Props to Adrian Dodoro


Me to.

But seriously wondering what big recruiting news could possibly still be coming. Short of a cat B that you wouldn’t think will be making a difference any time soon I can’t see what it could be, or how it could be “big”.


For the Rioli men, it is a rite of passage that irrevocably leads to this one day.

When they are just boys, they are sent thousands of kilometres away from their Melville Island home. By the time they are young men, they are running onto the MCG on grand final day, ready to paint their unique family story on football’s broadest canvas.

Maurice, Dean, Cyril and now Daniel, the young Tigers forward whose four goals a week ago helped put Richmond into today’s grand final against Adelaide. They were all teenagers when they travelled south to seek their football fortune and there are still more on the way.

Maurice Jr, the 15-year-old son of the late South Fremantle and Richmond champion, will board next year at Scotch College, the Melbourne school where Cyril lived and studied ­before he joined Hawthorn. Brayden Rioli, Daniel’s younger brother, also plans to play football in Melbourne next winter.

“It’s the age where, if you really want to make it, you have to get adjusted to city life,’’ says Dean Rioli, who followed Maurice to South Fremantle and played for Essendon in the 2001 grand final. “We have been fortunate really; four Riolis have gotten to play in a grand final. It is a special day.’’

Throughout Richmond’s finals run, Daniel Rioli has regularly sought the company of Dean and Cyril, his family and footballing elders. Although they are technically cousins, Daniel calls both men uncle. They meet at Cyril’s place, where Dean and his brother Sabbo are staying. Football is often on the TV but rarely part of the conversation.

Daniel is just 20, playing in his first finals series. Cyril is an established star of the game. Daniel says that at the start of September, Cyril told him what to expect. “He said it was going to be gut running and scrappy and all about our forward pressure, our blitz pressure around the footy.’’ Beyond that, neither Cyril nor Dean tell Daniel how to play. “We understand that when you are

in the bubble, you have your instructions from the coaches,’’ Dean says. “We respect that.

Really, we sit on the couch and watch the footy together and enjoy each other’s company.’’

Throughout Daniel’s teenage years away from home, time spent with Cyril kept him chasing his football dream. When Daniel first came to Victoria from ­Melville Island, he was 14. His parents had enrolled him to board at St Patrick’s College in Ballarat. He arrived in the middle of a typically bleak winter.

Rioli remembers his first day at his new school. “We got to the boarding house late and it was cold,’’ he tells The Weekend Australian. “I didn’t even know where Ballarat was. I thought I was going to go to school in nice weather. Then I found out it was 11 degrees.

“I’d never gone to school with that many people or had so much work and homework to do. I remember ringing my mum and telling her ‘I don’t feel like doing this, it is too much.’’’

Belinda Rioli told her son that Cyril — Junior as Daniel calls him — lived close by in Melbourne.

“Every weekend I got the chance I’d go to Junior’s place and stay over. Dad told me that Cyril went through the same thing when he went to boarding school. He wanted to go home and he stuck it out. I ended up sticking it out as well. I couldn’t be more thankful for that.’’

Since joining Richmond, Rioli has developed a unique relationship with the Tigers’ coach, Damien Hardwick. At the end of school, Rioli needed a place to live. Without a host family to billet with, he moved in with the Hardwicks; Damien and Danielle and their three children, Benjamin, Isabelle and Imogen. It was meant to be a temporary arrangement but after a few months, Danielle Hardwick asked if he’d like to stay on.

“It was nerve-racking living with the coach — pretty frightening,’’ Rioli says. “But I took the hit and said ‘no worries, I’ll stay.’ ’’

Two years later, Daniel has no plans to move out and the Hardwicks would be distraught if he did. He and BJ are good mates and on Monday night he escorted 17-year-old Issy to the Brownlow.

Damien Hardwick says having Daniel around has made for a happier home. “He came in and he gets on well with all my kids, my wife loves him and he has actually bought my family closer together,’’ he said earlier this year.

Every night before a match, the Hardwicks and Daniel Rioli dine at the same Italian restaurant. Their regular table was expanded last night to include Daniel’s parents, Dean Rioli and his daughter, and Maurice Jnr.
Sue Leadan, and Helena Kalippa Rioli.
Sue Leadan, and Helena Kalippa Rioli.

