Tigers confident Taylor will return to AFL - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tigers confident Taylor will return to AFL

By Larine Statham 27/05/2011 07:15:41 PM Comments (0)

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick is confident absent recruit Troy Taylor "will come to the right decision" and rejoin his teammates.

Taylor, who made his AFL debut with the Tigers last season, walked out on the club in March to return to the Northern Territory after battling various problems, including an assault charge and homesickness.

Hardwick, ahead of Saturday night's clash with Port Adelaide, told reporters Richmond's football general manager Craig Cameron would meet with Taylor while the ninth-placed club was in Darwin.

"Our thing with Troy is that he's got to make up his mind about whether he's willing to commit to AFL footy," Hardwick said.

"I've no doubt he's got the talent.

"I think eventually he will come to the right decision."

Richmond chief executive Brendon Gale said the club had spent a lot of time with the 19-year-old forward.

"It's probably fair to say we've already made a lot of compromises," Gale said.

"AFL football is tough, it can be uncompromising and we will do whatever we can to support our players to rise to the challenge.

"At this stage if he is prepared to accept the responsibility that comes with being an AFL footballer we'd be happy to talk with Troy, that's for sure.

"He's still a listed AFL player."

Gale joined his club in Darwin on Friday to announce a joint initiative with the NT government to reward outstanding students from Tiwi College on the Tiwi Islands, north of Darwin.

The Maurice Rioli scholarship will each year enable three young men, who have completed a certificate in sport and recreation and have a strong attendance record, to join Richmond in Melbourne for a week of training and coaching.

"Throughout his life Maurice worked tirelessly to improve the lives of indigenous Territorians, particularly inspiring young men on the Tiwi Islands to embrace football and education," acting NT chief minister Delia Lawrie said.

Rioli's brother Sebastian told reporters it would be good for aspiring athletes to go away for a week to see what it really takes to become an AFL footballer.

He said it was often difficult for young Aboriginal men, like Taylor, to leave their family and move interstate.

"It's important that when they go down to Melbourne for the week that they see how hard it is.

"It's fine having the ideal `I want to be a league footballer', but the pressures of being a player, the pressures of being away from family - it's very difficult unless you've prepared yourself.

"If you look at a bloke like (Melbourne forward) Liam Jurrah, who's come from one of the communities ... he's worked hard at staying down there."

Rioli said he hoped the scholarship would result in more indigenous players succeeding in the AFL in the mould of Maurice Rioli and Essendon great Michael Long.

"These guys have gone through the hardship, they've stayed down there, they've put in the yards," Sebastian Rioli said.

"And our boys need to realise that that's what makes a league footballer."

Maurice Rioli, who played 118 games for Richmond and spent almost ten years working as an NT politician, was just 53 years old when he collapsed and died from a heart attack in Darwin in December last year.

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