WEST Coast has locked away one of its emerging talents, with livewire Willie Roli inking a two-year contract extension that will see him feature in the blue and gold until at least the end of 2020.
“I want to be a one-club player,” said Rioli.
“West Coast has been a great support for me and my family since I moved over here. I am grateful for the club for giving me the opportunity.”
“Last year I didn’t play much footy, so for them to give me another two years, I didn’t want to say no.”
“West Coast has been a great family club for me and no doubt I want to repay the favour.”
“I still pinch myself everyday getting on the bus with guys like Nic Nat (Naitanui), Mark LeCras and Josh Kennedy. It’s something I still definitely don’t take for granted.”
Rioli made his debut against the Western Bulldogs in round two and has shown enough to suggest that he will be star of the future after hamstring issues ruined his season last year.
The goal-sneak was used in midfield bursts by coach Adam Simpson in the round three victory over Geelong, but helped fill the absence left by Liam Ryan (ankle) against Gold Coast at Optus Stadium last Saturday night and kicked two goals in the 80-point trouncing.
Hailing from a famous football family, Rioli was snared with pick 52 at the 2016 National Draft.
The Tiwi Islands product shed 16g in a bid to realise his AFL dream and looks set to excite fans with his exploits for years to come.
With Rioli’s signature secured, the Eagles will now be looking to lock away two other young forwards in Ryan and Jake Waterman.
Ryan’s initial two-year deal expires at the end of 2019, while link-up forward Waterman – the son of dual premiership player Chris Waterman – comes out of contract at the end of the season.
West Coast also have a host of several high-profile players to lock down, with star intercept defender Jeremy McGovern, hard-running wingman Andrew Gaff and ruckman Scott Lycett uncontracted beyond 2018.