Angry moment, football star Maurice Rioli brutally snubbed Richmond’s coaching staff after being dragged off the field during win over West Coast
- Rioli refused to speak to staff on the phone
- He was substituted in the fourth quarter against the Eagles.
- The 20-year-old had just six disposals
Interim coach Andrew McQualter says he will investigate an incident in which Maurice Rioli refused to take a phone call from the coaching staff during Richmond’s 38-point win over West Coast.
Rioli slumped on the bench sulkily after being substituted in the fourth quarter when a Richmond staffer tried to hand him the phone that has a direct line to the coaching staff.
When Rioli didn’t react, another staff member sitting across from him tapped him on the shoulder to make sure he knew the phone was being passed to him.
Rioli, who tallied just six disposals for the match, continued to stare ahead in frustration before snubbing the phone with a wave of his hand.
Two Tigers staff members tried to convince Rioli to talk to the coaches on the phone when he was substituted, but the star wouldn’t hear about it.
The 20-year-old angrily dismissed their attempts with a dismissive wave of his hand on Sunday while refusing to make eye contact.
McQualter was not the coach on the phone at the time and said he did not want to comment too much on the incident before investigating it.
“The reality is that I’ve been substituted before and it’s not a good feeling,” McQualter said.
‘I understand, young man, you are trying to make your way. I understand if he was disappointed. Then he’ll be fine.
‘I’m not exactly sure how it played out at the time. So whatever happens, we’ll take care of it when necessary.
“I’ll probably just wait until I fully understand the situation before commenting further on it.”
The Tigers set up a 14.14 (98) to 8.12 (60) win on Sunday with a six-goal barrage either side of halftime.
Although 11th-placed Richmond (8-1-8) failed to increase their percentage, they are now just half a win away from sixth-placed St Kilda, seventh-placed Western Bulldogs and Essendon, who ranks eighth.
Rioli (pictured right celebrating a goal with his teammates in Perth) only had six disposals for the match when he was dragged off the pitch.
Shai Bolton finished on 2.4 of 23 disposals against West Coast, while veteran Dustin Martin tallied 23 possessions, four clearances and 2.2 in a spirited display.
Martin could be in trouble for an off-the-ball elbow to the stomach by Eagles defenseman Alex Witherden, but the incident is more likely to draw a fine than a suspension.
“We don’t want any of those actions to cost us the ball, because ultimately it hurts the team,” McQualter said.
I’m not sure there’s much beyond, is there? So I hope it doesn’t happen again.
West Coast veteran Andrew Gaff came on as a substitute in the first quarter when Reuben Ginbey succumbed to a hamstring injury.
The young Tiger struggled to make any impact, and trainer Andrew McQualter will investigate his angry reaction to being substituted.
Gaff, who tallied just six turnovers against Brisbane last week, finished with 24 possessions in a greatly improved display.
Forward Oscar Allen kicked three goals after overcoming a wrist injury in the second quarter.
Eagles forward Jack Darling scored his 500th career goal late in the third period, drawing a standing ovation from the 40,501 fans in attendance.
“He’ll probably become one of our greats … and he’s still got some football left,” Eagles coach Adam Simpson said of Darling, who finished with 1.3 and seven points on 16 turnovers.