Dean Rioli was teammates with Hardwick at Essendon. On the field, Hardwick was renowned as a ferociously competitive, flint-hard defender. Off the field, he is one of the more convivial figures in the game. “The Damien you get at home is not the Damien I knew on the footy field,’’ Dean Rioli says. “The Hardwick family are a beautiful family. They have warmed to Daniel and Daniel brings a lot to their family.’’

As with his uncles, Daniel Rioli doesn’t talk about football when he’s home with the coach. Instead, they talk about movies and binge on episodes of Friday Night Lights, a US television series about a high school coach and team in a football obsessed Texas town.

Hardwick likes to talk about fishing and life on the Tiwi Islands. Daniel has promised to take him there the first chance they get. “He wants to know everything about home.

“We talk about how to get mud crabs and fishing and shooting. He wants to come up. I’ll take him over and show him around a different environment.’’

It will be a different environment for every player tomorrow. No one on either team has played in an AFL grand final. Each will have been told what to expect but nobody knows for sure.

There are certain things, however, that every Rioli knows.

In 1982, Maurice Rioli played in a grand final for Richmond and won the Norm Smith, the medal awarded to the best player on the ground. That day, he wore number 17 on his back, the same number that Daniel will wear today.

In 1993, Michael Long, another Melville Islander and part of the extended Rioli clan, won the Norm Smith playing in a premiership for Essendon. Two years ago, Cyril won the medal and played in his fourth premiership for ­Hawthorn.

The Riolis and Long all come from Pirlangimpi, a former mission on the west coast of Melville Island. That’s a total of eight AFL grand finals, six premierships and three Norm Smiths from a community with a population of about 370 people.

Plus whatever Daniel and his Tigers can do today.

Could these boys be in our NGA Academy?


Maybe one of the staff???


yeah could be - is that really ‘big recruitment’ news though?


Yeah could be!!!


We understand your frustration… but a post like this is very much beneath you and undermines what you’re setting out to achieve.


THERE’S another Rioli on his way after Maurice Rioli Jr, the son of late Richmond legend Maurice Rioli made an impressive debut in the NTFL on Saturday.

Eligible as a father-son selection for the Tigers — where Maurice played 118 games, won two best and fairest awards and a Norm Smith Medal — Rioli Jr displayed all the traits of his famous relatives, including his legendary father and current day AFL stars Cyril and Daniel Rioli.

But Richmond could have a fight on their hands to secure the youngster when he becomes eligible for the draft in 2020.

Rioli Jr also available to Fremantle under the father-son rule after his father played 168 games for South Fremantle.

Under AFL rules, a player is eligible to be drafted father-son to either the Dockers (before 1995) or Eagles (before 1987) if the player’s father played 150 or more senior games for a WA club. One of those clubs for Fremantle is South Fremantle.

Rioli Jr, 15, booted one goal for St Mary’s in the thumping 73-point win over Waratah at TIO Stadium.
Maurice Rioli Jr made his NTFL debut on Saturday and has already shown he has the ‘Rioli’ traits.

Playing across half forward, Rioli Jr lined up on the competition’s best player, reigning Nichols medallist Tim Mosquito, and didn’t look out of place as he used his pressure to set up scoring opportunities.

“He did pretty well, he certainly didn’t look out of it,” St Mary’s coach Ricky Nolan told the Herald Sun.

“He wasn’t the star player but looked every part of it out there for a 15-year-old kid it was quite amazing actually.




“If someone was saying to me how did he play? I would say he played like a Rioli.

“Defensively he’s very, very good, he’s a very good tackler.

“He’s very similar (to Cyril and Daniel and the Riolis).

“He kicked one goal in the last quarter. He got plenty of the footy and played well.

“He played about 80 per cent game time. We rotate pretty heavily up here because of the heat.

“We just had him go out there and enjoy it.”
Maurice Rioli Jnr is the son of Richmond legend Maurice Rioli.

Tigers legend Maurice Rioli was one of the greatest players of his era, renowned for his freakish skills.

Rioli Jr played alongside cousins Ben and Shannon Rioli for St Mary’s, while a large contingent of relatives travelled to TIO Stadium to watch his debut, including Hawthorn star Cyril Rioli.

“I think he (Cyril) was (impressed),” Nolan said.

“He wasn’t in the rooms before the game but he there and was at the club after the game.”

