West Coast forward Willie Rioli has revealed the secret behind his improved physique – running to and from water holes.
Rioli has cut a slimmer figure since returning to pre-season training and he credits his recent return home to the Tiwi Islands as playing a major part.
“I spent most of my break up there,” Rioli said before training on Wednesday.
“I spent two weeks on the highland and a week in town, so it was good to get away from everything.
“The bonus up there is the heat and the humidity. That helps with my skinfolds.
“The training is a lot different.
“I don’t have green grass I can run on, so I’ve got to run on the rocky roads and we run to the water holes.
“That’s what me and (my cousin) Daniel (Rioli) do a lot and that’s what my uncles used to do.
“We still do it today, run to the water holes, so that’s kind of how we train up there.”
Rioli played an important role in West Coast’s grand final win over Collingwood, with his opening-term goal helping spark a fightback after the Magpies had raced out to a 31-2 lead.
It capped a strong debut season from the 23-year-old, who booted 28 goals in 24 games.
Rioli skipped West Coast’s end-of-season player trip to Hong Kong in order to spend more time in the Tiwi Islands.
For Rioli, getting back home is his ultimate holiday.
“Getting back for me is just reconnecting with my family and my culture and that is kind of like a refresher for me,” he said.
“All the footy stuff I park aside when I go home. It’s just all about my family and going out hunting.
“The first day I went up there everyone kind of congratulated me (on the premiership win) but not until the cup came up there.
“They were more happy about the cup coming up there.”
The retirement of Mark LeCras has placed more importance on Rioli and fellow small forwards Jamie Cripps and Liam Ryan.
Cripps is in doubt for the start of the AFL season because of a foot injury.
Rioli said he would embrace the greater responsibility that will come his way.
And his greater fitness could see him spend more time in the midfield in 2019.