West Coast’s Junior Rioli is hopeful he can secure an AFL trade to Port Adelaide that will set him up for life, but former Eagle and Hawthorn star Xavier Ellis has slammed the small forward for wanting to abandon the club that looked after him during some tumultuous years.
Rioli, who is out of contract, met with the Power on Monday and underwent a medical assessment.
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The 27-year-old wants a deal that can give him long-term security after a difficult past 18 months, and Port Adelaide have reportedly offered Rioli a lucrative multi-year contract.
But Ellis said Rioli owed it to West Coast “to stick it out” after he was paid for two years when serving a drug ban.
Rioli served his ban for twice tampering with a urine sample. In 2021 he was also placed on a good behaviour bond after pleading guilty to the possession of cannabis.
“Not many players owe football clubs anything. It’s a business deal. It is literally shake hands, I’ve performed my contract. Much deeper here…,” Ellis said on Triple M.
“I feel as though he’s been babied…he’s been well and truly overcared for.”
Rioli was also looked after by the club in July when his father, Willie Rioli Sr, died from a heart attack.
Rioli Sr had been helping the talented small forward plan his next career move.
Junior made a successful return to the AFL this season, kicking 14.3 from 13 games.
He said: “Hopefully (I get to Port Adelaide), we’ll see how it goes.
“I’ll see if my manager can look after me and work out a good thing.
“I don’t understand all of that, I’m not into the politics side of footy.
“If I could set myself up for the rest of my life, that’s all I want to do … I’ve been through too much in the last 18 months so I just want to make the most of being in the industry I am now.”
“A lot of this has been weighed up since before I came back to footy,” Rioli said.
“It’s kind of been planned with me and my dad, but it’s been a bit slow now that my dad’s not here.
“It’ll work itself out, but I’ve got no plans so far, just to go wherever my manager tells me to go.”
In August, West Coast coach Adam Simpson said he was keen for Rioli to stay in Western Australia.
The 51-game goal sneak was a key member of the Eagles’ 2018 premiership side.