Read Nick Riewoldt’s article in full at espn.com.au.
St Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt has emphatically supported the AFL’s decision to abandon the grand final replay, recalling his experiences from the Saints’ drawn grand final against Collingwood in 2010.
Riewoldt told ESPN the AFL’s decision was “much fairer and equitable for everyone involved – the players, the fans, all the stakeholders in the game”.
“It’s a great decision – it really makes sense for the players and fans, and you could argue they’re the two most important stakeholders.
“I’m a bit surprised the decision was made – often the AFL like to hold onto the things that make our game unique, like the centre-square bounce. Common sense would say just throw it up, but because it’s different, the AFL are inclined to stick with tradition, which is one of the aspects that makes our game great but regarding the replay I’m really glad they made the decision. It’s a smart call.
“And as a spectacle, watching two teams play extra-time for a premiership, to witness that would be incredible.”
Riewoldt said the aftermath of the 2010 draw, before the grand final replay that Collingwood won convincingly, was difficult for those involved.
“[Playing out a draw in 2010] was so difficult – I think the only smile I saw from anyone was [ex-AFL boss] Andrew Demetriou because he knew it was going to be a pretty big windfall financially – we had a brief discussion and I said ‘you’re the happiest bloke in the world right now aren’t you?’ And he just smiled,” Riewoldt told ESPN.
“There were just so many emotions – anger at the fact we knew we had to come back a week later, frustration at being so close to winning it, especially when we were up in that last quarter, there was a whole range of emotions.
“It’s all a bit of a blur, looking back now.”
Riewoldt added he would have much preferred extra time in the 2010 grand final.
“I’m not saying we were sure things to go on and win the game, but we would have performed a lot better in extra-time than a week after.”