Persistance pays for Richmond's Dan Butler

Lake Wendouree export Dan Butler will make his AFL debut for Richmond against Carlton at the MCG on Thursday night.

IN FULL FLIGHT:  Dan Butler - set for AFL debut with Tigers. Picture: Getty Images

IN FULL FLIGHT: Dan Butler - set for AFL debut with Tigers. Picture: Getty Images

His selection is a reward for persistence, with Butler having to battle through repeated knee issues, including surgery, since being drafted in 2014.

Richmond used fourth round selection 67 in the national draft to land Butler via North Ballarat Rebels.

The 20-year-old small forward has been told by Richmond coach Damien Harwick he will debut after an impressive three appearances in the pre-season series.

Richmond stated at the time Butler was drafted that the Vic Country under-18 representative was an extremely quick midfielder or forward who could make things happen with his speed

“He can break the lines from stoppage, but also use his speed defensively with his tackling.

“He also has good goal sense and has a knack of getting to the fall of the ball as a forward.”

Meanwhile, another Richmond youngster and ex-North Ballarat Rebel Daniel Rioli's pre-season form has Tigers fans abuzz with excitement.

The sublimely talented forward appears primed for a breakout campaign after he managed 18 games in his debut season.

Veteran teammate Jack Riewoldt is bullish about his prospects, but is also keen not to heap undue pressure on the 19-year-old.

"He's been outstanding but we don't expect anything over the top from Daniel – we don't expect him to be a world beater," Riewoldt said.

"But one thing I can say about him is I don't think I've seen a kid try as hard as what he does.

But one thing I can say about him (Rioli) is I don't think I've seen a kid try as hard as what he does. - Jack Riewoldt

"He's as honest as the day is long, he's been super impressive, and I know within the football club there is a very high regard for him.

"I'm really looking forward to seeing how he grows up this season.

"He's certainly got some talent there and hopefully he can show everyone what he's got."

The Tigers are counting on the natural improvement of Rioli and others to help address the issues of last season, when their misfiring forward line was ranked 15th in the league.

Richmond used its first draft selection 15 in 2016 to secure Rioli, who is originally from the Northern Territory.

He was an AFL rising star nominee in an eye-catching debut season.