Famous family doesn't weigh down Rioli

Willie Rioli is the latest member of his famous footballing family to earn the chance at an AFL flag
Willie Rioli is the latest member of his famous footballing family to earn the chance at an AFL flag

West Coast goalsneak Willie Rioli says his famous name will be an inspiration rather than a weight on his shoulders when he steps out for Saturday's grand final against Collingwood.

Rioli boasts a bloodline of football royalty.

Cousins Daniel Rioli (Richmond) and Cyril Rioli (Hawthorn) have been lucky enough to taste AFL premiership success.

Other family members such as Maurice Rioli, Dean Rioli and Ronnie Burns came close without being able to snare the goods.

Now, Willie has the chance to give the premiership a red hot crack, and he doesn't feel burdened by his famous family.

"More so (I feel) inspiration," Rioli said after Saturday's 66-point preliminary final win over Melbourne.

"We don't judge each other on performances or how we go about the game. We just go out there to play our role for the team."

Willie says he will catch up with Cyril Rioli in Melbourne this week before the grand final.

Cyril retired from AFL ranks in July, but he will be in Melbourne this week to take part in the longest kick competition before the grand final.

"I'm lucky enough to have him in my corner, and not just him, Daniel's been there as well," Willie said.

"I got a cheeky text (from Cyril before the preliminary final) saying, 'Good luck, you know what to do, and just go out there and show them what you've got'.

"I didn't impact as much on the scoreboard, but defensively my work rate was there."

Willie says he can't help but feel shocked to be on the cusp of premiership success.

The 23-year-old had to lose a staggering 16kg before West Coast took the punt on him with pick No.52 in the 2016 national draft.

Rioli's first year was ruined by hamstring issues, but he has flourished this season, booting 27 goals as part of West Coast's potent attacking outfit.

"I had my mum and dad here (after the win over Melbourne)," Rioli said.

"I said to them, 'I'm still pinching myself'.

"This year, I was just hoping to get one game. To have the season I've had and to be where we're at as a team is unbelievable."

Rioli's left foot was heavily iced after the win over Melbourne.

But he said it was just a bit sore from being trodden on, and he would definitely play in the grand final.

Australian Associated Press