Football and Sports News

West Coast Eagles, Willie Rioli, Junior Rioli, name change, cultural reasons, Aboriginal culture, heart attack, tragic

The West Coast Eagles have announced their star forward will be known as Junior Rioli until the end of the 2023 season following the tragic passing of his father last month.

W. Rioli Sr. suffered a heart attack at the age of 50 in the Northern Territory.

West Coast said in a statement: “Following the passing of senior W. Rioli, we will be referring to our premiership as ‘Junior’ Rioli for the next 12 months.

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This is respecting and following cultural protocols.

Traditionally in Australian Aboriginal culture, it is a sign of respect to avoid directly referring to or naming the deceased after death.

Sharing of photos of the person is also stopped.

Rioli in 2010 He has had a challenging 2022 season as he returns to the sport after winning the 2019 West Coast final.

After serving his two-year ban for a urine sample violation, Rioli made an immediate impact in Round 1 when he collided with Suns opponent Matt Rowell.

Rioli’s one-match ban was overturned after he headed to court to challenge the charges.

But just as he found form for the Eagles, Rioli missed five games due to injury.

The club had to take a gradual approach to the Premiership before returning to the Round of 14.

Following the tragic death of his father in July, Rioli has been granted an indefinite leave of absence from the club to return to the Northern Territory.

He missed three weeks before returning to the West Coast line.

He then missed the Round 22 loss to Fremantle after returning home for his father’s funeral.

But the 27-year-old has been named for the last round match against Geelong, with one of the four sidelined.

Rioli is out of contract at the end of this season.

Since his debut in 2018, he has scored 60 goals and played 50 games for the club.

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