St Kilda superstar Nick Riewoldt is hopeful he has escaped a serious knee injury but admitted he is in the hands of the scanning gods.
The forward appeared to hyper-extend his right knee with six minutes remaining in last night’s 30-point loss to Melbourne and was stretchered from Etihad Stadium.
Social media erupted and the fear of supporters rippled around the stadium but Riewoldt, 34, appeared to be walking relatively freely in the rooms post-match after what he admitted he had feared was an ACL scare.
“I heard a big pop and there was pain and I reacted to it,” Riewoldt told Fox Footy.
“I thought that (ACL) was what I’d done.
“The docs are pretty happy with the testing that they’ve done that it’s not (an) ACL but there’s clearly something in there.
“It’s stiff and sore now. I gave it a pretty good wrench.”
Riewoldt was tested in a side room by club medical staff with initial structural signs positive, but he will have scans today to determine any damage.
Coach Alan Richardson said the scenario is “much more positive than it could have been”.
“(I thought) what most of us would have been thinking … (that) it didn’t look good,” he said.
“Experienced players usually know.
“We’re incredibly relieved. Now, it’s only early, we have to get scans, but it looks more positive than it might have been.”
St Kilda led by as many as 24 points early in the second term before the Demons piled on 10 unanswered goals in a two-quarter blitz.
They were “smashed” in the midfield and by Demons ruckman Max Gawn, Richardson said, and lowered their heads in response to the Demon onslaught.
“We became really reactionary, possibly on the back of what Gawn was doing in particular,” he said.
“That certainly affected, unfortunately and disappointingly, the mindset and the attitude of the players.
“We became a little bit more ’folding-back’ as opposed to getting in the opposition’s face. Where there was many opportunities for us to come forward and be aggressive … that’s our way. It’s a bloody hard lesson. We’ve had a really positive preseason … been a really fit group all the way through. We got an absolute lesson today.”
He has challenged the group to respond strongly, and declared they will do just that “if we really care”.
“That was disappointing but what we will do is we’ll pick ourselves up, we’ll work hard,” he said.
“We’re either learners or losers. Certainly we lost tonight, but we need to learn from that, have a really strong week on the track and bounce back if we really care. If we’re made of the right stuff as a playing group and a footy club, that’s the only response that we’ll want from our group and demand from the group.”
Young forward Paddy McCartin was a late withdrawal from the match due to what Richardson described as some “hamstring awareness”.
He was cleared to play and wanted to feature but was not risked, and will instead be put through his paces in a VFL practice match today.
“There’s fit to play and then there’s fit to perform,” he said.
“It wasn’t a concern about re-injury, it was about whether he was going to be at his best.”
Nathan Wright and Nathan Brown were both put through and passed concussion testing during last night’s match with Richardson confident the pair will recover.