‘Inappropriate’ act sparked nightclub fight
The Richmond Tigers have confirmed Shai Bolton and Daniel Rioli were embroiled in a nightclub fight over the weekend.
Rioli required stitches to his face after the altercation, while Bolton is expected to be sidelined for several weeks after fracturing his wrist in the incident.
Richmond coach Damien Hardwick later confirmed Bolton would undergo surgery on his wrist on Monday evening.
According to the Tigers, the incident occurred after Rioli's girlfriend was subjected to "inappropriate behaviour" from a patron.
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The Herald Sun's Jon Ralph reported that neither player was under the influence of alcohol when the altercation occurred and neither is expected to face disciplinary action from the club.
"An altercation took place after Rioli's girlfriend was subjected to inappropriate behaviour," the Tigers said in a statement.
"Rioli was punched after confronting the patron and suffered a cut under his eye that required two stitches.
"Bolton became involved in the ensuing altercation and sustained a fractured wrist that will require surgery. He will be sidelined for the next two to three weeks."
Bolton has been one of Richmond's standout performers this season - he mustered a contender for Mark of the Year against the Geelong Cats on Friday evening.
The 22-year-old has averaged a career-best 21.8 disposals per game this year, also contributing 10 goals.
Bolton will join Tigers teammates Trent Cotchin, Shane Edwards, Dion Prestia, Kane Lambert and Ivan Soldo in the casualty ward.
Rioli has played 102 games for Richmond since making his AFL debut in 2016, scoring 87 goals for the club.
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Speaking on Fox Footy's AFL 360, Damien Hardwick conceded the timing of the incident "wasn't ideal", but threw his support behind the injured duo.
"A player's partner was put in an inappropriate situation that she didn't feel comfortable with, and Daniel (Rioli) stood up and tried to eradicate the situation (and) was punched in the eye," Hardwick said on Monday evening.
"Once again I don't condone violence, but the reality is, put anyone in that situation, they're going to stand up for their partner and their mates. Shai was the same.
"It was a difficult situation, it's not one ideally we want to be in, but the reality is we are where we are.
"We've spoken to the players at length, once again, we go through a thorough process.
"From our point of view, we're backing the players. We're disappointed that it's come to that situation like we said. We don't condone violence, but we understand these situations happen from time to time. Doesn't make it right."
Richmond has clinched four wins in the opening eight rounds of the 2021 premiership - the defending champions will face the GWS Giants at Marvel Stadium on Saturday evening.
Originally published as 'Inappropriate' act sparked nightclub fight