Richmond great Jack Riewoldt has conceded that the end of his glittering AFL career is in sight.
The star forward is 34 years old and will turn 35 in October. He is without a contract at the end of this season.
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The Tasmanian-born star has continued the tradition of famous forwards from the Apple Isle who became legends at Punt Road, joining the likes of Royce Hart, Michael Roach, and Matthew Richardson.
He has kicked 781 goals, recently moving past another club immortal in Kevin Bartlett to sit third on the list of greatest goalkickers from Tigerland, only behind Richardson (800) and ‘Skinny’ Jack Titus (970).
After being a key pillar in the club’s recent golden era between 2017 and 2020 – which netted three premierships including back-to-back flags in 2019-20 – the curtain has truly closed on that wonderful dynasty.
Riewoldt celebrates the 2019 grand final victory with adoring Richmond fans. Credit: Getty Images
Mastermind coach Damien Hardwick called it a day mid-season and the Tigers are 10th on the ladder and now in a dogfight to make the finals this year.
Since 2020, they missed finals in 2021 and scraped in 2022 only to be bundled out in the first week.
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This year was considered the last roll of the dice as the Tigers reloaded. They recruited gun midfielders Tim Taranto and Jacob Hopper from the GWS Giants in a bid for one last flag tilt while their veterans, including superstar Dustin Martin, were still playing good football … but it wasn’t to be.
Former captain and Brownlow medallist Trent Cotchin also looks set to call it a day at season’s end.
“Jack and I have had plenty of conversations this year where it’s just about smelling the roses and enjoying each moment,” Cotchin said last month.
“We’ve shared moments where we just look at each other and we know that’s a time to take in and celebrate and be present.
“You can get caught up in all the hoo-haa around what’s next but I’m really just trying to celebrate what is right now.”
Riewoldt potentially showed his hand when he swapped jumpers with Geelong star forward Tom Hawkins in Round 9 earlier this year after Richmond defeated the Cats at the MCG.
Jack Riewoldt and Tom Hawkins swap jumpers in Round 9. Credit: Getty Images
And now, in the strongest indication yet that his time might be up, he conceded this year had taken its toll, particularly after the injury to his sidekick Tom Lynch, who is out for the season with a foot issue.
“I’m still undecided about what (the future) looks like,” Riewoldt said on his regular slot on AFL 360.
“I think the big thing for me is not having Lynchy there. (That) has probably changed a little bit of what the workload was going to look like for me.
“It probably means I’ve been playing on the best defender every week, which I was pencilling in maybe him taking the best defender every week. I can’t do things that I used to be able to do.
“I’ve been battling along for a little bit with a few niggles here and there probably for the last sort of three months.
“Probably, just out of necessity really, I’ve been playing every game. Ideally, and I had the conversation at the end of last year with Dimma (Hardwick), I’d probably be a month on, one week off and Trent (Cotchin) was probably a little bit in the same position.
“I really love the weekend, going in to play footy, travelling into the MCG or travelling wherever, I’ve really enjoyed travelling interstate this year and soaking that up as well.
“(But) there’s a few things that I’ll probably toss up over the next month (and) I think Trent will probably be in the same boat. It’s an interesting time.”
– With AAP
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