Tonight will mark the countdown to the Grand Final for the remaining four teams of Collingwood, Richmond, Greater Western Sydney and Geelong. The Indigenous players included in the teams that managed to get a break from play will no doubt set the games alight over the weekend.
Finding a Facebook page full of racist references would be enough to force most to recoil. However, despite discovering this in April, Travis Varcoe has taken a strong stance against the prolific levels of online racist hate directed at Indigenous players.
The dual premiership player was recruited form the SANFL to Geelong in 2005, and in 2015 was picked up by Collingwood where he has continued to be a star player. The talented midfielder was selected for the Indigenous All-Stars team in 2009 and played in last year’s Grand Final against the West Coast Eagles.
A fellow SANFL recruit, Shane Edwards debuted with Richmond in 2006. The athletic midfielder and forward was also selected for the 2015 Indigenous All-Starts team.
Edwards is the first Indigenous player to reach both the 200 and 250 game mark for Richmond. As a senior player with the Tigers, Edwards will be a great asset to the younger players who weren’t part of the Grand Final win against the Adelaide Crows in 2017.
Tigers teammate Shai Bolton has great reason to play well in Friday night’s game, recently re-signing with Richmond Tigers with a two-year extension. At just over 18-years-old, Bolton was the youngest player to debut for Richmond when selected in 2016.
The talent must be in the blood line, as Bolton is the son of former Fremantle player Darren Bolton, his Mum is a Pickett and his maternal grandmother is a Krakour. The star forward will be a strong contribution to the finals game.
Bolton is not the only one with an AFL-great filled bloodline, Daniel Rioli is part of the footballing powerhouse family, which includes greats like Willie, both senior and junior, Dean, Cyril and Maurice Rioli.
The storing forward was drafted to Richmond in 2016 and has been a pillar of strength in the team since. Rioli, like Edwards was part of the 2017 Grand Final win, also managing to snag goal of the year alongside his premiership medal for 2017.
By Caris Duncan