juin 29, 2022

St Kilda, Nick Riewoldt on Sam Fisher drug charges

3 min read

St Kilda legend Nick Riewoldt says the AFL and its players’ union « can do more as an industry » to help struggling ex-players off the field in the wake of Sam Fisher’s drug trafficking charges.

Fisher, a former Saint and teammate of Riewoldt, who played 228 games for the club, has been accused of trafficking large amounts of illicit drugs across Australia after police raided his Melbourne home.

Police allege the 39-year-old is behind a large package of drugs seized in Western Australia last month.

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Speaking out on Fisher’s troubles, Riewoldt conceded he knew his ex-teammate had been struggling off the field for some time.

Saint Sam Fisher (left) and Nick Riewoldt (right) in 2017 (Getty)

« A lot of his close teammates knew he had some issues, but to this extent, once it was all laid bare last week, I think a lot of us were surprised at just how bad the situation had become, » Riewoldt said on Fox Footy.

« But it landed heavy, and obviously straight away you start thinking about Sam and the situation he finds himself in, and his family and those close to him, and you do a bit of reflecting around what more could you have done?

« A reflection on our group, the time we’ve spent together as teammates. It’s been a pretty tough week for all of those blokes. »

The former Saints captain said he and several former teammates did as much as they could to help Fisher before he was charged.

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« There have been a lot of Sam’s teammates who have done as much as they possibly could, myself included, and some have gone to extraordinary levels involving conversations with family and friends, » he added.

« As a group we did as much as we possibly could for Sam but at a time like this, you really realise how out of your depth you are as a teammate, when a player is facing challenges of the kind Sam has faced.

« I understand those questions will come about us and our group and the leadership and all of that sort of stuff, but you put your head on the pillow knowing that you did as much as you could. »

Fisher retired from the AFL at the end of 2016. His career highlights included All-Australian selection in 2008 and two best and fairest awards for the Saints.

While not asking for sympathy, Riewoldt said the players’ union can do more to help athletes transition from life after football.

« This is not about feeling sorry for players. Because players are paid really well, they’ve got all of these opportunities available to them as they go through the game, » he said.

« But somewhere along the line, it’s not working, because the condition that too many players are finding themselves in post-career is not at the level that it should be. And we can do more as an industry.

« I think the AFLPA in particular, need to champion this cause and take the lead on this cause to stop these situations from occurring. »

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