This game was largely overshadowed by the concept that it had been built around.
Earlier this year, Maddie Riewoldt, the younger sister of St Kilda champion Nick Riewoldt, passed away after a battle with Aplastic Anaemia (a rare, but deadly, blood disease). Maddie was also the cousin of Richmond's Jack Riewoldt. So when the Riewoldt family decided to honour one of their own with a game, and raise some money for investigation into the disease that claimed her life, it made sense that the match should be between the clubs that contain members of her family.
On the face of it this was a game between St Kilda and Richmond. The Saints are in rebuild mode, and while they have improved over the course of this season, they're not going to feature in the finals. Richmond on the other hand is on the up and looking very likely to make their 3rd finals series in a row. Some are even talking the club as dark horses for a tilt at the Premiership.
I don't like St Kilda. Because they've been pretty bad for most of the last 50 or so years, a lot of people give them the sympathy vote and make them a second team. Even though my grandmother barracked for them (mainly because she came from Elwood) I've never liked them. Their supporters are seriously obnoxious during their rare periods of success. Despite feeling for what Nick Riewoldt went through with his sister, I don't like him as a player. He has talent, but spends a lot of time sooking to the umpires about how hard done by he is.
Cousins Jack and Nick tossed the coin and shared an embrace before the match.
Richmond had a couple out. Ty Vickery was suspended and Shane Edwards was injured. We elected not to really replace Vickery, although it could be argued that the return of Ivan Maric covered him and Ben Lennon came in, as well as Matt McDonough in place of the omitted Steve Morris.
Despite their ladder position the Saints can't be taken lightly. They outplayed the Tigers a little bit in the opening quarter, but then succumbed to the greater skill and experience of their opponents in the 2nd and 3rd quarter. The word machinelike was mentioned when Richmond scored against St Kilda at will in the 3rd quarter.
We had a 52 point lead and went into the final term in cruise mode. I think the Saints were fired up at 3 quarter time. They were probably urged to look at Nick Riewoldt on one leg and doing it for his sister, and their own pride. They came at the Tigers hard. Once a team gets a run on and the other team has switched off mentally it becomes a hard thing to reverse. To their credit the Tigers did lift enough to defend, shut down some of the Saints and get a win, but their lead was significantly cut by the final siren.
Have to eradicate that complacency for Fremantle next week.
The cousins shake hands in a mutual mark of respect.