ESSENDON has stepped up its bid to land Port Adelaide's Paddy Ryder, meeting the former Bomber on Thursday.
AFL.com.au understands Ryder, who is set to depart the Power after five years with the club, caught up with the Bombers as he decides on his next move.
Coach John Worsfold was among the Essendon contingent to present to Ryder.
'Woosha' was part of the team to meet with Paddy Ryder.
The 31-year-old is weighing a return to the club he played 170 games with before leaving at the height of the ASADA saga, or heading to St Kilda.
The Saints are keen to add to their ruck stocks, having previously shown interest in North big man Todd Goldstein and also untried Bomber Sam Draper.
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Port last month said they would "allow" Ryder to explore his options elsewhere ahead of the upcoming Trade Period.
He is seeking a two-year contract having only been offered one year by the Power but would likely come at a bargain cost in a trade, possibly a late draft pick.
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Essendon needs to bolster its ruck stocks, having been depleted this year by injury.
Tom Bellchambers played 16 games this season but had his year interrupted by a calf injury, while Draper missed most of the year after requiring a knee reconstruction.
It left the Bombers using former Docker Zac Clarke in the ruck at stages, with support from forward Shaun McKernan.
Ryder left Essendon at the end of 2014 with two years to run on his contract having cited concerns about the club's injection program.
Ryder in action during the 2014 elimination final.
He played 18 games for the Power in his first season there before being one of the 34 past and present Bombers banned for the 2016 season.
Ryder returned in 2017 and was named a Virgin Australia AFL All Australian and Port's best and fairest after averaging 38 hitouts a game.
Essendon last week met with wantaway Fremantle wingman Ed Langdon, who also met with Melbourne.
Rivals believe the Demons still lead the race for the hard-running midfielder, who is set to return back to Victoria, despite Essendon's interest.
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The Bombers could face a busier than anticipated exchange period as star goalkicker Joe Daniher contemplates a trade bombshell.
Daniher's teammate and close friend Zach Merrett said on Wednesday that the All Australian forward was taking some time away from the club to decide on his future as a move to Sydney looms.
He is contracted until the end of 2020, when he will become a free agent.