RICHMOND forward Daniel Rioli will require surgery on the ankle he injured in Saturday's premiership victory, coach Damien Hardwick has revealed.

Rioli hobbled from the field late in the last quarter after getting his left ankle caught underneath him in a tackle from Crow Jake Lever. 

The young forward was on crutches after the game and Hardwick told reporters at Punt Road on Sunday that he will most likely have to go under the knife to fix the issue.

"He's in a bit of pain at the moment so he'll probably require some sort of operation I think which is really disappointing for him," Hardwick said. 

"He's been a fantastic player for us this year. It'll be a little subdued with the premiership medallion he's got hanging around his neck. 

"We're not too sure of the prognosis at this stage." 

Hardwick paid special tribute to four-time Hawthorn premiership coach and close friend Alastair Clarkson who was present in the rooms after the match.

The pair were photographed together sharing a moment and Hardwick gave his mentor plenty of credit for his help and assistance across the journey. 

"I've always had that jealousy of every time I'm walking down his hallway there's those bloody four premiership medallions sitting there, so I got one back on him," Hardwick said.

"He's been a great friend of mine and I owe a lot of what I am today to how he's taken me under his wing and run with me. 

"To have him there at the celebration at the end is testament to him … I just love him."

Hardwick said it was important the players enjoyed celebrating all their hard work, but he said he will be quick to remind them that coming back even stronger next year is just as important. 

"We've got some exit interviews on Monday and Tuesday and then we'll sit down and give them a program for going away," Hardwick said.

"There's no guarantee we'll even make it back to finals next year … you've got to work incredibly hard. 

"The competition for spots is really going to be evident at our footy club next year."

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