Jade Gresham and Daniel Rioli pose during a Dreamtime at the 'G media op at the MCG on May 20, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

RICHMOND defender Daniel Rioli says his focus is firmly on this season and the struggling Tigers, despite talks of a potential move over the off-season.

Rioli is on the radar of Gold Coast, having a close connection with Tigers-turned-Suns coach Damien Hardwick, living at the Hardwick's house in his early seasons. Queensland is also significantly closer than Victoria to his home in the Tiwi Islands.

"I'm obviously contracted until 2027, but right now I'm focusing on this team and trying to get these boys better," Rioli said.

"Obviously, I'm a young leader myself, I've been in the system for nine years now, so I'm just trying to play happy footy, which I'm trying to do.

"I lean on leaders like Nathan Broad, they keep me in good stead. All I'm focusing on is this year and focusing on getting this team to where we want to go, just to get better every day. Rocking up to the club with a smile on our faces, I don't want to drag in media and whatever's going on in the background noise.

"I love the Tiger Army. I'm not here to talk about what's happening with me, it's a special round, Dreamtime at the 'G, playing against Essendon and we play against them every year. 

"I'm not here to talk about my future, I want to talk about Dreamtime at the 'G because it's so special. It's our 20th year and we get to be involved in such a big occasion."

Jade Gresham, Michael Long, Daniel Rioli and Joel Garner pose during a Dreamtime at the 'G media op at the MCG on May 20, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

Rioli was speaking at the launch of the 20th Dreamtime at the 'G game, the showpiece of the Sir Doug Nicholls round set to be played against the Bombers on Saturday night.

"My first one ever (stands out). I went to school in Ballarat and used to come to these games every year. I always said to my mates I wanted to play in these games, and funnily enough I got drafted to Richmond and got to play in such an amazing game," Rioli said.

"A couple of years ago, [the pre-game ceremony] was pretty cool when we had the circle around us Indigenous players, and I don’t think it's going to be any better than that. I'm sorry to announce that to everyone, it'll be stock-standard, but we'll show up with a smile on our face and we'll show our community proud."

Daniel Rioli poses during a Dreamtime at the 'G media op at the MCG on May 20, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

Essendon recruit and Yorta Yorta man Jade Gresham will be playing in his first Dreamtime match, an occasion that has been close to his heart growing up, given the inaugural clash was played when the small forward was just six years old.

"Few first memories, I think the first one I came to, I did a bit of Auskick in the middle there, so that was pretty cool as a young fella, coming to one of them. There is also the Long Walk, I did one of them one year," Gresham said. 

"It's a special game for Indigenous people, it's one of the rounds you circle at the start of the year and want to be in as a player and hopefully can do my family and friends proud this weekend.

"This will be my first Dreamtime game as a player, I grew up coming to these games as a little fella, and I guess this is one of the reasons why you want to come to a club like Essendon, to play in these games and represent your culture and Indigenous people, so really looking out to running out on Saturday night with the boys and putting on a good show."

Jade Gresham poses during a Dreamtime at the 'G media op at the MCG on May 20, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

Essendon legend Michael Long was asked about his role on Saturday night, responding "just in the forward pocket" with a hint of a grin.

"It's gone very quickly. Obviously 20 years of the Long Walk, we actually brought the walk forward last year in line with the referendum. We knew it was going to be a big ask from Australia, but we continue the work we do, and use football as a platform for reconciliation and bringing people together," Long said.

"It's what I've learned in the game, the passion and love for the sport, to use that platform to do that.

"It's quite a special one for us this year, to not only to celebrate what we've done in schools and education, it's been an important part, football's played an integral part in lifting that for us."