2023 prospect puts NT's most famous footy name on show


JUST four players born in 2005 took part in Friday night's Northern Territory edition of the NAB AFLW All-Stars match.

But only one carried the surname Rioli.

Maria Rioli, the daughter of Richmond and South Fremantle club legend Maurice, took to the field playing for Team Hewett.

DRAFT PROFILES Find out more about 2020's leading prospects

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the traditional NAB AFLW Under-18 Championships have been restructured into state-based games, allowing current and future draft hopefuls a chance to play an exhibition match.

The St Mary's forward – who split her time between the under-15s and under-18 divisions in the 2019/20 NTFL season – isn't eligible for the NAB AFLW Draft until 2023, with the father-daughter rule for the competition carrying just a one-game minimum requirement.

At 172cm, she was one of the taller targets in attack for Team Hewett, but was starved of opportunity; her team managed just 1.1 to Team Ponter's 5.11 in the 28-point loss.

She showed glimpses of clean touch at ground level, but the ball didn't enter attack nearly enough to allow an impact on the game.

U18 ALL-STARS Check out the full fixture and results

Rioli wasn't the only one with AFL family connections in the game, with Mickayla Ward (older sister of GWS' Callan and the Western Bulldogs VFLW skipper) and J'Noemi Anderson (younger sister of North Melbourne's Jed) representing Team Ponter.

Mickayla Ward is tackled during the NAB AFLW U18 All-Stars game. Picture: AFL Photos

The extended Rioli family has a long and storied history in the VFL/AFL, with Cyril (Hawthorn), Daniel (Richmond) and Willie (West Coast) all joining Maurice with flags, while Dean Rioli played 100 games for Essendon.

Cousin Danielle Ponter also won the 2019 AFLW premiership in her first season at Adelaide.

Maria's older brother Maurice jnr is eligible to be selected in December's NAB AFL Draft, and as Maurice snr played 118 games for the Tigers and 168 for WAFL club South Fremantle, qualifies for both Richmond and Fremantle under the father-son rule.

Stay tuned to womens.afl and the AFLW Official App for comprehensive coverage of the 2020 NAB AFLW Draft