New details have emerged of the nightclub scuffle that left two star Richmond players injured.
According to 7NEWS, eye witnesses reported Shai Bolton and Daniel Rioli were evicted from nightclub Yo-Yo after a fight broke out around 1am last weekend.
Bolton suffered a broken his wrist in the confrontation while Rioli needed two stitches under his eye when struck defending his girlfriend after a man’s “inappropriate gesture”.
“Post the fight, eye witnesses claimed Rioli and Bolton remained outside the club Yo-Yo for up to 30 minutes after being evicted,” reporter Tom Browne said.
“Rioli argued at length with a security guard and Bolton tried to re-enter the club on multiple occasions.
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“It is alleged he was heard making remarks against the man who clashed with Rioli inside.”
Browne confirmed the AFL Integrity was investigating, and was “sceptical of the facts” in Richmond’s version of events.
“Witnesses say the fight between both players and the man inside was particularly aggressive after they took offence to the man’s highly inappropriate gesture to Rioli’s girlfriend,” Browne said.
The new account comes days after Tigers coach Hardwick defended both players and said he believed many people would have reacted the same way.
“A player’s partner was put in an inappropriate situation that she didn’t feel comfortable with and Daniel stood up and tried to eradicate the situation and was punched in the eye,” Hardwick told Fox Footy on Monday.
“I don’t condone violence but the reality is, you put anyone in that situation, they’re going to stand up for their partner and their mates and Shai was the same.
“So, look, it was a difficult situation. It’s not one ideally we want to be in but the reality is we are where we are.”
Hardwick said football bosses Tim Livingstone and Blair Hartley had spoken at length with Bolton and Rioli and the Tigers were “absolutely” confident there was no wrongdoing on their behalf.
“We’ve got to the bottom of it – the evidence we’ve got and the story we have,“ he said.
“So from our point of view, we back in the players.”
Bolton remains one of the most in-demand players after a breakout 2021 season.
The kid from Katanning is already a two-time premiership player and is out of contract at the end of the year.