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Nine-goal Nick leads Saints to AFL victory

AAP logoAAP 28/08/2016 By Ben McKay

A Nick Riewoldt masterclass has seen St Kilda finish their 2016 AFL season on a high, defeating Brisbane by 58 points at Etihad Stadium.

Riewoldt took his usual aerial dominance to the next level on Sunday, kicking nine goals as the Saints blew Brisbane away in a 25.11 (161) to 15.13 (103) victory.

The veteran skipper took a season-high 21 marks and equalled his career-best goal haul, transforming the near-meaningless match to a spectacle.

It's been a decade since Riewoldt tallied nine goals but St Kilda coach Alan Richardson said he wasn't surprised by his showing.

"Nothing surprises me with Rooey, he's an absolute pro," Richardson said.

"Because of the work that Nick puts in ... he's still our best forward."

Despite the size of the defeat, the Lions avoided the wooden spoon after tallying a decent score of their own.

Brisbane started the day just half a per cent above bottom-placed Essendon, whose defeat of Carlton on Saturday had put last place - and the coveted No.1 draft pick in doubt.

Riewoldt's seventh goal had the Lions in last place on the live ladder but late majors spared Brisbane that fate.

The loss could end coach Justin Leppitsch's time at the club.

In three seasons, Leppitsch has mustered just 14 wins, with season 2016 the worst in the merged club's 20-year history.

Leppitsch, a triple-premiership player at the Lions, will find out if his future remains at the club after a board meeting this week.

"Apart from three weeks ago, every moment before that there hasn't been a win-loss component to me keeping my job," he said.

"But obviously things have shifted the last couple of weeks. I'm uncertain of what has transpired."

In a halftime huddle positioned within earshot of the travelling cheer squad, Brisbane captain Tom Rockliff (37 disposals) gave an impassioned plea, pointing to his shirt and 200-gamer Daniel Merrett.

The bruising defender, whose milestone coincided with his last AFL match, enjoyed the Lions' best moment of the day, kicking a goal that every Brisbane player on the ground saluted.

But St Kilda had too many routes to goal for Brisbane, finishing with 11 goalkickers and their biggest score of the year.

Jack Lonie and Josh Bruce joined in the romp with three goals each, while David Armitage gathered 30 touches in his 150th.

The Saints will be pleased with a 12-10 season - their first positive return in four years - but they finish stranded in ninth due to a poor percentage.

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