RICHMOND star Daniel Rioli is confident he has regained enough form and fitness to earn a recall for Saturday night's Dreamtime at the 'G clash with Essendon at the MCG.
Rioli missed the Tigers' round 8 win over Fremantle as he recovered from a corked thigh and sore ribs, then returned via the VFL last week where he impressed coach Damien Hardwick.
"He (Hardwick) said that I had a good game, that I was back to my best basically, (because) I applied pressure and laid eight tackles. That's what he needed, so fingers crossed I will be playing against Essendon," Rioli told reporters on Wednesday.
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The 21-year-old confirmed that his return via the VFL was due to his injury, rather than a backlog of small forwards in the AFL.
"I didn't want to go out there (AFL) not feeling 100 per cent. 'Dimma' and the coaches knew I wasn't feeling up to standard, so I had to go play VFL and test the body contact," he told AFL.com.au.
"I embraced it all, gave it my hardest and played okay, so hopefully I'll get through selection and be up and running on Saturday."
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Rioli designed Richmond's 2019 indigenous guernsey along with his parents, who live in the Tiwi Islands.
It features the turtle, which is Rioli's totem, as well as spears similar to the ones used traditionally for battle and now for hunting.
"There was a bit of up and down, phone calls and messages back and forth. I was the ideas person and Mum and Dad are the artists," Rioli said.
"I can draw a little bit, but I left it to Mum and Dad because they're the better ones.
"The club gave me the opportunity last year. I asked if I could do it and they didn't hesitate … I was pretty stoked, told Mum and Dad and they were pretty excited and couldn't wait to get the ball rolling."
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Ruckman Ivan Soldo's failed attempt to challenge his one-week suspension for striking has opened the door for the untested 19-year-old Callum Coleman-Jones, who Rioli played alongside last weekend in the VFL.
"He's pretty exciting, Callum. He's a ruckman who can go forward and kick some goals," Rioli said.
"He's pretty funny as well. He can run all day and test the opposition. He's a good overhead mark and the Tigers fans should be very excited about him."