DREAMTIME at the 'G has long been a family affair for Maurice Rioli jnr and now the Richmond young gun is ready for his shot at the special stage.
Richmond's annual clash with Essendon headlines the Sir Doug Nicholls Round and Rioli's cousin and teammate Daniel Rioli is well-acquainted with the game, as was former Bomber Dean Rioli.
Now Maurice could play in arguably the biggest game of his short career, with AFL broadcast boss Travis Auld tipping more than 70,000 would pack the MCG on Saturday night for the first Dreamtime in Melbourne since 2019.
"Since the round come into the AFL I've wanted to play in it ever since," the younger Rioli said at Monday's launch at the MCG.
"It'd be exciting (to play in front of a massive crowd). I don't know what to say. If I get a chance to play it'd be an amazing atmosphere, it'd be a very big event to play in.
"It would be a dream come true (playing with Daniel). Playing a big round with a family member and a few of the other Indigenous players alongside.
"(Saturday's game is) very big obviously for all the Indigenous players. You get to represent all your family from back home and your culture.
"Hopefully I can kick a goal and do a celebration, a dance or something like that."
Rioli has played Richmond's past three games, for six in total, and is finding his feet.
"I've found the confidence and I just play the way I normally play back home or like in any league at all," he said.
Essendon counterpart Tex Wanganeen is eyeing senior selection for the blockbuster.
"The decision's up to the coach right now. I've done all I can and just leaving it in their hands at the moment," he said.
"It would be a dream come true. Just wearing the jumper, representing my culture and my club and all the family members and just doing the Indigenous boys proud."
Essendon's guernsey was designed by Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti.
The gun forward hasn't played AFL since last year but is back at VFL level after taking personal leave earlier this season.
"There's no time frame yet for him but he's going well, tracking well," Wanganeen said.
"He seems in the right headspace at the moment. So hopefully we get him back soon."
Meanwhile, Auld said successful interstate iterations of Dreamtime had shown the game could be taken elsewhere but it was important to return it to the MCG after two seasons away.