Former St Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt calls on AFL to do more to help retired players after former teammate jailed for drug offenses

Nick Riewoldt, the great St Kilda, has made a passionate plea to the AFL and the players’ union to provide more adequate support for players leaving the professional game.

Riewoldt’s call on Monday night came after former teammate Sam Fisher was jailed for dealing commercial amounts of illegal drugs.

Fisher, 39, played 228 games for the Saints before retiring in 2016.

“A lot of his closest teammates knew he had some problems, but to that extent, when everything was exposed last week, I think many of us were surprised at how bad the situation had gotten,” Riewoldt said on Fox. Feet.

“But it was tough and of course you immediately start thinking about Sam and the situation he’s in, and his family and those close to him, and then you do a little reflectiveness, ‘What more can we do? have done?'”

Riewoldt – a longtime captain during Fisher’s time at St Kilda from 2004 to 2016 – admitted questions would be asked of the club’s leaders and playgroup at the time.

“As a group I think we did as much as we could for Sam.

“But at a time like this you really realize how entrenched you are as a teammate when a player is faced with challenges of the kind that Sam has faced.

“I understand those questions are going to be about us and our group and the leadership and all that stuff, but you can lay your head on the pillow knowing you’ve done as much as you could.”

Sam Fisher (left) is one of many players who have struggled to adjust to life after retiring from the AFL.AAP: Julian Smith

Riewoldt said he had approached the AFL Players’ Association with his concerns about Fisher but had received a delayed and inadequate response.

The union has reportedly provided some support to Fisher, but details are guarded by confidentiality clauses.

Riewoldt said the level of support for players leaving the AFL system was one of the biggest issues facing the league and the players’ union, stating that “enough is enough”.

“There aren’t many Sam Fisher-esque incidents we’re hearing about right now, but there are a lot of players [who] slip through the cracks,” said Riewoldt.

“Let this be the line-in-the-sand moment. This is the cautionary tale.

“Something has to be done because players and teammates can do as much as they want, but they are not experts in space and need help.”

Riewoldt said his advocacy was not about gaining player sympathy.

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