2015 Draft Profile: Daniel Rioli

Daniel Rioli (North Ballarat Rebels)

Height: 180 cm
Weight: 69 kg
Position: Small forward
Player comparison: Jeff Garlett
Strengths: Goal sense, x-factor, agility, speed
Weaknesses: Defensive work, consistency
First year impact: Very low

Whenever the surname Rioli is brought up, there is unrivalled excitement.

Like Cyril before him and Maurice and Michael before Cyril, Daniel Rioli is sure to become a cult hero at an AFL club.

Everyone would get sick of comparing one Rioli with another, but Daniel does bring back memories of Cyril as a teenager.

He is a human highlight reel that can win a game off his own boot in one quarter, but he can also not be sighted for 90 per cent of the game.

Much like Cyril, consistency is the biggest question mark over Daniel, but like Cyril, he is a high reward for a club that can untap his potential.

In the national championships at Etihad Stadium playing for Northern Territory, Rioli showed his talent by kicking a miraculous goal in the middle of a pack from an impossible angle.

To best describe the goal, it was Rioli-esque and from that moment, the crowd knew he was capable of the impossible.

Daniel is super quick, has great agility, a nous for the impossible and a good judge of the ball in flight and the bounce of the ball.

He will need to improve his consistency as well as bulk up a little and continue to work on his defensive game.

In the modern game, there are very few pigeon-holed small forwards. Eddie Betts is the prime example of a crumbing forward, but he is elite and there are very few in the same company.

Cyril used to be a classic small forward, but he is now a bonafide midfielder/forward after working on his tank and his defensive pressure.

Daniel Rioli, like Cyril, is undoubtedly likely to light up the MCG, running down a wing, dodging and weaving a few players and kicking a goal from the boundary line.

His highlights will be bordering from the unbelievable to the impossible and everything in between.

However, can he develop to become that midfielder/forward who is renowned for his defensive pressure as much as his highlights?

Rioli has a light frame and while he will need to bulk up a little, it is unlikely he will put on much to hamper his speed and agility.

He is a player that cannot be left alone or be given a metre at a stoppage, because he will turn it into a mile.

In the qualifying final, Daniel Rioli kicked four second half goals after barely being sighted in the first half.

Coming back from a large deficit against the Geelong Falcons, Rioli singlehandedly turned the game around and in the blink of an eye, it went from a near-certain Falcons victory, to an impressive comeback and the Rebels advanced to the preliminary finals.

If he becomes a four quarter player, Rioli could be anything. The fact he can play a quarter and still put his hand up for best on ground speaks volumes of his ability.

Of all the players in the draft, Rioli will have the most interest over where he is selected. Could his ability to drift in and out of games have an impact, or will his ability to turn a game on its head and be a match-winner sway the recruiters?

In all likelihood, Rioli is a second round pick. On form, he is probably a third round pick; on potential, he is easily a first round pick.

Balancing the two factors, a second round pick seems about right, but with the right guidance and development, Rioli could become an exceptional player.

In his first year, Rioli will bide his time in the reserves, with his highlights having fans drooling on the sidelines demanding he be promoted to the seniors.

However, if developed right, Rioli would be worth the wait and a four-quarter Rioli is better than a one to two-quarter Rioli.

One thing is for sure, regardless of where he ends up, Daniel Rioli will be a player every fan watches with interest.

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