St Kilda legend Nick Riewoldt has described his former club’s decision to link Ben McEvoy to Hawthorn as “mind-blowing”.
McEvoy, who played his 250th AFL game in Saturday’s win over Gold Coast He joined the Hawks in late 2013 and became an invaluable addition, winning two premierships and being named captain in 2021.
Speaking on Fox Football The best on earthRiewoldt, who was Saints boss at the time of the trade – which saw the club acquire Shane Savage and a first-round pick (Luke Dunstan) – says McEvoy was pushed.
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“He didn’t go, the club traded him. Then the people who make those decisions say, ‘Look how good we are. Let’s trade this bloke and this bloke and get in some picks, show how smart we are recruiting,” Riewoldt said.
“You’ve got to get your best, and they didn’t… It was boring, and it still is.
“He was a superstar and he was still at St Kilda – a bit of a leadership gap is sometimes a criticism – he would have been perfect.
“But good luck to him, he’s gone on to great things.”
McEvoy was picked up after the crucial game and was embraced by Hawks fans and his teammates on the floor in huge scenes.
Fellow Saints great Leigh Montagna praised his former team-mate after the game – which ended with the ruckman’s head bandaged after the tackle.
“Congratulations to Benny McEvoy, great goal from a competitor in that last minute, header, it’s something we’ve seen over 250 games,” he said on Fox Footy.
Hawks star Jack Gunston said of McEvoy: “You always like something good that you want to go after, and Ben is that guy.” The headband today, of course, did. He’s a great guy, but he’s also a great competitor.
“It’s not easy to play in a boat race I don’t think about, he’s a good friend and I’m happy to beat him.”
McEvoy gave a shout out to Dylan Moore after the match as he played in his 50th match in true McEvoy selfless style.
“It wasn’t pretty today, but sometimes you have to win ugly. Happy to get mine and Murray’s 300th result.