St Kilda coach Alan Richardson urged his team to deliver a performance worthy of their captain Nick Riewoldt’s 300th AFL match.
Riewoldt will mark the milestone against the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.
The Saints are looking for their first win after a final quarter fade-out against Port Adelaide in round one and Richardson said victory was the focus but urged his team to do “Rooey” proud.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to go out and get our season on track, but also play in a way that we think he would respect,” Richardson said.
As a footy team we tend to be much more focused on the game coming up, although he is our captain and we are incredibly proud of the achievement.”
The Bulldogs crushed Fremantle by 65 points in their opening match with Richardson pointing to their contested ball figures as telling.
But he said it was an area the Saints also impressed in.
“They smashed Fremantle on the inside … we had a pretty good day there with respect to clearance with (Tom) Hickey and Jack Steven and David Armitage against Port and we’ll need to be strong there to be in the game and there’s no reason we won’t be,” Richardson said.
Riewoldt is expected to spend time up the ground following the inclusion of Paddy McCartin with the ploy making inroads against the Bulldogs in their last meeting, which the Saints lost by six points.
The last time we played against the Dogs it was a pretty close game and Rooey played a fair bit of time up on the wing and that was positive for us, Richardson said.
Hell play forward as well, he gives us some real versatility so Paddy coming in certainly gives us a bit more scope there.”