Grand decision: AFL's extra-time move 'a smart call' says Nick Riewoldt

Nick Riewoldt looks on after St Kilda's loss to Collingwood in the 2010 grand final replay. Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

St Kilda captain and ESPN AFL expert Nick Riewoldt has emphatically supported the league's decision to abandon the grand final replay, recalling his experiences from the Saints' drawn grand final against Collingwood in 2010.

On Tuesday, the AFL Commission announced all drawn finals matches would now be decided by two five-minute periods of extra-time.

If the game was still level after that 10 minutes, play would continue until a 'golden score'.

Riewoldt told ESPN the AFL's decision was fairer on players and fans.

"It's much fairer and equitable for everyone involved - the players, the fans, all the stakeholders in the game," he said.

"It's a great decision - it really makes sense for the players and fans, and you could argue they're the two most important stakeholders.

"I'm a bit surprised the decision was made - often the AFL like to hold onto the things that make our game unique, like the centre-square bounce. Common sense would say just throw it up, but because it's different, the AFL are inclined to stick with tradition, which is one of the aspects that makes our game great but regarding the replay I'm really glad they made the decision. It's a smart call.

"And as a spectacle, watching two teams play extra-time for a premiership, to witness that would be incredible."

The 302-game veteran did, however, question the league's decision to introduce a 'golden point 'winner as opposed to a 'golden goal', if a grand final was tied even after extra-time.

"I'm not sure about the golden point - a golden goal would be more appropriate," he said. "If it happened to be a rushed behind, I'm not sure that's the way a season should end."

Riewoldt said the aftermath of the 2010 draw, before the grand final replay that Collingwood won convincingly, was difficult for those involved.

"[Playing out a draw in 2010] was so difficult - I think the only smile I saw from anyone was [ex-AFL boss] Andrew Demetriou because he knew it was going to be a pretty big windfall financially - we had a brief discussion and I said 'you're the happiest bloke in the world right now aren't you?' And he just smiled," Riewoldt said.

"There were just so many emotions - anger at the fact we knew we had to come back a week later, frustration at being so close to winning it, especially when we were up in that last quarter, there was a whole range of emotions.

"It's all a bit of a blur, looking back now.

"There was a lot of fatigue - it was really tough, for both teams.

"The exhaustion that we had physically and mentally, we just focused a lot on recovery [ahead of the replay]. There was some pretty battered guys. The emotional element made the fatigue that much more pronounced."

Riewoldt added he would have much preferred extra time in the 2010 grand final.

"I think the AFL's decision is common sense - six years too late for us unfortunately," he said.

"I'm not saying we were sure things to go on and win the game, but we would have performed a lot better in extra-time than a week after.

"They dominated the first half and we dominated the second - if the momentum continued, I would have been really confident in us achieving the desired result.

"I'd have preferred to win or lose in extra-time because you'd know what the result was rather than having to wait."

Collingwood's tie with St Kilda was only the third in grand final history after 1948 and 1977.

AFL football operations manager Mark Evans said the decision to abandon the replay ensured a grand final drawn at full-time would go down as a classic.

League chairman Mike Fitzpatrick said non-Victorian teams, especially those in Perth and Queensland, were also considered in the decision-making process.