Jack Riewoldt has responded to Leigh Matthews’ criticism of the playing group.
Jack Riewoldt has responded to Leigh Matthews’ criticism of the playing group.

Riewoldt slams AFL legend for attack on players

Dual premiership Tiger Jack Riewoldt has fired back at AFL legend Leigh Matthews, believing his ferocious attack on the current playing list was "irresponsible"

Matthews described the playing group's proposal for a 50 per cent pay cut as "embarrassingly disappointing" on Sportsday 3AW on Tuesday night, declaring he has "lost a lot of respect" for them.

The Richmond goalkicker responded in kind, claiming Matthews' comments were reckless given his immense standing in the game.

 

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"For an AFL great to say that about the current playing list I think is really disappointing." Riewoldt told AFL 360.

"Leigh has a strong opinion and a well heard voice so I thought that was a bit irresponsible."

Riewoldt argued the criticism was harsh considering the playing group had come together to raise vital funds for bushfire relief less than a month ago.

Jack Riewoldt has hit back at Leigh Matthews. Picture: AAP Image/Michael Dodge
Jack Riewoldt has hit back at Leigh Matthews. Picture: AAP Image/Michael Dodge
 

"We've only got to go back three weeks ago and 45-50 of the best players of the game out their hand up and said 'we will help Australia raise $8 million dollars and put our bodies on the line," he said.

North Melbourne ruckman Todd Goldstein was also disappointed with Matthews' comments, saying AFL contracts were complex and the players are trying to ensure the inevitable pay cuts are "fair" for everyone.

"I know everyone paints it as if it's a big dispute," Goldstein told SEN Breakfast.

"We're doing everything we can to work with them.

"I think it's a bit unfair to say the players are being selfish, we're trying to work really well with the AFL."

Riewoldt added the players offered to halve their wages until May 31 because that was the date the AFL had tentatively set for the competition to restart.

He said they would be willing to renegotiate when the fate of the season became clearer.

 

 

"At the moment we put something to the AFL that says let's re-evaluate in 10 weeks' time, probably six weeks time, because we'll know what's going to come about with COVID-19," Riewoldt said.

"But people shouldn't be under any illusion we're going to go 'nah nah, we want to be paid fully'. If the game isn't going, we understand there's a massive role for the players to take. There'll be plenty of other cuts, we may see lists cut, we may see players' jobs lost. We totally understand that.

"Let's just take a breath, we've got until June 1. Let's make a decision then."

Last week the three-time Coleman medallist passionately defended the AFLPA's hopeful request to play a 22-game season before the AFL brought the game to a halt until May 31.

- with Gilbert Gardiner

 

Originally published as Riewoldt slams AFL legend for attack on players



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