For a site that is focused on the Essendon footy club, its supporters and general banter, we don’t tend to consider the happenings at other clubs very often. However today, I want to take the opportunity to comment on the St Kilda/Nick Riewoldt debacle that is developing and gaining momentum each day.
Riewoldt is a champion. There is no denying that. He has played the game at the top level his entire career with the one club. He is a decorated leader; he leads from the front every time he crosses that white line. He has been one of the most dominant forwards of the last 15 plus years. He plays the game in a way that you can’t help but to admire. He is a terrific athlete; he runs hard all day; he takes huge marks and is brave.
Riewoldt has asked the Saints hierarchy if there is a place for him on the roster at Moorabbin next season, a request that is fair and reasonable. He has been met with silence, and has been told that no decision will be made on his playing career until seasons end. The issue I have here is that, by waiting until the end of the season, the Saints are all but denying this champion of the game, the sendoff he truly deserves if they do indeed pull the pin on his illustrious career. They are also denying the fans the opportunity to thank Riewoldt for his massive efforts. Riewoldt has said he wants to go on for another year, but his future is well and truly in the club’s hands at the moment.
As an Essendon supporter, I am forever grateful that James Hird, another decorated player who exhibited similar traits on the footy field to Riewoldt, could have his farewell roadshow. And that we, as fans, got to say thank you for what was a remarkable career. Don’t get me wrong, James Hird will always be remembered as a far superior player to Nick Riewoldt, but my point is that Riewoldt is to the Saints, what Hird was to the Bombers.
No one can ever disagree that Riewoldt has given absolutely everything to the Saints, he almost achieved a very rare feat with that footy team, winning their second ever flag in 2010 against those wretched Pies.
“Roo” is a champion, and has earnt the opportunity to go out on his own terms. He knows his body better than anyone, and it’s hardly like he is keeping anyone better or with more potential out of the side. Loyalty in footy is dead, but I would personally like to see him get the opportunity to play one more season with his beloved Sainters.