It might seem unlikely or suspicious that a 33 year-old key forward, on the cusp of his 300th game and 11th season as captain could still be a genuine option. But I present to you Nick ‘Roo’ Riewoldt.
Team: St Kilda
Age: 33 years 3 months
2015 Average: 90.8
2015 Games: 17
100+ Scores: 5
“The old are in second childhood.”
These were the words of Greek playwright Aristophanes over 2000 years ago. Perhaps they were muttered tongue in cheek, or perhaps they were said in relation to his SuperCoach side.
So is age really a barrier? For many obviously it takes a toll, but the exceptions; Brent Harvey, Matthew Richardson, Robert Murphy and Corey Enright are exceptional.
Roo averaged fewer than 91 for the first time since 2011 last year, but if we add a couple of parameters we can improve those numbers.
In Round 7 he had that head-clash with Brodie Smith in the first quarter, leaving them both concussed, resulting in only 22 points for Riewoldt.
Without that match he averaged a healthy 95, and excluded his poor finish to the season his average until Round 17 was 103.
And what about the rumours that he’ll be used on the wing just like Richo was in 2008 as he was approaching the end? It improved Richardon’s SC average from 82 in 2007 to 97 in 2008; a similar improvement from Riewoldt would be a goldmine. Anyone who has seen Riewoldt play live could vouch that he runs just as much as a midfielder anyway, so the transition is unlikely to be a tough one.
Let’s be rational here, what if this ‘rumour’ doesn’t come to fruition? Then we’ve got to be hoping he retains his centre-half forward role.
Again speculation, but if young forwards like Paddy McCartin and Josh Bruce take that CHF role to take the pressure off Riewoldt, he could be spending more time deep inside forward 50 than you’d like.
Another workload based concern; will he be rested for a few games here and there? His knees have been bad for a few seasons now and it won’t take much more than a niggle to convince the medical staff to give him a rest.
I’ll admit that I had Roo last season, picking him up as gamble early in the season, and he was very good, producing some delicious 130s. He finished slowly but he can join the club, seemed as if my whole list had a shocking final month. If I had to pick a key forward he’d be where I’d be looking.
Verdict: A tempting price but a tricky early draw (Port, Dogs, Pies and Hawks). I’ll be on the fence if you want me.
Whaddaya think? Is the Saints skipper too old for you?