Sure-fire first-ballot Hall of Famer Nick Riewoldt is expected to announce his retirement from AFL football this afternoon, after a glittering 300+ game career.
The long-time St. Kilda Saints gun reportedly informed teammates of his decision to retire at the conclusion of the 2017 season earlier this morning at the club’s Seaford training and administrative base. He is due to front media at 2pm alongside senior coach Alan Richardson.
Riewoldt’s father Joe appeared to confirm the highly-suspected announcement in a since-deleted tweet posted earlier this morning.
The fearless and peerless 34-year-old will bring to an end a career that has thus-far yielded 333 games, 714 goals, six club Best and Fairest awards, and five All-Australian selections.
Riewoldt was captain of the Saints from 2007 until last year, covering their modern day juggernaut period which saw the club fall agonisingly short in three Grand Finals: the losing 2009 effort against Geelong, the infamous drawn Grand Final in 2010 against Collingwood, and the subsequent loss in the replay of that game one week later.
Riewoldt broke the all-time record for most marks in VFL/AFL history earlier this year, eclipsing the previous (albeit contested) mark of 2906 set by Footscray/North Melbourne great Gary Dempsey back in 1984.
The Saints currently sit in 11th place on the AFL ladder, a game and percentage adrift of the top eight with four games remaining. It’s unclear at this stage if Riewoldt will play should the Saints qualify for the finals series. Should they fail to make the cut, Riewoldt’s swansong would come against Richmond at the MCG in the final round of the premiership season.
Almost inarguably the greatest centre-half-forward of his generation, Riewoldt was the number one overall pick in the 2000 AFL draft, debuting the next year for the Saints.
His willingness to throw his body around with scant regard for his own wellbeing is legendary, and is perhaps best exemplified by this completely fucking bonkers mark taken against Sydney back in 2007.
How the hell do you just *get up* after that? Son of a bitch.
Cheers for everything, Roo. The game’s not gonna see another one like you any time soon.
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Image: Getty Images / Chris Hyde.