St Kilda skipper Nick Riewoldt is targeting a return against Brisbane next week after missing just one game with the concussion that put him in hospital in Adelaide.
There have been calls for Riewoldt to consider retirement for the sake of his long-term health, most notably from Jonathan Brown and Leigh Matthews, after he was knocked out in a nasty clash of heads with Adelaide’s Brodie Smith a week ago.
But coach Alan Richardson said that the 32-year-old remains keen to return to the field as soon as possible and will consult with his specialist and club doctors early next week in a bid to be cleared to take on the Lions in Brisbane.
“If that meeting goes well and our doctors say he’s good to go (he’ll play),” Richardson said on Saturday.
“We certainly won’t have to ask Rooey if he’s right to go – he’ll be saying yes right now – but as long as all of those people say yes then there’s every chance he’ll play.”
Despite spending a night under observation in the Royal Adelaide Hospital following the sickening collision, Riewoldt recovered quickly from the concussion.
Richardson said calls for the champion Saint to retire were an overreaction.
“(But) I can understand it. I understand there’s real care and their intent is impressive,” he said.
“People really like the way that Rooey goes about his footy and he’s had a pretty challenging period with his family situation (his sister died in February), so I get all that, but I think it’s been a bit over the top.
“In his own mind he’s right to go, but he’ll certainly do the right thing and see the experts.”
St Kilda fell to a 53-point loss to West Coast on Saturday in Riewoldt’s absence.
Sam Fisher (hamstring) and Jimmy Webster (concussion) both failed to complete the match, with Richardson expecting to be without Fisher for two to three weeks.