Riewoldt stars in epic Saints win - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Riewoldt stars in epic Saints win

By Roger Vaughan 05/07/2009 10:03:17 PM Comments (0)

In the game of the season, St Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt produced one of the greatest performances of his stellar AFL career.

The three-time All-Australian was best afield with a command effort, taking 11 marks and kicking three goals in the six-point win over Geelong.

So often criticised for his goalkicking, Riewoldt kicked a 50m-plus bomb close to three-quarter time that gave his side a crucial 10-point buffer.

He shone in the last quarter and along with Justin Koschitzke, gave the Saints what the Cats desperately lacked - reliable, big-marking key forwards.

There was some media focus ahead of Sunday's match on the qualifying final last year, where Riewoldt only kicked one goal in a big loss to Geelong.

Saints coach Ross Lyon said the pre-game criticism of Riewoldt was unfair, but the champion himself used it to his advantage.

"I thought about it, but every time I thought about it, I just used it as a trigger to make sure I'd prepared well and when it came to game time, did the things that helped me a good player," Riewoldt said.

"Every week I go into a game with that in my mind, just to run as hard as I can and work as hard as I can.

"I did that in the final last year and it just wasn't good enough on that day.

"I can still live with myself as long as I work hard."

Lyon would have preferred not to talk about individual players post-match, but could understand the media's desire to talk about his skipper.

"Nick has led from the front, clearly you want your captain to have a really high workrate and continually present ... and at important times in the game, be able to assert himself," Lyon said.

Riewoldt said the Saints earned respect from Sunday's win at Etihad Stadium, but also admitted a draw would have been fitting.

Team-mate Michael Gardiner broke the deadlock with his soaring mark and goal late in the match.

"I was thinking 'this is going to be unbelievable, it couldn't be scripted any better if it was a draw', but luckily 'Gardy' soared over the top there at the end and managed to pluck that one," Riewoldt said.

"A draw would have been just as fitting a result.

"It was a strange sort of feeling, I suppose (afterwards), because it's been built up so much externally ... we are only at round 14.

"While it was a big game, there were only four points on the line."

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