Nick Riewoldt responds after startling claims emerge around missed AFL Hall of Fame induction

The St Kilda champion has moved to America with his wife and kids.

Nick Riewoldt has responded amid claims the AFL were left disappointed that he chose not to attend the Hall of Fame ceremony last week, missing the opportunity to be inducted for the second year running. The St Kilda great was announced as an inductee in 2023, but missed the ceremony last year because he moved to America to live with his wife and kids.

AFL Chairman Richard Goyder said at the 2023 induction ceremony: "Nick Riewoldt was nominated for induction into the Hall of Fame this year, which he has gratefully accepted. But Nick is away living in the United States for the year with his family. Nick will be formally inducted next year on his return."

Nick Riewoldt with his wife and kids.
Nick Riewoldt moved to America with his wife and kids in 2023. Image: AAP/Getty

But despite Goyder's assurances that Riewoldt would be inducted this year, it never eventuated. The St Kilda champion was conspicuously absent from the ceremony last Tuesday, and leading journalist Caroline Wilson revealed that he was in the country in the days leading up to the event but chose to fly back to America and miss it again.

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According to Wilson, the AFL were left 'disappointed' by Riewoldt's decision and left wondering how long they'll have to wait before inducting him. "The elephant in the room was Nick Riewoldt," Wilson said on 'Footy Classified' on Channel 9 on Tuesday night. "What really disappointed the AFL was the fact that Riewoldt was in the country very recently but chose not to remain to be inducted.

"We know he is living in Texas at the moment with his family, trying other career opportunities, and that is absolutely fine with the AFL. But they expected Nick Riewoldt to be there (this year) and announced that he was coming back to be inducted. To coin a phrase from an ex-president, they don't give them out in Wheaties packets."

Nick Riewoldt, pictured here with his family after his last AFL game in 2017.
Nick Riewoldt with his family after his last AFL game in 2017. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Wilson pointed out that there are many deserving players who haven't been nominated for the Hall of Fame, yet Riewoldt hasn't accepted his after two years. "Why isn't Geoff Raines in the Hall of Fame? It's a great privilege.

"The precedent was Simon Black who was on a reality TV show and missed out on being inducted. He was shattered. But he came back the following year and made a wonderful speech and it was great. I just don't understand [Riewoldt's decision]. I can understand why the AFL are disappointed and they're wondering how long they're going to have to wait."

Discussing the situation on Tuesday, Riewoldt revealed that he wants his kids in attendance when he's inducted - but they couldn't be there this year. "I want my kids there when I do it, and they weren't able to make it out (to Australia) this year," he said on LiSTNR's 'Footy Talk' podcast.

"They had stuff that was really important to them. One was playing All-Star baseball, and one was on summer camp, which is a really big thing over here for kids – almost a rite of passage. When I do it, I would love to have my family with me. It was a non-event...the AFL were fine with it.”

Riewoldt played 336 games for St Kilda before retiring at the end of the 2017 season. He then forged a successful career in the media and was a popular analyst on Fox Footy, before moving his family to America last year.

The family of Riewoldt's wife Catherine are from Texas. “It’s pretty awesome, so the boys are in school, it’s a bit of a soft landing for us and something we’ve been talking about doing for a decade and particularly since I’ve finished playing footy when we’d be able to get over here and do it properly," he said in 2023. “I’m trying my best not to be an ugly baseball parent. I’ve bought myself a truck, it’s an F150.”