Reigning premiers Richmond are already favourites heading into the AFL season, but a freshly drafted Rioli pushing to debut can only help the Tigers’ chances to three-peat in 2021.
Maurice Rioli Jr, son of the Richmond and South Fremantle great, joined cousin Daniel Rioli at the club after being selected with the 51st pick in the 2020 draft.
All five sides that have previously drafted a Rioli have won a premiership within three years, including West Coast who claimed the 2018 title after drafting Willie in 2016.
First impressions out of Richmond’s preseason have been positive for the father-son selection, with captain Trent Cotchin joining a recent chorus impressed with the latest Rioli to make the leap from the Tiwi Islands to the AFL.
“He is electrifying,” Cotchin said.
“He has got a lot of talent, a lot of those Rioli traits but he is also his own person.
“There have been a couple of times where he’s had to chase-down tackle where someone quick has got the footy and even he makes up five or 10 metres.
“The key is not to put too much pressure on guys who are coming into a pretty well-oiled system but hopefully he’s picking up the expectations of him as a player and as a Richmond man and that holds him in good stead in the early parts of his career.”
Maurice Rioli Sr played 118 games for Richmond from 1982 to 1987 following an impressive stint in the WAFL with South Fremantle, including a premiership in 1980.
He was inducted into the WA Football Hall of Fame in 2004 and posthumously inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 2016.
The Tigers start their season against Carlton in the AFL’s traditional opener at the MCG.