Skipper Nick Riewoldt says the Saints’ initiative of playing for premiership points overseas for the first time is an historic moment in AFL history which cannot be understated.
St Kilda announced it will play in Wellington, New Zealand on Anzac Day next year as part of a three year deal, which will see five matches, played in the country during that period.The captain spoke with media on Friday morning at the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa.
It’s the first game in 150 years with premiership points outside of Australia. I don’t think you can undersell that or how big a moment it is for the competition,” Riewoldt told Sportal.
“I suppose the extra meaning and the extra emphasis as far as our football club goes is that it’s really important because it’s Anzac Day.
“Historically in the AFL, Collingwood and Essendon have had a mortgage on Anzac Day and the opportunity for us at St Kilda to play on that day and to represent the Anzac spirit… I think is just so exciting.
“It’s a huge honour to be able to go out and compete and try and represent the Anzac values.
“In no way does playing football correlate to fighting in a war.
“But to be able to go out and honour not just the past people who have represented both of our countries on the battlefield, but people now who are still representing our countries on foreign soil and doing a wonderful job, to be able to go out and pay tribute to that is a great honour,” Riewoldt said.
Earlier this week at the club’s Best and Fairest, senior coach Scott Watters said the opportunities are many for the football club and will give the playing group added values.
“The New Zealand initiative that has basically evolved over a period of time, but has really only come to light (on Wednesday), is an amazing initiative for this football club,” Watters told attendees at the Trevor Barker awards.“You think about the impact of Tasmania on Hawthorn… Tasmania has 400,000 people, New Zealand has 4 million.”
“This is an enormous opportunity
for this football club, one which we’ll embrace as a playing group.“The ANZAC values of courage, sacrifice, mateship and endurance, hopefully are values which echo within the walls of our club within the coming years but again we really look forward to that opportunity.”