Hird defends Paddy Ryder's work-rate - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hird defends Paddy Ryder's work-rate

Greg Buckle 21/06/2011 07:19:38 PM Comments (0)

Essendon coach James Hird has defended the work-rate of Paddy Ryder after former Sydney coach Paul Roos claimed the Bombers' ruck-forward was lazy.

Ryder has attracted criticism for a lack of second and third efforts at contests.

But Hird says Ryder is constantly under the spotlight because he has enormous talent.

"Paddy has played some good games for us as well," Hird said on Tuesday at Windy Hill.

"Paddy does need to work hard at certain times and get involved defensively a little bit more. But I definitely wouldn't call him lazy.

"He has been okay. The thing with Paddy is like a lot of guys with huge talent, they do show so much at times and people expect a lot of them.

"We'd love Paddy to be the best player on the ground every week because, when he is the best player and he plays tremendously well, he's unstoppable."

However Hird said the 23-year-old from East Fremantle is aware he needs to work harder on the defensive side of his game.

"We want him to get the ball and kick goals and win the ball," Hird said.

"But we also want him to defend and get involved defensively and that's the area that we're working strongest with him."

The Bombers are eighth on the AFL ladder after four consecutive losses and face fourth-placed Hawthorn on Friday night in a grudge match at the MCG.

Hird confirmed ruckman David Hille will be recalled this week after being rested last weekend against North Melbourne.

Kyle Hardingham will serve a one-match ban for rough conduct.

Hird said Cale Hooker will be unavailable because of a hamstring injury, but key forward Michael Hurley will be fit despite thumb and calf complaints following the loss to the Kangaroos.

The Bombers are considering recalling forward Mark Williams for his first senior game of the year. Williams played only four matches last season after joining the Bombers from Hawthorn.

"We'll look at Mark, whether it's this week or next week, to come back into the team," Hird said.

Hird, one of the club's greatest players who signed on as coach with much fanfare for 2011, said he hopes Essendon supporters understand there will be highs and lows.

"I don't think many clubs finish 14th and win the premiership the next year," Hird said.

"If they (fans) turn, they turn.

"What I fear is that our players don't keep improving.

"Whether the fans don't like it, whether the media like it, whether other people don't like it is not a concern."

Meanwhile, the Bombers have re-signed six players including Rising Star favourite Dyson Heppell, ruckman Tom Bellchambers and promising forward Stewart Crameri.

Jason Winderlich, Heath Hocking and Hooker have also agreed to new deals with the club.

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