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Riewoldt fully focused

Nick Riewoldt - AFL Captains Day Nick Riewoldt speaks to the media at AFL Captains Day, Etihad Stadium

St Kilda Captain Nick Riewoldt remained completely focused on football at yesterday’s AFL Captains Day, where he assured waiting media that his side can’t wait for Round 1 of the Premiership Season to start next weekend.

With the Saints playing respected rivals Geelong next Friday night at the MCG, Riewoldt said he was eager to commence another season of Saints Footy.

“I spoke to Lingy (Cameron Ling) earlier and Geelong are certainly ready and raring to go,” he said. “A new coach, a new playing group and a new era for them as well.”

“We’ve got a healthy respect and rivalry with them and that’s what our focus is on at the moment.”

Answering the inevitable question of whether the team can once again challenge for the Premiership in 2011, the Saints skipper said he believes that the experience of playing three Grand Finals in two years will be invaluable to his side.

“(The) motivation is as determined as it was and has been over the past few years. Clearly we are chasing the ultimate prize,” he said.

“We’re another year older, but another year more experienced. We’ve added some exciting young guys and we’re up for the challenge.”

“It’s just a bigger challenge that it was last year. Every year the competition gets better, it gets stronger, there’s new tactics being applied to different teams.”

Riewoldt continued by saying; “we can take great confidence coming off 09 into 10 that we were able to get back there and give ourselves an opportunity. So I think this year we can take great confidence from that.”

After Senior Coach Ross Lyon admitted he was less than impressed with the performance of the team during the recent NAB Cup and NAB Challenge pre-season competitions, Riewoldt said the coach was using this public medium to get a response from the playing group.

“I think right across the board, all teams would acknowledge at this stage of the season that they have got plenty to improve on, and we are certainly no different from anyone else with respect to that.”