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Mike Cranmer  October 11, 2017 5:54 PM

AFL 2017 First Elimination Final - Port Adelaide v West Coast

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 09: Drew Petrie of the Eagles clashes with Paddy Ryder of the Power during the 2017 AFL First Elimination Final match between the Port Adelaide Power and the West Coast Eagles at the Adelaide Oval on September 09, 2017 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by AFL Media)

PADDY Ryder is enthusiastic about the opportunity to play alongside two-time Brisbane Lions club champion Tom Rockliff next season.

Rockliff – a restricted free agent – nominated the Power as his destination of choice last week despite genuine interest from clubs in his native Victoria. He officially signed on with the Power on Wednesday afternoon, after Brisbane opted not to match Port's offer.

After winning his first John Cahill Medal at the club’s Best and Fairest evening on Friday night, Ryder told a packed Adelaide Convention Centre that Port’s midfield group would look exciting with the addition of Rockliff.

“As ruckman, you want to have quality players underneath you,” Ryder said.

“Especially in the midfield, we are a unit in there and I love the players we have in there.

“I’m excited to get Rockliff - he will add another dimension to our midfield.”

The 27-year-old had an outstanding 2017 season with the Lions, averaging 24 possessions and more than six clearances a game, while also kicking 16 goals – the second-most of his nine-year career to date.

But Ryder saved special praise for young-gun Sam Powell-Pepper, who finished third in this year’s NAB AFL Rising Star award and also took out the 2017 Gavin Wanganeen Medal as the club’s best first year player.

“For someone like ‘Peps’ [Powell-Pepper] to come in his first year [and play like he did]…amazing brother,” Ryder said.

“I’m excited, [but] the thing that makes me the most excited is enjoying the next few years with you brother.”

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