Loss to Cats sparked us, says Riewoldt - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Loss to Cats sparked us, says Riewoldt

By Robert Grant 01/07/2009 04:27:04 PM Comments (0)

St Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt has revealed last year's embarrassing AFL qualifying final loss to Geelong was a key factor which sparked the side.

After recovering from that 58-point belting to make the preliminary final, the Saints have surged again this year to sit atop the ladder, ahead of Geelong on percentage.

The two teams are unbeaten going into Sunday's highly-anticipated re-match at Etihad Stadium.

Riewoldt said the 2008 loss to Geelong had proved St Kilda was simply not good enough to win a premiership and promoted a major re-evaluation of the team.

"I think it did," Riewoldt said. "I think we justified our position as a top four side.

"A lot of people, perhaps, queried that but we did realise we were a long way off the top two teams, just like the rest of the competition.

"We went away and learnt a lot about ourselves, we've tinkered a few things, changed the way we've played a little bit but really our form this year has carried on from the previous 10 games in the home and away season.

"Obviously the finals series wasn't what we wanted to get out of it but I think this year has carried on from the last half of last season."

He also said the qualifying final loss was now in the past and irrelevant in terms of Sunday's clash.

"It's very hard to draw a form line on previous games and past history," Riewoldt said.

"If we were judging this game on past history then you'd say we're probably no chance, but I think a lot's changed since then.

"Geelong have changed, we've changed, the way footy's played has really changed so we're certainly not referring to last year's game at all."

The big forward was soundly beaten by inexperienced Cats defender Harry Taylor in the 2008 final, but Riewoldt denied he was out to redeem himself.

"Not really. I wasn't alone last year in that final with my performance," he said.

"The whole team struggled but every week I go out and give my best and sometimes that's not good enough.

"I can live with myself providing I try my hardest.

"One player can't win a game and that's something we learnt last year - our focus going into every game this year so far has been about a team performance."

Saints key defender Max Hudghton injured his ankle last Sunday, but Riewoldt said he remained a chance to play.

If Hudghton does not come up, Matt Maguire could play his first senior game since early last season.

"`Goose's' form has been really good in the VFL, he's been ticking all the right boxes," Riewoldt said of Maguire.

He agree the Cats had the best midfield in the competition, but said St Kilda's engine room should not be underestimated.

"It's depth and I think individually a few guys have improved themselves," he said.

"We've added some players to it, some younger guys have stepped up and some experienced players have improved as well."

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