In years gone by, St Kilda forward Nick Riewoldt was one of the first picks in most SC teams – a ‘must have’ to any lineup, the big blonde captain scored points freely and was super-consistent. Unfortunately, on the back of an injury-riddled 2010, Roo had a terrible 2011, not living up to the huge expectations he had previously set. So, the big question for Riewoldt mirrors that of his beloved Saints – is their best football behind them?
Well, let’s look purely at the stats first. Going back to 2006, Riewoldt’s SC averages have
Then came 2011. Off-field nude photo scandals got things off to a terrible start, and a chronic knee problem only worsened the situation. From 21 games the big fella averaged just 87.1 pts per game, his lowest tally since SC began. The knives were out, and people started to write him off – the modern game had caught up with him, teams had figured out how to nullify his influence on matches, and the triple GF losses had affected his psyche. He had lost confidence and didn’t seem to be enjoying his football at all.
As a result, 2012 see’s Riewoldt arrive with a very tempting pricetag of just $472,400. But is he worth the risk?
Absolutely he is.
Things have changed dramatically at St Kilda form this time last year, when the club was in a free-fall and, publicly at least, in disarray. A new, positive (yes, unproven) coach has arrived in Scott Watters, who promises to return the Saints to a free-flowing, fast-moving, attacking football team. That news alone can only mean good things for Riewoldt, who strength is his ability to run his opponents ragged. From all accounts Roo is injury-free, training strong and super-fit. There is no black cloud hanging over his head, no scandals, no Grand Final to haunt him this year. His reputation is on the line, and such a driven player will be determined to prove the critics wrong.
The Saints’ draw is hardly intimidating either, starting with Port Adelaide, Gold Coast, Western Bulldogs, Fremantle and Melbourne in the first five rounds. For the whole season they’ve got the 5th easiest run. They play Geelong, Collingwood and Hawthorn all only once each.
At his current price, Nick’s opposition are players the ilk of Josh KENNEDY, Robin NAHAS, Mark LeCRAS and Michael HURLEY. Good players in their own right all of them, but not even close to being in the same class as Riewoldt.
Dave's Good Buy Rating: I’m predicting a big return to form for Roo this year, and at that price he will be an absolute steal. Slot him and big Jono Brown into your lineup – they will not disappoint.