Ruckman Paddy Ryder is the first of a banned batch of AFL players to return to their clubs – just two minutes after his suspension expired.
Ryder was among 32 past and current Essendon players to be suspended for their role in the Bombers’ 2012 supplements program.
Under the terms of their suspension, the players are permitted to return to their clubs two months before their playing bans expire.
Most were able to return from midnight and Ryder posted a Twitter photo of himself outside Port’s Alberton Oval headquarters at 12.02am Wednesday.
“I’M BACK”, Ryder tweeted.
Ryder and teammate Angus Monfries were Port players suspended for the entire 2016 season – both were recruited by the Power after stints at Essendon.
All of the banned 32 players except Essendon captain Jobe Watson are now able to return to their clubs – Watson’s suspension continues until September 21 because he played in last year’s International Rules Series against Ireland.
Watson has yet to declare his intention to play on next season and the group of Essendon’s banned players are yet to be seen returning to the club.
But Western Bulldogs forward Stewart Crameri, who was among the banned Bombers, returned to the Dogs about 8.45am Wednesday.
St Kilda also expect their ex-Essendon recruit Jake Carlisle to arrive at the club’s Seaford base on Wednesday,
St Kilda football manager Jamie Cox said Carlisle would meet with Saints hierarchy to map out his training program.
“Both the club and Jake are excited for his return and we think this period will be the perfect opportunity for him to keep learning about our club and get himself into the best physical condition for day one of pre-season,” Cox said in a statement.
“In compliance with ASADA directions, Jake will take part in activities such as training and team meetings allowing him to prepare for his return to playing football once the ban is lifted.”
The players are able to return to training and use club facilities but cannot be used for media, marketing or promotional activities for another two months.