PROMINENT player manager Paul Connors has fired back at Essendon over claims he leaked information to the media over Paddy Ryder’s future.

Essendon released a statement on Thursday night saying it has no intention of trading Ryder following reports the Bomber ruckman's manager is exploring a clause in his contract that could allow him to leave the club at the end of the season as a delisted free agent.

The club also accused Connors of 'playing matters out in the press', a claim Connors angrily denied. 

"I totally refute that I have played this story out in the media, and I am offended and furious that Essendon has made this claim,” Connors said in a statement to The Footy Show
"My record as a player manager over 20 years shows that I do not operate in such a manner.
"As agreed with Essendon, we'll sit down at the end of the year to discuss his future."

Essendon's earlier statement did not address the issue of whether Ryder's contract would allow him to leave the club on the grounds it seriously breached its duty of care to him through the supplements scandal of 2011-12.
The key Bomber signed a four-year contract in 2012.
"Essendon Football Club has no intention of trading Paddy Ryder," the club statement said.
"Paddy is contracted until the end of the 2016 season and is a valued and much loved member of our playing group.
"Current media speculation about his future is premature and ill-informed.
"The club and Paddy had already agreed to sit down and discuss any concerns he has post season.
"It is extremely disappointing that Paddy's manager Paul Connors has chosen to play these matters out in the press on the eve of the club's finals campaign.
"These actions have put unnecessary pressure on Paddy and his family."

However, Bombers assistant coach Nathan Bassett said he expected Ryder to handle the scrutiny well.

“I think Paddy will be fine with lots of contractual stuff going around about different players, particularly at this stage of the year it’s not unusual," Bassett told Crocmedia. 

“It’s probably not unusual for Essendon players to see themselves on back pages or front pages of the paper, so it’s pretty much standard practice I think out at Essendon."
Essendon would receive no compensation for losing Ryder under the new rule, which was pushed by the AFLPA and introduced as a result of the club's breaches.
In the wake of the club's supplements scandal in which it created a "pharmaceutically experimental environment", it has been reported that Ryder held fears about health risks.
The 26-year-old has been linked most prominently to the Brisbane Lions as well as Greater Western Sydney. The Age reports that Ryder's management has spoken to the Lions and GWS.
Connors, of Connors Sports Management, has other clients listed at Essendon, including Michael Hurley and Jake Melksham. He also represents former Bombers Stewart Crameri and Scott Gumbleton, who were at the club during the 2011-2012 supplements program.
Jake Carlisle's manager, Anthony McConville, also denied a report that his client was considering exploring the same delisted free agency option as Ryder.
The report on South Australian radio also said Carlisle was considering pleading guilty to an ASADA show-cause notice and linked the Bomber big man to Hawthorn.
McConville told 3AW radio on Thursday night the report was totally untrue.
"I don't know where this rumour started from. Obviously as far as both Jake and I are concerned, it's unfounded and totally untrue," McConville said.
Asked whether Carlisle would be an Essendon player next season, McConville said: "As far as I'm concerned he is."

The Bombers, who face North Melbourne in an elimination final on Saturday night at the MCG, are under investigation by the Victorian WorkCover Authority for possible breaches of health and safety during the club's supplements program. is seeking comment from the Lions' football operations manager Dean Warren.