Daniel Rioli celebrates the goal.
Daniel Rioli celebrates the goal.

Richmond star makes controversial GF tribute

FAMILY first.

That was the clear message from Richmond star Daniel Rioli when he slotted his side's second goal late in the opening term of the AFL grand final.

The lead-up to the goal itself was controversial and it's highly doubtful too many at AFL House would have been entirely impressed with Rioli's celebration.

Richmond ruckman Ivan Soldo took the ball out of the ruck contest and was tackled before dropping the ball cold, in what was a clear missed call of incorrect disposal by the umpires.

That led to first-gamer Marlion Pickett dribbling a kick out of the congestion towards the Tigers' attacking 50. Rioli pounced, taking a couple of steps before launching his shot through the big sticks to give Richmond a 2.3 (15) to 1.2 (8) quarter-time lead.

Daniel Rioli celebrates hard for his cousin Willie — the number 44 on his wrist tape.
Daniel Rioli celebrates hard for his cousin Willie — the number 44 on his wrist tape.

Rioli then went into celebration mode, throwing his hands up in the number 44 in a reference to his suspended cousin's West Coast guernsey number and kissing his wrist-tape, which was also adorned with the number 44.

 

 

Rioli and his cousin are understood to be close and have shared photos of themselves together over the years on their social media accounts.

However, Daniel has remained silent on Willie's alleged drug issues after the West Coast Eagle was alleged to have tampered with a urine sample given during a drugs test and then tested positive to a cannabis metabolite in a game-day test.

Daniel Rioli with his cousin Willie Rioli (right)
Daniel Rioli with his cousin Willie Rioli (right)

The messaging this week from AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan was that Willie Rioli would likely pay a hefty price for the incidents and could face a lengthy four-year ban if he was given the maximum punishment for the alleged tampering incident.

"People make mistakes. He (Rioli) has made a couple of very poor decisions and he's going to pay a price for that," McLachlan said during the week.

"I'll also say that Willie's having a tough period at the moment and of equal concern is his health and wellbeing."

Some fans were left aghast at Rioli paying tribute to his cousin due to the suspension.

 

West Coast have also indicated they will continue to support Willie Rioli.

"The West Coast Eagles have recently been made aware that a sample taken from Willie Rioli has tested positive for a metabolite of cannabis," West Coast said in their statement.

"As stipulated two weeks ago, the club's primary concern remains the health and wellbeing of Willie. We will continue to support him through this particularly challenging time to assist him while this ongoing investigation runs its course.

"The club will respect the process of the investigation into the circumstances surrounding this case and will co-operate fully with it.

"We expect that these processes will take some months to complete and the club will not be in a position to make further comment until such completion."

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