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'He's not going to be like his dad': Daniel Rioli puts faith in his uncle Maurice, pressure footy for Tigers success in 2024

Jarred Cross -

Richmond defender Daniel Rioli says a pressure-focused game style will be crucial to setting the Tigers season in the right direction after a “special” win against premiership fancies Sydney at the weekend. 

It was the maiden success for new coach Adam Yze at the helm, who had credited his side’s defensive efforts in surprising the Swans at the MCG on Easter Sunday. 

Yze was all plaudits for young Indigenous players Maurice Rioli jr and Rhyan Mansell for applying the pressure in their front half as they held on in an intense fourth quarter. 

The Tigers had 59 tackles for the match, 15 better than the Swans and plus-21 on their season average after three straight losses to begin the year. 

14 of those came in their front fifty, with Mansell and Maurice Rioli landing six apiece playing in the forward line. 

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Daniel Rioli said maintaining that kind of level holds will put them in good stead as the season progresses.

“Our pressure was on from the get-go and it was really pleasing to see the boys stuck fat and got the job done,” he said.

“We've been hanging in there every week against most sides and I think we just need to put in that four quarter effort...we've probably set the tone against Sydney and momentum will hopefully build from there.

“Our pressure was through the roof and if we keep doing that, I think it's gonna win us most games, if not, hang in there.

“I really think we just need to have a defensive mindset and we did really, really well on the weekend.”

Rioli laughed off suggestions he could be in the window for a move back up front in the absence of injured key target Tom Lynch, who faces an extended stint on the sidelines with a significant hamstring injury, and Noah Balta out for up to a month with an MCL concern. 

The Tigers are set to appeal a one-match ban handed to vice-captain Liam Baker for rough conduct on Swans defender Lewis Melican ahead of their Gather Round tie with St Kilda on Sunday.

With spots opening up, Rioli sees a silver lining in the setbacks.

“Opportunity will come for young players and whoever it is…I think it will be good for the long run as well as getting players playing...including the young boys,” Rioli said.

One of those youngsters still cementing himself in the line-up is his Uncle Maurice. 

Speaking post-match on Sunday, Yze said “we know the talent that he's got” and backed his “high energy, high intensity, high pressure” game style while still proving himself at the level. 

"It was good for him (Maurice Rioli) to show what he can do and we'll just keep working with him."

The 21-year-old had a career-high 17 disposals to go with his work off the ball.

Daniel Rioli backed him for growing into the player he’s shown glimpses of. 

“He's had a roller coaster the past few years he's been at our footy club and he's still trying to find his feet. He's still pretty raw. He's only 21 years old. He's got a long way ahead of him,” Rioli said.

"Obviously the game on the weekend, I thought he had his best game for our footy club.

“The things that he does off the ball as well like his work rate, filling the core or doing the team things that no one really sees on the TV. He's a special player for us and does the team thing really well.

“He's not going to be like his dad that's going to go into the midfield and have 30-40 touches... he's a pressure player and I think he brings that to the team every week and he tries his hardest.”

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