St Kilda champion Nick Riewoldt has put an exclamation mark on his incredible contribution to the AFL industry over 17 years, with the 2017 AFL Players’ Association Madden Medal.
The Madden Medal is awarded to the retiring player who has best demonstrated on-field excellence, personal development and growth, as well as community spirit over the course of his playing career.
Matthew Priddis, Sam Mitchell, Drew Petrie, Matthew Boyd, Tom Lonergan, Bob Murphy, Andrew Swallow, Jobe Watson and Leigh Montagna were the other nominees in one of the richest fields in the Madden Medal’s 11-year history.
Riewoldt accepted the award from Simon Madden and 2016 Madden Medallist Matthew Pavlich at the AFLPA season launch event in Melbourne on Monday night.
“To receive any award which is voted on and overseen by your peers is a great honour, and to win one which also bears the Madden name is especially significant – both Simon and Justin Madden achieved incredibly high standards in both their football and professional careers and have served as great motivation for hundreds of our alumni,” Riewoldt said.
“I always believed that my actions on the field offered an insight into who I was as a person, and while incredibly important to me, I didn’t want to be defined by them. Rather, I wanted to utilise the skills that football helped me develop on a platform that transcended sport.”
Simon Madden had nothing but praise for Riewoldt and his outstanding contribution to the AFL.
“Nick has had an extraordinary career and will go down in history as one of the great legends of this game – his leadership, courage and class on the field has been mirrored in the way he conducts himself off the field.”
Riewoldt was drafted as the No. 1 pick in 2000, named Rising Star in his debut year and went on to be the longest-serving St Kilda captain, kick 718 goals from 336 games and take more marks than any other player in the history of the game.
In retiring, Riewoldt is one of the league’s most decorated players with both AFL and club life memberships, six club best and fairest awards, an AFL Players’ MVP Award and five All-Australian selections, including as captain and vice-captain in consecutive years.
Off the field, Riewoldt has been dedicated to his personal development in undertaking numerous management diplomas and a Bachelor of Exercise Science and Business (Sport Management).
He is also a co-founder and chairperson of Maddie Riewoldt’s Vision, a charity formed in honour of his late sister in 2015 to raise funds for research into treatments and cures of Bone Marrow Failure Syndromes.
The Madden Medal is decided by vote from the AFL Players’ Association Board, as well as past winners of the award.
The Madden Medallist is named after former AFLPA presidents Simon and Justin Madden and was first presented in 2007.
Past winners of the award include Matthew Pavlich, Chris Judd, Lenny Hayes, Jude Bolton, Luke Power, Cameron Ling, Brett Kirk, Michael O’Loughlin, Robert Harvey and Glenn Archer.