Young Tiger touch and go for round one

Young Richmond star Daniel Rioli is on the verge of taking a big step in his recovery from foot surgery, but remains in doubt for round one of the AFL season.

Rioli broke his left foot in the Tigers’ grand final win over Adelaide and underwent surgery the following week.

The club has taken a cautious approach with the 20-year-old, which has put him in doubt for the premiers’ season opener against Carlton on March 22.

“He’s doing ok … he’s about to run next week, which is good (but) he’ll be touch and go for round one,” assistant coach Justin Leppitsch told RSN927 on Thursday.

“There’s no doubt it will be close but obviously we’re hoping he’s ok.”

Rioli will move into the next phase of his recovery when the Tigers head to the Sunshine Coast for a week-long training camp on Sunday.

The pre-season program was modified to accommodate the players’ late return to the club from holidays after their drought-breaking premiership win.

Leppitsch said having a shorter pre-season than most rival teams wouldn’t be an issue.

“The experience of finals footy versus the extra month of pre-season … I think I’d take the experience of finals footy every year,” he said.

“People say that years of back-to-back finals footy inhibits you but you just have to manage the pre-season if that does happen for us.

“We don’t consider it an issue and we definitely won’t be using it as an excuse.”

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