It’s one of the most iconic marks in the history of the game, but it’s a kick that Robert Harvey is deeply embarrassed about.
The mark is, of course, the one taken by Nick Riewoldt at the SCG in 2004, when the then 21-year-old sprinted full pace back with the flight and leapt head first into an oncoming pack to haul in a grab that will be replayed for as long as the game is played.
Harvey, who is one of only 14 players to win the Brownlow Medal on multiple occasions, still can’t believe his kick to Riewoldt put the young forward in such a dangerous position and still marvels at the phenomenal mark.
“It was horrible, wasn’t it? When I look back on it now I think how could I do that to a young kid?” Harvey told saints.com.au this week ahead of what could be Riewoldt’s final game this Sunday.
“I was truly embarrassed when I saw it. That honestly could have finished his career there and then.
“I actually look back on it and wonder if I could actually kick the ball. It wasn’t a drop punt it wasn’t anything.
“I nearly had him killed before he even got started. How hard he hit that contest was just amazing, it was full on. But it was such a fantastic mark. Maybe I just wanted to get his profile up in the early days?”
While many have lauded Riewoldt’s professionalism in the weeks since he announced his retirement on a Monday afternoon at Linen House Centre, the six-time Trevor Barker Award winner’s competitiveness is what impressed Harvey most.
“I think for me, more than the professionalism because that was always there, the competitiveness of ‘Rooey’ was always there. He just wanted to be the best all the time and he demanded that of his teammates,” Harvey said.
“It all came out of a drive to be the best and that real competitiveness. He wants to win so much and it just spills over and it’s great.
“It’s something the team needed and it made him become a leader at a really young age. I reckon the players really respect that about him. He learnt along the way to harness it as he went.”
When Harvey pictures Riewoldt, he sees a blonde haired forward leaping into packs like the late, great Trevor Barker. He also sees the champion centre-half forward blowing up opposition defenders.
When Riewoldt is gone, Harvey is certain the Saints’ longest-serving skipper will leave a lasting imprint on the club through his leadership and standards.
“When you think of him you think of the blonde hair; he reminds me of Trevor Barker in the way he flashes in for those marks going back with the flight inside 50,” he said.
“I also immediately think of those 50, 70, 80 metre leads where he burns off his opponent, so the work rate as well. They are probably the two things that
“The other thing is the legacy he leaves as a leader. He got so close to the premierships and he was such a big driver of that. So when you talk about legacy, if you talk to Ross Lyon about him, just the impact he had on that group. He will pass those standards onto all the kids that are at the club now.”