Essendon ruckman Patrick Ryder is reportedly seeking a release from his AFL contract, which has two years to go.
Essendon have blasted prominent AFL player agent Paul Connors over media speculation surrounding their ruck-forward Patrick Ryder.
The Bombers will also refuse to trade for Ryder, who apparently wants to leave, but their defiance might come to nothing.
Ryder could activate a little-known release clause in his contract because of the club’s ongoing supplements saga.
Speculation surrounding Ryder’s future is an unwelcome distraction for Essendon ahead of the elimination final this Saturday night against North Melbourne.
If Essendon lose, it may well be his last game for the club.
“Current media speculation about his future is premature and ill-informed,” Essendon said in a statement.
“The club and Paddy had already agreed to sit down and discuss any concerns he has post season.
“It is extremely disappointing that Paddy’s manager Paul Connors has chosen to play these matters out in the press on the eve of the club’s finals campaign.
“These actions have put unnecessary pressure on Paddy and his family.”
Ryder is contacted until the end of 2016 and Essendon are adamant he is going nowhere.
He apparently wants a trade to Brisbane.
“(Ryder) is a valued and much-loved member of our playing group,” Essendon said.
But media reports said the 26-year-old could move on by triggering a clause that allows players to leave in the event of a breach of duty of care.
No player swept up in the club’s 2012 supplements saga has yet invoked the clause.
Hawthorn great Dermott Brereton told SEN radio on Thursday that Ryder and Essendon would need to put the issue to one side as the Bombers begin their finals campaign.
“You’ve got to treat it professionally … whatever will be at the end of the year, if you move on, fine,” Brereton said.
“But at the moment (the club should demand) your pledge for 100 per cent of your capacity as a footballer.”
Essendon had some good news on Thursday, with forward Patrick Ambrose signing a two-year deal.
Ambrose came to the club through amateur football and has played 16 matches this season.
He was left out of the side for this weekend’s match.
Essendon last won a final in 2004.