Saints admit they were soft: Riewoldt - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Saints admit they were soft: Riewoldt

28/05/2008 07:21:29 PM Comments (0)

St Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt says his AFL team deserved the humiliation of a scathing public appraisal of their hardness from their coach following their meek weekend performance.

An angry Ross Lyon labelled some of his players physically and mentally soft in a candid post-match press conference after Sunday's 46-point loss to Brisbane at the Gabba.

Riewoldt said the disparaging comments were "entirely appropriate" and the team had vowed to toughen up in Sunday's clash with Melbourne at Telstra Dome.

"Clearly the evidence was there for everyone to see on the weekend that we were soft," Riewoldt said.

"The playing group was totally accepting of what Ross said and it has stung us into action and it has really resonated well across the whole playing group.

"Ross has got the full support of the playing group and I think it needed to be said."

Riewoldt said before the sub-standard performance at the Gabba, the team's hardness was not in question, with the club having placed an emphasis on playing a tough brand of football in past seasons.

He was hopeful a return to putting their bodies on the line would have it written off as an aberration.

"Obviously this week there's a lot of pressure on the club but we're absolutely confident and I'm sure we will, that when we fix what we've spoken about that we'll come out on the weekend and have a really strong win for our supporters," Riewoldt said.

Riewoldt's own performance against the Lions was also questioned by critics after returning from a knee injury.

While he dismissed suggestions the injury had curtailed his effectiveness, he did say Lyon was unhappy with his 13 possession, eight mark, one goal performance.

"I'm not playing individually as well as I would have liked," Riewoldt said

"I felt I've still been contributing, I think my effort can't be questioned and with respect to the trademark (effort) as a playing group, that's one thing that we stand for very highly and I know I can tick that off personally."

Meanwhile, Riewoldt disagreed with comments by Saints chairman Greg Westaway that the club, which fell to a 4-5 record with the loss to the Lions, was in a rebuilding phase.

Riewoldt said after a strong finish to last season, followed by this year's pre-season premiership, the team entered the season believing it was a serious premiership contender.

"I don't think we're in a rebuilding stage," Riewoldt said.

"We've got a strong list, we're got full confidence in the personnel that we've got at the club to get the job done for us.

"Have those expectations changed? I think now we're in a situation we're we need to start winning games. We can't talk about finals and what follows that until we play in them."

Westaway told News Limited newspapers he wanted Lyon to stay in his job for the next 10 years, with the skipper applauding that public show of faith.

"I think it shows we're united as a team and a club, from the administration right through to the playing group and the coaches, so I think it's fantastic," Riewoldt said.

"The 10 years, I'm not sure about putting a figure on it, but what it does show is Ross is here for the long term and he's the coach that's going to take us to the ultimate success."

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