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Club champion Riewoldt challenges Saints

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CLUB champion Nick Riewoldt’s mind was firmly on the future at St Kilda’s best and fairest awards on Friday night.

Rather than dwell on his record equalling fourth Trevor Barker Award, he gave a firm and passionate speech that challenged every person at the club.

“I thought if I got the opportunity to speak I wanted to make a bit of an impact and make sure we’ve got a focus fresh in our mind when we get back training for pre-season.

“I don’t really like to mention them all the time, but Geelong is such a great example”, he reflected after his call to arms..

Riewoldt said the Geelong premiership win showed what can be achieved by a football club.

“It really highlights that we are 80 per cent there. It’s just that last 20 per cent that you need to tweak and it just shows you need to come together as a team.

“I read about Chris Pelchen saying in today’s paper that we had the most talented list between 2005 and 2006. It made me feel sick in a lot of ways.

“Talent will only get you so far.”

Riewoldt was determined to make a point to teammates and everyone else at the club.

“I’m 25 next week and I suppose my career is half over. It dawned on me that I don’t want to stand by for one more second without the club winning a premiership.

“If it means that you’ve got to say things that people might not like to hear, you’ve got to say it.”

He didn’t hesitate in throwing down the gauntlet to the new board and president-elect Greg Westaway.

“Everyone’s got to be accountable”, Riewoldt said.

Looking directly at the new board he said: “You’ve talked the talk - now it’s time to deliver on what you’ve said. I’m confident you will do that “.

While he pointed to the team’s closeness and unity, he also said that the friendships should not make people shy away from hard realities.

“To the players it’s obvious we are all great mates and we all love each other and get along really well.

“But I think too often we let our mateship get in the way of the truth and it gets in the way of us doing the things we need to do and say to win the premiership.”

Earlier Riewoldt had said that the club should not be content with just being competitive

“When we get back on November 5 and walk through that door, we’re getting on a bus together and we’re going down the road to a premiership. You’re either on the bus or you get run over.

“We all know if we get on that bus together and seriously work together then there’s no doubt we will win a premiership. If we get on that bus together it will be the best thing you do for your entire lives.”

Riewoldt did not spare himself in the quest for improvement.

“You need to ask yourself honestly; ‘am I doing everything I can to help St Kilda win a premiership’.

“I know I’m not. I could be doing more to make sure we win a premiership, but until we have everyone asking themselves the question and challenging each other on it, we are not going to achieve what we want to achieve.”

Riewoldt said nobody could be content with the performance of 2007.

“We were a competitive team this year, but that’s about it. There are two ways you can go – be competitive and hover round the mark or you can go down the road to a premiership.”

The blond superstar flies out to Zurich this weekend to catch up with girlfriend Stephanie McIntosh and family in Europe.

Riewoldt’s fourth Trevor Barker Award equals club games record holder Robert Harvey and club champion Bill Cubbins’ tally.

Riewoldt also won the Trevor Barker Award in 2002, 2004 and 2006.

In season 2007, Riewoldt played 20 games for the Saints, kicked 42 goals and took 194 marks.

NAB AFL Rising Star nominee Sam Gilbert took out the Most Promising New Player Award, while St Kilda retirees Fraser Gehrig, Andrew Thompson, Aaron Hamill, Brett Voss and Matthew Clarke were also recognised for their services to the club.

2007 Trevor Barker Award top 10
Nick Riewoldt                       529 votes
Sam Fisher                            488 votes
Leigh Montagna                    442 votes
Nick Dal Santo                     436 votes
Lenny Hayes                         422 votes
Jason Gram                           379 votes
Robert Harvey                       363 votes
Fraser Gehrig                        357 votes
Jason Blake                           350 votes
Steven Baker                         323 votes

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