Riewoldt relishes AFL youngsters

The master and his apprentice finally came together in St Kilda’s forward line.

While Sunday’s 16-point AFL loss to Richmond was an emotional game for Saints captain Nick Riewoldt, it was also a symbolic moment for him and the club.

Riewoldt and his understudy, Paddy McCartin, were in the same side for the first time.

McCartin was last year’s No.1 draft pick and the Saints recruited him to eventually take over from Riewoldt as their main key forward.

McCartin has not played a senior game since round four, while Riewoldt had to overcome a calf muscle injury to play against the Tigers.

Riewoldt was determined to play, given the game was a fundraiser for the foundation set up in memory of his late sister, Maddie.

The game was also the AFL debut for key defender Hugh Goddard, the second St Kilda pick in last year’s draft.

Just as they hope McCartin will one day lead their attack, so the Saints are planning for Goddard to be the bedrock of their defence.

“It was a great day for the club on a lot of fronts,” Riewoldt said.

“To have our two bookends for the next decade out there was fantastic.

“We’ve got a really good crop of young forwards and they’ve really reinvigorated me as a senior player.

“I’m really enjoying the challenge of helping them develop, and Hugh’s a fierce competitor, a really good person and strong leader for a young guy.

“Today was an exciting day for St Kilda people to be able to see those guys run around together.”

Riewoldt kicked his only goal of the match at the start of the last quarter.

McCartin also kicked his first AFL goal as the Saints piled on 6.3 to 0.3 in the final term.

Saints coach Alan Richardson said he “absolutely” wants Riewoldt and McCartin to play more games together.

“That’s been our want all the way through, (but) the last thing we wanted though was to play Paddy when he wasn’t ready,” Richardson said.

“I thought today was good for both boys (McCartin and Goddard).

“They played their role, they didn’t have overly significant (impacts), but that’s the life of the young player.

“They just need to come in and play their role and learn.”

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