Australian Football

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Key Facts

Full name
Maurice Joseph Rioli Snr

Known as
Maurice Rioli

Born
1 September 1957

Place of birth
Tiwi, NT (0810)

Died
25 December 2010 (aged 53)

Place of death
Darwin, NT (0800)

Ethnicity
Indigenous Australian

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 24y 200d
Last game: 29y 361d

Height and weight
Height: 175 cm
Weight: 76 kg

Senior clubs
South Fremantle; Richmond; Australia

Jumper numbers
Richmond: 17, 27

Recruited from
South Fremantle (1982); Richmond (1988)

State of origin
NT

Hall of fame
Western Australian Football Hall Of Fame (2004)

Family links
Maurice Rioli Jnr (Son)Dean Rioli (Nephew)Cyril Rioli (Nephew)Junior Rioli (Nephew)Daniel Rioli (Great nephew)

Maurice Rioli

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV
South FremantleWASFL1975-1981, 1988-19901681330.79
RichmondV/AFL1982-1987118800.6841%13.947.222.0660
AustraliaIR1984, 19866
Total1975-19902922130.73

AFL: 9,302nd player to appear, 1,906th most games played, 1,342nd most goals kickedRichmond: 832nd player to appear, 113th most games played, 97th most goals kicked

Melville Islander Maurice Rioli combined incomparable deftness of touch and great skill with tremendous toughness, this last trait being, in part, a legacy of his boxing background. Often reserving his best for big games, Rioli won consecutive Grand Final Simpson Medals with South Fremantle in 1980 and 1981 (the latter shared) before embarking, in 1982, on a successful six-season stint in the VFL with Richmond. 

At Punt road, Rioli settled in immediately, winning the club best and fairest award in his initial season as well a Norm Smith Medal for a best-on-ground display in a losing effort against Carlton in the Grand Final - a rare feat for a player on the vanquished side. Notwithstanding a dismal year for Richmond, Rioli's star continued to burn brightly in 1983 as he won a second best and fairest and came second in the Brownlow Medal behind fellow Western Australian Ross Glendinning. 

Throughout the early-to-mid 1980s, there were few better footballers (and even fewer more highly skilled ones) with the oval ball than 'Mr Magic'. After a dazzling performance against the Irish in the inaugural International Rules series in 1984, one could also say few better with the round ball!

After an aborted attempt to join the Sydney Swans in 1986, during which he was forced to stand out of football, his form waned somewhat, and after the Tigers dismal 1987 season which saw them collect the wooden spoon for the first time since 1960, Rioli decided to head back west. He returned to South Fremantle and was a member that year of the Bulldogs' losing Grand Final team against Claremont.

Maurice Rioli played interstate football for both Western Australia (13 appearances) and the Northern Territory, and achieved the comparatively rare distinction of gaining All Australian selection with both teams. He was selected in the centre in the Indigenous Team of the Century, and in 2016 was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame.

Author - John Devaney with additional material from Adam Cardosi

Sources

Full Points Footy's WA Football Companion

Footnotes

* Behinds calculated from the 1965 season on.
+ Score at the end of extra time.