Nick Riewoldt captained Jack Steven at St Kilda for nine years. Picture: Getty Images
Nick Riewoldt captained Jack Steven at St Kilda for nine years. Picture: Getty Images

Riewoldt urges Steven to ’straighten up’

NICK Riewoldt has urged Jack Steven to devote himself to a new level of professionalism.

The St Kilda great said he was worried his former Saints teammate would battle away from the structures of an AFL environment during the coronavirus lockdown.

Riewoldt captained Steven for nine years at St Kilda and said rumours he was a "rock star party boy" were wide of the mark.

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But as Steven lies in the Alfred Hospital with a stab wound, Riewoldt said the 30-year-old had never thrived when allowed to run his own program away from footy.

Riewoldt said he believes Steven can bounce back if he recommitted to "meaningful change".

"The initial reaction is one of concern for a friend," Riewoldt said.

"His mental health issues are well documented and he is a beautiful man and he is not a party boy.

"He needs structure and routine.

"He has been a guy who has been allowed to run his own program at St Kilda and get home and surf - having the balance is important but it would appear the lack of football and structure might have contributed to his situation.

Jack Steven, Nick Riewoldt and Ben McEvoy at an AFL Players Association Awards night.
Jack Steven, Nick Riewoldt and Ben McEvoy at an AFL Players Association Awards night.

"The details are pretty sketchy but idle hands at this point in time without the structure of a football program has not been the answer for Jack.

"When the footies come out he's an absolute freak.

"You could argue that he has (had free rein) but everyone needs to be managed differently and I don't want to cast aspersions while he is lying in hospital.

"All I would hope is that with this incident now, this is very, very serious and this precipitates some really meaningful change and he's able to straighten up and avoid these type of situations in the future."

Riewoldt and Steven in celebration mode.
Riewoldt and Steven in celebration mode.