IS ESSENDON up to its old tricks?
A day out from the NAB AFL Draft, the Bombers are continuing to signal they could bid on a range of Academy and father-son prospects.
On Tuesday, they are understood to be meeting with Richmond father-son talent Maurice Rioli jnr, with the Bombers having previously expressed their interest in the Northern Territory prospect.
Rioli is tied to the Tigers, who under father-son rules can match a bid for him at any stage of the draft. But the club is hopeful it could automatically nab him with its last selection in Wednesday's draft if no bids come.
The small forward could have actually joined the Bombers under Next Generation Academy rules, having lived in the club's region in the NT, and he was also eligible to join Fremantle under father-son rules.
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But he nominated Richmond, where his late father Maurice won the 1982 Norm Smith Medal and was a star of the Tigers as well as South Fremantle in the WAFL.
Essendon has a history with the Rioli family, with Dean Rioli playing 100 games for the club between 1999-2006.
The Bombers are no stranger to bids on the sons of club greats, having also placed a bid on Carlton's Jack Silvagni, the son of former Blues defender and list manager Stephen, in 2015.
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Overall they have bid on four players under the current bidding system, with successful calls on Kobe Mutch in 2016 (he was in the Giants' Academy) and Irving Mosquito in 2018 (from the Hawks' Next Generation Academy), while last year their bid for Brisbane youngster Keidean Coleman was matched by the Lions.
Rioli, who followed the same path as cousin Cyril to move to Melbourne and study at Scotch College, is keen to land at Richmond alongside cousin and three-time premiership player Daniel.
AFL.com.au revealed last month that Rioli's 2km time trial had been forced to end after his run was disrupted by a bizarre plover attack.
The Bombers have also been linked as possible bidders on Academy players Braeden Campbell (Sydney) and Reef McInnes (Collingwood) with their suite of early picks.