TACKLING and pressure is the mantra of Panmure’s Paddy Ryan this season as the 18-year-old strives to lock down a role as a defensive forward.
The dairy farmer has been tasked with the challenge of quelling Kolora-Noorat veteran Ben Kenna and Old Collegians speedster Bodie Hibberson this season.
In line with its growing popularity at professional level, Ryan is relishing the chance to fill the role as a defensive forward.
“My job is about tackling, boxing, shepherding – just putting in those one percenters,” he told The Standard.
“I’m always trying to create as much space for either big Sam Melican or our other forwards, too.”
Ryan was handed his debut by former Bulldogs mentor Simon O’Keefe in 2014, but is now settled as a mainstay in Panmure’s senior side.
“I’d been training all year in 2014 and it was getting to round 15 or 16, and he said to me one Thursday night ‘keep training well and you’ll get a game’,” Ryan said.
“One Thursday night he told me after training… I was stoked.
“At that point I’d been playing under 17s, and I came on as a sub. It was a good way to get in.”
Ryan, who lives a stone’s throw from the Panmure Recreation Reserve, said the coaching staff’s faith had him growing in confidence.
“Playing on a guy like Ben Kenna, it was a good experience. He’s just so smart as a footballer,” he said.
“He’s the smartest player I’ve played on. He just doesn’t waste a kick, like a lot of good players. They don’t waste it.”