JR: Thank you very much.
BM: Have you been happy with your season?
JR: I have been real happy (with my year) mate. I think I struggled a little bit early on, I probably overcooked myself early on and had a little bit of a hammy. But I think I have got back to my style of footy — winning it in close — and getting it out to our runners.
BM: You were polling well in this award and the Morris Medal midway through last season, before being injured. How bad was that injury?
JR: It is still one that I am probably dealing with now, as far as shoulder injuries go it probably was as severe as shoulder injuries get; I had to get four anchors put in there and then get my bicep re-attached. It was a long process. It (the recovery) wasn’t the best three months of my life, but that’s footy.
BM: Did you expect to bounce back so well?
JR: I suppose after having half a good year, I really wanted to come back and have a full year. I haven’t played a full year for a while, so it was definitely a goal. I didn’t really know what to expect coming back from the injury. I just hoped that if I did the work that I needed to do, hopefully it would take care of itself. I think with Toss he has given us a little bit more responsibility and we’re a lot more involved. I probably felt a lot more comfortable at the club with the boys (in his second year at Corowa-Rutherglen).
BM: Are you surprised by how well Corowa-Rutherglen has gone this season?
JR: I’m not surprised, I’m really proud of them, really excited for the team, (but) gee if you said at the end of last year we would finish second on the ladder I wouldn’t have believed it. We haven’t really played lots of really good footy yet either, we have played some good patches but we haven’t played many four quarter efforts. I think a lot of the senior blokes in the side that live in Corowa have been great as well, like Kade Kuschert and Cade Mills, I think they have realised they need to step up a bit and lead.
BM: How big an impact do you think Peter Tossol returning to coach the club has had?
JR: I think he has been brilliant. I remember speaking to the club early on when they were first trying to get him and they said if we get him the whole town will galvanise and they will come from everywhere and they did. Toss came down (to Melbourne) and we had lunch at Albert Park and half way through my Diet Coke I was ready to sign back up after speaking to him. He is an amazing bloke and one guy when anyone comes into the room they look at him. He has just got that aura about him. Me and my partner Eliza quite often stop and have a cup of tea and some fruit cake on the way up at his house. He’d be right up there with Peter German as the best coach I have had by far.
BM: You were beaten soundly by Wangaratta a few weeks ago — are they the team to beat?
JR: They are definitely the team to beat. Especially going into finals — we finished second — and they gave us a bit of a touch up. I think the boys might have got a little bit shell-shocked last game. I was pretty crook and didn’t get much game time. So a few of the boys went into their shells.
BM: What will you need to do to beat them in the finals?
JR: Finals is finals and as you know mate, anything can happen. So fingers crossed. But we’re a long way off, we’ve got to beat Lavington first and they are a bloody good side. They are well coached and Timba (Tim Sanson) has done very well with them. They are so even across the board and they are the kind of the side when it comes to finals that are really tough to beat because they have got winners on every line.
BM: You gave a salute to the crowd at the Albury Sportsground earlier this year, do you enjoy getting under opposition clubs supporters’ skin?
JR: It’s sort of funny because my partner Eliza is like: ‘your just a d...head on the field’. I think I’m pretty low key off the field, but then I go play footy like that. I think I get really caught up in it. I remember that day actually, they had actually said a few things about Bali (Ryan was injured in the Bali Bombings in 2002) and I was pretty pumped up actually. I had kicked a goal and if the umpire hadn’t have grabbed me I was going to dead set jump the fence and start throwing a few. I think it’s all part of it … I think I’m just one of those players people love to hate. I do get fired up out there and I do like to throw my weight around. Even though there is not much to throw around. I play good footy when I am fired up.
BM: Will you be back next year?
JR: I’d love to be back, I absolutely love playing for Corowa, but I will admit it is tough travelling and with the body I have to do a lot of extra work to get myself up each week. But I just love the club, I love being involved, I love the people down there and I have made some life-long friends. As long as work works out and that sort of thing I certainly would love to play for Corowa next year.
BM: Will the $2000 come in handy?
JR: The missus will be happy because she said I owed her a king size bed for having to go away every week. So that just might cover the bed.