Riewoldt still going strong. By Peter Blucher
Nick Riewoldt is the oldest Queenslander in the AFL this year, and there’s an argument to say he’s still the best.
The 33-year-old St.Kilda captain was the only Queenslander to poll votes in the AFL Coach’s Association Player of the Year Award in Round 20, collecting five votes for 21 possessions, an equal season-high 16 marks and a goal in the Saints’ 71-point win over Carlton on Sunday.
It was the fourth time this season he’s headed the Queensland vote in the prestigious award in which each coach awards votes on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis in his match each week.
With three rounds left in the home-and-away season, Riewoldt is a clear leader in the Queensland vote overall.
He has 36 votes to lead St.Kilda teammate Tom Hickey (26), Brisbane vice-captain Dayne Zorko (18), Port Adelaide forward Charlie Dixon (17) and St.Kilda midfielder David Armitage (17).
Other Queenslanders in double figures on the leaderboard are Geelong ruckman Zac Smith (13), Gold Coast utility Alex Sexton (13), Sydney ruckman Kurt Tippett (12) and Gold Coast defender Jarrod Harbrow (12).
So good has Riewoldt been in his 16th AFL season that he leads the AFL in marks. Easily.
Despite missing one game through injury he has taken a total of 185 marks in 2016. Next best is Carlton’s Sam Docherty (152) and GWS’ Heath Shaw (152).
Although he plays on average about half of each game up on the wing he is still St.Kilda’s No.3 goal-kicker. He has 30 goals in 18 games to trail only Tim Membury (39) and Josh Bruce (35).
And his goal against Carlton on Sunday saw him draw level with Dixon at the top of the Queensland goal-kicking leaderboard.
Riewoldt has 365 possessions at a game average of 20.3 to rank seventh among the improving Saints.
And he’s third in possessions among Queenslanders behind Armitage (399 at 21.0ppg) and Zorko (398 at 23.4ppg).
He’s had 12 20-possession games this season to trail only Zorko (13) in this category. Harbrow (9), Armitage (8) and Collingwood rookie Josh Smith (8) are next best.
Riewoldt’s big game against Carlton earned him 93 Champion Data ranking points and sees him second overall among Queenslanders behind Zorko.
For the first round this season no Queenslander had 100 Champion Data points.
Zorko topped the list with 98 points for his 14 possessions and 12 tackles in Brisbane’s monster loss to Adelaide in Adelaide.
In other strong Queensland performances in Round 20:-
- Archie Smith followed up his 19 possessions, 30 hitouts and 96 rankings points on debut with 15 possessions, 32 hitouts and 90 ranking points against the Crows.
- Ben Keays had a career-best 18 possessions and an equal career-best 76 ranking points against the Crows, while Harris Andrews had 14 possessions and 12 1%ers.
- Rory Thompson had 15 possessions, 12 marks and 11 1%ers in the Gold Coast Suns’ last-gasp loss to the GWS Giants, while Jarrod Harbrow had 24 possessions.
- Aliir Aliir had 18 possessions and a career-best 84 ranking points against Sydney in Sydney.
- Josh Smith had 20 possessions against Richmond at the MCG.
In the VFL, Wylie Buzza continued his late season surge for Geelong, collecting 20 possessions, eight tackles, 10 hit-outs and a goal to be named his side’s third best against Frankston, and Adam Oxley kicked three goals for Collingwood against Coburg to rank fifth best.