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Nick’s six: Riewoldt crowned club champion

Nick Riewoldt of the Saints celebrates a goal during the 2014 AFL Round 11 match between the St Kilda Saints and the Collingwood Magpies at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on May 30, 2014. (Photo: Lachlan Cunningham/AFL Media)
Nick Riewoldt celebrates a goal with Luke Dunstan.
He had a significant influence on our positive results this year.
Alan Richardson
NICK Riewoldt has been crowned St Kilda’s best and fairest player for the sixth time, capping off yet another superb season in the red, white and black.

The 31-year-old won the Trevor Barker Award ahead of retiring veteran Lenny Hayes and reliable defender Sean Dempster, while Leigh Montagna and Luke Delaney rounded out the top five.

Riewoldt last won the Trevor Barker Award in 2009, having previously won it in 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2007. He now has two more St Kilda best and fairest awards than any other Saint in history.

VIDEO: Nick Riewoldt Road to 2018 speech

The forward’s sixth victory places him level with Nathan Buckley, Matthew Pavlich and Jack Dyer on the all-time list. Only seven players in the history of the game have won more club titles than Riewoldt.

“This award is a tribute to the season Nick has had,” Alan Richardson told SAINTS.com.au.

“He had a significant influence on our positive results this year.”

An inspirational skipper and fearless centre half forward, Riewoldt booted 49 goals in 2014 and took 191 marks, more than any other player in the competition.

He began the year with a bang, collecting 23 disposals and booting three goals in the Saints’ win over Melbourne in round one, before registering 24 possessions, 14 marks and five majors against GWS the following weekend.

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In both wins Riewoldt was the key player, acting as a General for St Kilda’s host of younger players, illustrating just how valuable he is in his 14th season of AFL football.

However the skipper reserved his best performance for St Kilda’s clash with Fremantle in round 18.

Heading into the encounter, the Saints were considered rank underdogs against Ross Lyon’s men, who were second on the ladder at the time.

VIDEO: Nick Riewoldt Ozito post game interview Round 18

Three hours later, a Riewoldt-led and Lenny Hayes-inspired St Kilda outfit had dismantled the away team by 58 points, causing arguably the biggest upset of the home and away season.

Riewoldt was everywhere. He booted four goals, collected 30 disposals for just the second time in his career, and clunked a season-high 16 marks in a vintage display.

But his 2014 campaign wasn’t all about goals and marks, with the veteran also committed to undertaking a selfless role further afield, allowing the likes of Rhys Stanley, Spencer White and Tom Lee to play closer to goal.

As a result, he ran further than ever before, and though the delivery wasn’t always perfect, he was always willing to double back and go again.

“It’s one thing for him to perform well, but it’s the performance and the uplift of others that will get us heading in the right direction,” Richardson said.

“He’s been a real driver in that space.”


Nick Riewoldt booted 600th career goal against Port Adelaide.

For the first time since 2006, Riewoldt played every game for the year. He was one of just four Saints to do so, with Jack Newnes, Dempster and Delaney also rewarded for their consistency with top-10 finishes in the best and fairest.

2014 was also the eighth time he’s finished in the top two in the Trevor Barker Award, and the fourth occasion in which he’s led St Kilda’s goal-kicking tally.

And the accolades don’t stop there, with the skipper nominated for the All-Australian team for the eighth time earlier this week. Though he hasn’t made the team since he skippered it in 2009, Riewoldt is considered a strong chance to make the final 22 when it’s announced in preliminary final week.

In round 19, he overtook Danny Frawley as St Kilda’s most capped skipper, leading the team out for the 178th time.

RELATED: Frawley to hand the baton over

He’s now in equal seventh spot on the all-time list, level with ex-Sydney skipper Paul Kelly on 182 games and just two matches adrift of Wayne Carey.

Should his reign continue next year, Riewoldt is poised to become just the fifth player in the history of the game to captain his side for 200 games.

In short, this year’s Trevor Barker Award is yet another firm reminder how decorated Nick Riewoldt’s career has been.

And heading into his 15th AFL season, it’s far from over.

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1. Nick Riewoldt 137
2. Lenny Hayes 126
3. Sean Dempster 101
4. Leigh Montagna 87
5. Luke Delaney 80
6. Jack Newnes 78
7. David Armitage 71
8. Jack Steven 67
9. Maverick Weller 63
10. James Gwilt 62
11. Farren Ray 58
12. Luke Dunstan 56