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Riewoldt feels pain of replay loss

ST KILDA captain Nick Riewoldt was rated by many as the most valuable player going in to this year's grand finals.

But by his own admission, Riewoldt had a battle on his hands against the relentless and uncompromising Collingwood defence, including direct opponent Nathan Brown who got the better of him last week and in Saturday's grand final replay.

"Clearly their team defence has been pretty good all year. They kept us to under 40 inside 50s again today. That's two weeks in a row, which is a pretty good effort," Riewoldt said after the 56-point loss.

"There was a lot of pressure around the ball so it wasn't exactly a free-flowing game. There weren't many opportunities. They've taken what we were able to do last year to a new level this year."

Riewoldt and his team failed to capitalise on first-half opportunities and went into the second quarter with a woeful scoreline of 1.8.

While bad kicking may not necessarily have cost the Saints the game, it certainly gave them little hope of making a contest of it, Riewoldt said.

"In the second quarter it came down to execution. We had a number of chances and weren't able to put that scoreboard pressure on," he said.

"But I think they really dominated for three of the four quarters. If you take a few of those chances in the second it might have been different, not taking anything away from them."

One of those misses came from Riewoldt early in the first quarter, when a desperate Heath Shaw smothered his kick from the goal square.

It was a moment the he was understandably reluctant to dwell on.

"Yeah I thought I was clear and I wasn't," Riewoldt said.

Saturday was Riewoldt's third grand final, but his first heavy loss after last year's draw and 2009's narrow defeat.

While it didn't have had the heart-stopping finish of the other two games, the result still burned deeply.

"It's as bad a feeling as you can have when you're involved in what we are. It's pretty self-explanatory really," he said.

Riewoldt had only heard briefly from Ross Lyon after the game but said the coach had already urged them to push through football's harshest pain.

"He got the message across that he's proud of the group and what we've been able to do this year," Riewoldt said.

"And now, more than ever, it's about not giving up."