Rioli in for Richmond, Walker sidelined

Taylor Walker will miss the Showdown as he is investigated over alleged racist comments.
Taylor Walker will miss the Showdown as he is investigated over alleged racist comments.

Richmond teenager Maurice Rioli Jnr's AFL career is set for lift-off but the playing future of high-profile Adelaide forward Taylor Walker hangs in the balance after he was left out of Showdown 50.

Walker has been sidelined amid an ongoing AFL investigation into allegations he made a racial comment about an opposition player while he was a spectator at a SANFL match between the Crows and North Adelaide in July.

It means Adelaide will be without their leading goalkicker as they face a difficult task to end a three-match derby losing streak against arch rivals Port Adelaide on Saturday night.

The Crows will make draftee Brayden Cook their eighth debutant of the season in the Showdown cauldron at Adelaide Oval.

Chasing a top-four spot, the Power will be boosted by the return of superstar Robbie Gray.

The debut of lightly-framed forward Rioli shapes as an intriguing sidenote to Richmond's clash with North Melbourne on Saturday as the reigning premiers look to keep their finals hopes alive.

Experienced duo Nick Vlastuin (knee) and Kamdyn McIntosh (hamstring) are also back for the Tigers, whose coach Damien Hardwick is excited about another Rioli lighting up the MCG.

The 19-year-old is the son of Richmond and South Fremantle legend Maurice Rioli, and cousin of Tigers teammate Daniel Rioli.

"He just brings a chaos mentality up forward," Hardwick said.

"His chase pressure and all that is very much like Daniel when he first started. He is probably quicker than Daniel, to be fair.

"He has some areas of his game that he needs to improve but he's got some incredible strengths that he brings as well."

Emerging stars Tarryn Thomas (concussion) and Cam Zurhaar (shoulder) are back for North Melbourne in a boost to their hopes of causing an upset against the Tigers.

GWS have been smashed by injuries ahead of their meeting with high-flying Geelong at GMHBA Stadium on Friday night.

Jacob Hopper (concussion), Tom Green (hamstring), Shane Mumford (managed), Phil Davis (concussion), Sam Reid (ankle), Daniel Lloyd (ankle) and Jesse Hogan (soreness) are all unavailable, with Matt de Boer the most experienced of the replacements.

Charlie Curnow will back up for Carlton against Gold Coast after playing his first match in more than two years last week.

Curnow has battled a string of knee issues but has recovered well from the win over North Melbourne and will line up in attack with veteran goal sneak Eddie Betts, who is back from an ankle injury.

The Suns have regained Brandon Ellis and Jacob Townsend.

St Kilda made four changes for the crunch clash with Sydney, losing Dougal Howard (hamstring), Hunter Clark (concussion) and Jack Billings (hamstring) and recalling Nick Coffield, Jack Sinclair, Daniel McKenzie and Darragh Joyce.

Brownlow Medal winner Lachie Neale will miss Brisbane's clash with his old side Fremantle on Sunday through illness.

The Western Bulldogs have named Adam Treloar to play against Essendon on Sunday in what will be the star midfielder's first match since round 10 because of an ankle injury.

Australian Associated Press