Erlo and Rioli return

Two favourite sons return

08.02.19 10:15

NEAFL and NTFL stars Ben Rioli and Jarred Erlandson have re-signed with NT Thunder for the 2019 season.

Rioli will return to NT Thunder for his seventh season since debuting in the 2012 season. He played his 100th game in Thunder colours in Round 8 last year and finished the season on 110 games.

The younger of two Rioli brothers playing for Thunder, he was named in the backline of the NT Thunder Team of the Decade and has been a member of the leadership group for the past couple of seasons.

With his trademark helmet and clean skills, Rioli is also a stalwart of the St Mary’s Football Club in the NTFL, notching up 100 Premier League games and earning AFLNT Life Membership this season.

Likewise, Erlandson who grew up in Alice Springs but is now well entrenched in Darwin has worked hard to put his stamp on the NTFL with Wanderers, celebrating his 150th Premier League game in October last year.

The 26 -year-old will now enter his third consecutive season for Thunder (his fourth overall), and will look to get his body right to improve on the four games he played in 2018, which was hampered by injury.

A tough inside midfielder who made his Thunder debut in 2010 he is a popular figure at the club.

NT Thunder Head Coach Darren Reeves said he was thrilled by both players recommitting.

“We’re super excited to have Benny back on board. Both he and I are strong in making sure he does everything right to give himself every opportunity to play his best football.

“We see him as being super important to us being a successful football side with his ability to be able to run and carry and use the ball like he does. I’ve been thrilled with his attitude towards training and preparing himself for the season ahead,” he said.

“Erlo we see as an essential piece to our football side. Obviously, he had some issues with his body last year, but we feel like we’re on the right track to getting on top of those.

“He is an outstanding talent and while not necessarily a leader by title, definitely leads by example in the way he goes about his work,” Reeves said.