to St Kilda, where he has been able to heal wounds left by leaving the Power and link up with cousin Bradley Hill and former Bombers teammate Jake Carlisle.

“At the end of last year, I was disappointed at not being wanted by Port Adelaide.

“That was the call they decided to make, although I disagreed with it as I still thought I had good footy left in me and I loved the club so much.

“The Saints felt like a new challenge and a fresh start.

“That sort of stood out to me a lot more than going back to Essendon, which was also an option at the end of last year.

“I’m very close with Jake Carlisle and Brendon Lade, who was my ruck coach at Port and is one of my favourite coaches who knows how to get the best out of me.

“Also my cousin Brad Hill was there and I always wanted to play with him.

“That was the biggest lure for me, and I’m glad today I’m a Saint.”

Ryder will lineup for the Saints today against Brisbane at the Gabba.