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Ryder completes Lazarus return with John Cahill Medal

Matthew Agius  October 6, 2017 11:00 PM

AFL 2017 Round 07 - Photographers Choice

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 06: Paddy Ryder of the Power celebrates a goal during the 2017 AFL round 07 match between Port Adelaide Power and the West Coast Eagles at the Adelaide Oval on May 06, 2017 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by James Elsby/AFL Media)

PADDY RYDER is the 2017 John Cahill Medallist.

The 196cm ruckman won the award at Port Adelaide’s annual medal count on Friday night in front of 1000 jam-packed into the Adelaide Convention Centre.

The remarkable achievement comes after Ryder missed the entirety of the 2016 season suspended with 33 other past and then-current Essendon players as part of the Bombers’ supplements scandal.

In winning the John Cahill Medal, Ryder becomes just the third Aboriginal player to win the award, joining Gavin Wanganeen and Chad Wingard as recent recipients.

He is just the fourth player to win the highest honour available at the club, with Troy Bond the first Aboriginal player to be crowned Port’s best and fairest with the A.R.McLean Medal in 1993.

Speaking to portadelaidefc.com.au after the medal presentation, Ryder was quick to thank many for their support.

“It’s unbelievable, I’m so honoured,” Ryder said.

“To think about the challenges of 2016, to have this honour is really special.

“I couldn’t have done this without my teammates and coaches– they’re such a great group to be part of and no award can be won in footy without the help of your teammates.

“My wife Jess and all the support of my family over the last few years has been so important and they deserve so much thanks for what they’ve done for me.

“Lastly, I want to thank our fans for their support. It’s been great to be back playing this year and I can’t wait to get out again next year.”

2017 JOHN CAHILL MEDAL LEADERBOARD

1. Paddy Ryder - 241 votes
2. Charlie Dixon - 234
3. Tom Jonas - 203
4. Robbie Gray - 202
5. Brad Ebert - 190
6. Ollie Wines - 184
7. Sam Gray - 171
8. Chad Wingard - 166
9. Travis Boak - 152
10. Justin Westhoff - 145

OTHER AWARD WINNERS

Fos Williams Medal (best team man)
Tom Jonas

Gavin Wanganeen Award (best player under 21)
Sam Powell-Pepper

Coaches’ Award (most improved)
Sam Gray

John McCarthy Award (for community service)
Jack Hombsch