We must stick together, says Riewoldt - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

We must stick together, says Riewoldt

03/02/2011 11:08:30 PM Comments (0)

St Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt called on his AFL team-mates to "stick fat" as the club reels from a horror off-season.

Coach Ross Lyon also pleaded with Saints fans to stay loyal to the club, while he and president Greg Westaway strongly defended player Sam Gilbert in the fallout from last month's pre-season trip to New Zealand.

They were speaking on Thursday night at the club's annual general meeting, three days after the punishment of four players for incidents during the New Zealand trip.

There have also been allegations that Gilbert urinated on a Queenstown restaurant and was then involved in a scuffle.

But Lyon and Westaway made a point at the AGM of saying they believed Gilbert, who has denied the claims.

"He told me: 'I guarantee you I've learned my lesson, I can guarantee you I wasn't there and what's been said in relation to the cafe proprietor is untrue' and I believe him," Westaway said.

Lyon added: "make no mistake, he's a really good person and he's committed to St Kilda - the allegations flying around are unfounded."

In a passionate "us against them" speech, Riewoldt called on the team to stay resilient.

"We're the ones who are going to come out on top, you can be sure of that," he said.

"Now is the time, as much as any in our history when people are coming for us, who want to denigrate us, who want to run us down, that we've got to stick fat.

"We are St Kilda ... be proud to be a St Kilda person."

Riewoldt was caught up in the nude photos scandal that dogged the club over the summer.

One of the reasons for the New Zealand trip was for the team to put that saga behind them, but there was fresh controversy this week when Zac Dawson, Jack Steven, Rhys Stanley and Paul Cahill were suspended and fined.

"Keep the faith and know that we are good people, we are human, we are fallible, we make mistakes, but we're the first ones to put our hands up and say we're learning," Lyon told fans at the AGM.

"We're not perfect, but we do a lot right and your show of faith has been outstanding."

Westaway said the players needed to be more careful with their off-field behaviour and called for the whole club to rise above the current problems.

"Players need to be aware that they are in high-profile, well-paid positions that come with responsibility," he said.

"They are not leading the life of most people, they also need to recognise the privilege that comes with representing St Kilda.

"We are an organisation that means a great deal to many people as you can see here tonight, we have an obligation to repay the faith and trust that our fans place in us.

"Our next steps as a club will define us, but we must remain united and we must remain strong."

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