Riewoldt re-signs with Saints until 2013 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Riewoldt re-signs with Saints until 2013

19/05/2009 06:04:58 PM Comments (0)

Gold Coast must look elsewhere for their inaugural captain after Nick Riewoldt put loyalty ahead of going home by committing to St Kilda for the rest of his AFL career.

The Saints had more reason for cheer amid their unbeaten start to the season when their captain and star forward re-signed until the end of 2013.

Riewoldt was to fall out of contract next year, which made him a logical target for the Gold Coast given the new franchise will enter the AFL in 2011 and would have loved a local boy as skipper.

Riewoldt, 26, said he had found the constant speculation linking him to the Gold Coast "tiresome", but admitted it helped him realise how much he wanted to play out his career at St Kilda, who drafted him in 2000.

"Ever since the Gold Coast idea was floated and I was linked to it because I was from the Gold Coast it was something that was almost forced on me to think about through the media," he said on Tuesday.

"Because I was always answering questions about it, it made me think long and hard and how I felt about and the repercussions if I wanted to leave, not that that was ever a consideration.

"Being a one-club player was something that the more I thought about, it was very important to me.

"I want to stand for something, I'm a loyal person and at the end of my career it will be great to look back and know that I'm a St Kilda person for life - that was something that heavily influenced my decision."

As one of a handful of key Saints in the prime of their careers, Riewoldt and his teammates have a great chance to win the club its second premiership.

That triumph would be built on the foundations laid in 2000-01, when the Saints also recruited Justin Koschitzke, Luke Ball, Nick Dal Santo, Leigh Montagna and Stephen Milne.

"We started something probably eight or nine years ago when there was a big influx of young players and it's something we're all keen to see through together," Riewoldt said.

"So far this year we've started well but it's early in the season, but it is an exciting place to be around and it's far more enjoyable when the team's playing consistently well together.

"That's been the turning point in us so far this year, the fact that everyone's really spreading the load evenly and it's a good place to be around."

The signing follows that of reigning best and fairest Sam Fisher and fellow defender Sam Gilbert, another who grew up on the Gold Coast but remains out of reach for the new franchise.

St Kilda chief executive Michael Nettlefold said the club did not have any major contract talks looming, although he played down the threat of the Gold Coast poaching uncontracted stars.

"The Gold Coast is a long way away, so we're focusing on what's in front of us immediately and building a base for the medium term," he said.

Riewoldt said he had never been formally approached by any Gold Coast recruiters, but said there had been some informal discussions with his management.

Strengthening his commitment to St Kilda, his family has re-located from the Gold Coast to Melbourne.

Riewoldt has booted 344 goals in his 166 games, won St Kilda's best and fairest award four times, is a three-time All-Australian and is into his fifth season as skipper, and said he hoped to play beyond 2013.

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