AFL life continues after 30 for stars

Nick Riewoldt welcomed Drew Petrie to the AFL’s 300 club by nearly ruining his occasion on Sunday at Etihad Stadium.

Riewoldt was again outstanding for St Kilda, with the captain taking 16 marks and kicking three goals.

His third major sparked the four-goal surge in the last quarter that tied the scores, after North had led by a game-high 26 points.

But Todd Goldstein’s behind from a free kick and Mason Wood’s goal on the final siren meant the Kangaroos snuck home by seven points.

At 33, Riewoldt shows no signs of slowing down and he is on the verge of confirming he will keep playing next season.

He is in a growing group of players, including Petrie, that is proving AFL life can continue beyond 30.

“He’s in good form, isn’t he?,” said Saints coach Alan Richardson.

“There’s a bit of a trend across the competition of guys – they have a team full of them – who are at that age and still playing strong footy.

“I reckon the way that the clubs and their sports science departments are looking after those players, it should be no surprise.”

Riewoldt was limping late in the last quarter, but Richardson expects him to play next Sunday in Perth against West Coast.

Petrie had a quiet milestone match, but kicked North’s first goal and finished with two.

Probably his bigger impact on the game was that the Kangaroos were determined his 300th would end with a win.

Coach Brad Scott noted that Daniel Wells was determined to go back on the ground late in the game, despite a leg injury.

Wells then laid two crucial smothers to help ensure they held off the Saints.

“Wellsy just willed himself to get back on … that just shows what they think of Drew,” Scott said.

The North coach also said the Saints deserved credit for allowing the Kangaroos to properly mark Petrie’s milestone, despite it being a St Kilda home game.

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