Maurice Jr grew up on the Tiwi Islands but is now attending the famous St John’s College in Darwin, a school that has produced a staggering six North Smith medallists.

Maurice Rioli, Michael Long, Andrew McLeod — who won the medal twice — Nathan Buckley and Cyril Rioli all attended the school before becoming VFL/AFL superstars.

It is understood plans are underway for him to relocate to Melbourne next year.


Caro to oust JROD as head of media and whatnot, bank on it, lock it in the vault, bet your bottom dollar on it


what does beverley think of this?


The Bombers didn't lose any players as part of the three trades, but did lose their first pick at the NAB AFL Draft (No.11 overall) as part of the Smith deal to get things moving.

Worsfold said the club knew it was time to be more active in the trade space as it attempts to push up the ladder.

“It took a group effort, as in our list management committee, to say we are in this phase. We’re specifically looking to boost our group and these players are available,” he said.

"You don’t just give up your first-round pick for the sake of it. You have to be really strategic around where everything was heading.

It still hurt (list manager) Adrian [Dodoro] to give up the first pick. He thought ‘I could bring in those three and probably others as well WITHOUT giving up [the first-round] pick’.

“But we knew that was not going to happen. And we had to work out the best way to use our first couple of picks to maximise what we were going to get in.”


Onya Jackets!


The likely scenario would have been that Francis was worked into a deal rather than pick 11.


Dodoro joins the Essendon Executive Team

Executive team appointments

Essendon Football Club is pleased to announce General Manager of The Long Walk, Leanne Brooke, and List and Recruiting Manager, Adrian Dodoro, have been elevated to the Club’s Executive Team.

Leanne is a proud Gunditjmara/Kirrae Wurrung woman and her expanded role will oversee the responsibility of General Manager The Long Walk and Indigenous Affairs for the Executive and broader Club.

CEO, Xavier Campbell, said Brooke’s elevation reinforces Essendon’s commitment to reconciliation and promoting, developing and empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“Leanne is a wonderful addition to the Club’s Executive, she brings great passion and experience in delivering positive outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” Campbell said.

“Leanne’s elevation is an acknowledgement of her expertise, as well as a reflection of her hard work and success with The Long Walk and its many powerful community education programs.”

“Leanne will provide direction and advice on indigenous affairs, player welfare, community programs and support across our Next Generation Academies, as well as leading the Executive team to successfully deliver the Club’s forth Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).”

“Our Club has a long and proud history of using the power of football to promote reconciliation and improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wellbeing, employment and education, and Leanne’s elevation will help us continue to influence meaningful outcomes for our nation’s first people.”

Brooke will report into General Manager Community, Academies and Women’s Football Development, Darren Harris.

As part of Adrian Dodoro’s elevation to the Executive Team, he has been promoted to the position of General Manager List and Recruiting.

Campbell said Dodoro is a welcome addition to the Executive team.

“Adrian is an incredibly passionate Essendon person who is an expert in the field of recruiting, but also has a strong business growth mindset and we feel he can add real value when it comes to growing new revenue streams outside of our traditional frameworks,” Campbell said.

“Adrian’s key focus will remain retaining and recruiting elite football talent, and building and managing our list strategy, but we believe he can play a crucial role in helping the Club achieve its objectives in respect to growing women’s football pathways, Next Generation Academies and the growth of our commercial assets.”

Dodoro will report into General Manager of Football, Dan Richardson.

Essendon Football Club Executive Team:
Chief Executive Officer – Xavier Campbell
Chief Operating Officer – Kevin Dixon
Chief Marketing Officer – Justin Rodski
General Manager Community, Academies and Women’s Football Development – Darren Harris
General Manager Commercial Operations – Brenton Humphreys
General Manager People and Culture – Lisa Lawry
General Manager Corporate Services – Chris Pehlivanis
General Manager of Football – Dan Richardson
General Manager The Long Walk and Indigenous Affairs – Leanne Brooke
General Manager List, Recruiting and Jackets – Adrian Dodoro


So, did someone else previously hold this role, or is it a new role? How the hell could recruitment not have an executive representative?


Is Adrian having an affair with Barnaby as well?


An insight into why Disco had been unable to get deals done until last trade period.


No one else has ever held the position of General Manager List, Recruiting and Jackets.


How many extra jackets does Disco get now that he is at the Executive level?


He’s a part of the EFC furniture now.


Franco Cozzo?