Rioli AFL name resumes for Richmond

Richmond have preached patience to Tigers fans eager to see another Rioli starring in yellow and black.

Twenty-nine years after his uncle Maurice changed perceptions of champion footballers at Punt Road, Daniel Rioli will play his first match for the club on Friday night against Fremantle.

The 18-year-old recruit – and current tenant at coach Damien Hardwick’s residence – is one of a string of youngsters Richmond have taken across to West Australia for their opening match of the season.

Acting coach Brendon Lade said Rioli would play mainly as a forward, with the potential to run through the middle, and would carry very low expectations west.

Lade said the coaches would be satisfied as long as the 18-year-old stuck to his role.

“If he gets a couple of touches, a couple of tackles, a couple of shots on goal, we’ll be happy,” Lade told reporters at Melbourne Airport.

“Everyone is probably watching because of the last name but, for him, it’s about playing his role in the team.

“The rest will take care of itself.

“He’s a very level-headed kid – he lives with the coach, so he’s got to be!”

The Tigers will have their work cut out at Mandurah, south of Perth, against the Dockers.

Ross Lyon has named a strong outfit for the match, including Matthew Pavlich, Nat Fyfe and Aaron Sandilands.

Several weeks ago, Lade forecast a tough game coming.

“We looked at (the schedule), saw they’ve got a game in remote WA next week and we thought they might play a lot of their good players,” he said.

“It’s a good test for some of our kids. We’ve got a fair few playing and the ones we want to improve are playing in this game.

“They get to learn, they get to play against them and hopefully compete very well.”

Lade will be learning too but he insisted he wouldn’t be deviating from the regular Richmond script.

“I’m not going to go out there and put all our forwards in the backline and our backs in the forward line,” he said.

“For me, it’s more the experience of the whole week … if I don’t like it, I probably won’t be a senior coach.”

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