MELBOURNE, VICTORIA - SEPTEMBER 30: Daniel Rioli of the Tigers runs the ball down field during the 2017 AFL Grand Final match between the Adelaide Crows and the Richmond Tigers at Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 30, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Tiges premiership star in doubt for round one

Richmond’s Daniel Rioli remains under a cloud for their round one clash with Carlton as he continues to recover from a broken ankle. 

The 20-year-old suffered the injury in their grand final triumph and is yet to begin running, with assistant coach Justin Leppitsch saying he’ll be a close call for the season opener. 

“He’ll be touch and go for round one. There’s no doubt it will be close but we’re hoping he’ll be OK,” Leppitsch said.

“He’s going OK and about to run next week.”

Rioli was a vital cog in Richmond’s ultra small forward line last season, tallying 25 goals along with countless pressure acts, something that rookie Jack Higgins will look to emulate in 2018. 

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Leppitsch added that Higgins had impressed so far in preseason. 

“Jack was touted as a really high pick and is a high-energy player and real busy bee,” Leppitsch said.

“It’s always tough getting into a premiership team – it’s easier to get a game when you’re in the bottom half of the ladder.

“But (all our draftees have) shown really good signs.”

Richmond will open their season in just over two months time, taking on Carlton at the MCG on March 22.