Don’t write Nick off yet

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT -

WRITE off Nick Riewoldt’s AFL fu­ture at your peril, warns St Kilda boss Matt Fin­nis.

The Saints star is in on­go­ing talks with the club about whether he con­tin­ues be­yond this sea­son and there is plenty of spec­u­la­tion about what might hap­pen.

Riewoldt has played 332 games, sec­ond only to former team­mate Robert Har­vey. St Kilda also must make a call later this year on fel­low vet­eran Leigh Mon­tagna, who is on 286 games.

“Cer­tainly, we’re in reg­u­lar dia­logue with Nick and Joey and their man­age­ment,” Fin­nis said.

“It’s a con­ver­sa­tion that’s hap­pen­ing around us, but the most im­por­tant con­ver­sa­tion is hap­pen­ing in the four walls of our footy club.

“Nick has been a cham­pion for a long time and any­one who is quick to write him off would be mak­ing a pretty haz­ardous guess.”

Fin­nis says there are a lot of fac­tors to weigh up with Riewoldt – his phys­i­cal and men­tal state, how the team is de­vel­op­ing and what next year looks like for the Saints.

“There is no such,” he said.

“Like all clubs, our list man­age­ment com­mit­tee starts to time­line as meet more reg­u­larly this time of year. So we will weigh up all the fac­tors that need to be con­sid­ered in this de­ci­sion.

“There’s still over a quar­ter of the sea­son to go and we won’t be rushed into mak­ing a de­ci­sion.”

Mean­while, Fin­nis has en­dorsed two key Saints of­fi­cials as po­ten­tial re­place­ments af­ter last week’s sud­den de­par­tures from AFL House. The league’s foot­ball op­er­a­tions man­ager Si­mon Leth­lean and com­mer­cial boss Richard Simkiss have left be­cause of ex­tra­mar­i­tal re­la­tion­ships with ju­nior col­leagues.

The early spec­u­la­tion is that Saints list man­ager Ameet Bains will be a strong can­di­date to take over Leth­lean’s job. When asked about Bains, Fin­nis added he hoped Saints com­mer­cial man­ager Chris­tine Fin­negan would be con­sid­ered to re­place Simkiss.

“We have some great peo­ple at our footy club and it would be a good thing if the AFL con­sid­ers the great tal­ent com­ing through the ranks, both in clubs, but also across the broader in­dus­try,” Fin­nis said.

Ear­lier yes­ter­day, the Saints an­nounced mid­fielder Jack Sin­clair had re- signed un­til the end of 2019.

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