Latest AFL Rioli to make his own way

There’s only one Daniel Rioli in the AFL.

While the new Richmond recruit cherishes the family’s rich football heritage, he’s determined to make his own path.

Rioli’s late grandfather Maurice is a Richmond legend – their social club is named after him – and his uncle Cyril was awarded the Norm Smith Medal as Hawthorn won this year’s grand final.

Then there’s relative Michael Long and fellow former Essendon player Dean Rioli.

Daniel is a speedy small forward with sublime skills, just like Cyril, and there was pre-draft speculation that he could also end up at the Hawks.

“It’s very special coming to Richmond and having my grandfather play there,” Daniel said the morning after the draft.

“People try to compare me to my uncle – I’m a similar type of player – but I say to myself ‘I’m Daniel, I will play my own role and my own style’.

“To see Cyril get up there and Maurice, Dean, Michael Long – it’s pretty special.

“Now me. I’m pretty happy with that.

“It’s hard work, but I’m looking forward to the journey.”

When Daniel moved from the Northern Territory to St Pat’s College in Ballarat, family support was crucial.

“I went to over to his (Cyril’s) place a bit when I was down there – it was good to have family close by,” he said.

The Tigers took Rioli with pick No.15 after testing the new live bidding system.

After those two speculative bids were matched, Richmond went for the speedy small forward.

“He brings an X-factor to our forward line, he’s quick, he’s dynamic and he kicks goals,” coach Damien Hardwick said.

“He can see things that a lot of other players can’t, and that’s what makes him special, in a way.

“He just does some things that you look at and go ‘wow’ – you can’t teach.”

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