St Kilda legend Nick Riewoldt has described his former club’s decision to swap Ben McEvoy for Hawthorn as ‘baffling’.
McEvoy, who played his 250th AFL game in Saturday’s win over Gold Coast, was signed to the Hawks in late 2013 and has been a valuable addition, winning two premierships and being named captain in 2021.
Speaking at Fox Footy’s Best on the groundRiewoldt, who skippered Saints at the time of the trade – which saw the club acquire Shane Savage and a first round pick (Luke Dunstan) – says McEvoy was pushed out.
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“He didn’t leave, the club traded him. At that point it felt like the people responsible for those decisions were saying, ‘Look how smart we are. Let’s trade this guy and this guy and we’ll have some choices. we’ll show you how smart we are at recruiting,” said Riewoldt.
“You have to make good choices, and they didn’t… it was mind-boggling, and it still is.
“He’s been a superstar and if he was still in St Kilda – a bit of a leadership void is sometimes the criticism – he would have been perfect.
“But good luck to him, he has continued to do great things.”
The 33-year-old McEvoy was carried off after his milestone match and embraced by Hawks fans and teammates with his kids on the ground in amazing scenes.
Leigh Montagna also praised his former teammate after the game – a match that ended in the tough ruckman’s head who was bandaged after a knock.
“Congratulations to Benny McEvoy, big contested mark in that last minute, the headband, he’s everything we’ve seen of him in 250 games,” he told Fox Footy.
Hawks star Jack Gunston said of McEvoy: “You always like a good you want to follow, and Ben is that guy. Headband today, of course he did. He’s just such a good guy, but also such a competitor .
“It’s not an easy gig to play in the ruck, I didn’t think so, he’s just a good guy and I’m glad we got the win for him.”
McEvoy gave a shout out after the game to Dylan Moore who played in true selfless McEvoy style in his 50th game.
“It wasn’t pretty today, but sometimes you have to win ugly. I’m so happy to get a result in mine and Moorey’s 300th.”