By Damien Ractliffe
THERRY Penola is excited to announce that former Essendon star Dean Rioli has been named the club’s newest senior coach.
The 39-year-old will meet the playing group on Monday night for the first time as the Division 1 club kicks off preseason in pursuit of a return to finals.
Rioli said he couldn’t wait to meet the players.
“I’m genuinely excited and have heard nothing but good things about the footy club, so I’m just rapt to be a part of it,” Rioli said.
“Coming from Darwin where it’s an environment where not many players get paid – well, not at the club where I coached anyway – it got me interested.
“I just really liked the concept of being involved with a community club where people are there because they genuinely want to play football for the love of the club and no other reason.”
Club president Rodney Moran described Rioli’s appointment as an outstanding coup.
“We’re very excited to appoint someone of Dean’s calibre and character,” Moran said.
“He’s obviously got a lot of experience at both AFL level and local level, and we believe he will bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to our club.
“This is an exciting announcement ahead of Monday’s return to preseason training.”
The nephew of late champion Richmond player Maurice Rioli, Dean played 100 games for the Bombers, kicking 91 goals across an eight-year career that ended in 2006.
After a stint at Keilor Park as an assistant coach, Rioli took over the senior coaching job at Aberfeldie in the EDFL for the 2009 season, a stint which lasted two years before he stepped down.
He coached Wanderers to successive grand finals in the Northern Territory in 2015-16 and 2016-17, having played for the Tiwi Bombers after his retirement. This year, he was an assistant coach at Aberfeldie as the club won the EDFL Premier Division flag.
Feature photo: The Age