Willie Rioli racist messages, Collingwood Magpies statement, Port Adelaide, social media, Nathan Murphy incident, Ken Hinkley, Craig Kelly

Collingwood chief executive Craig Kelly has issued a statement after Port Adelaide star Willie Rioli received “multiple racist messages” following the sides’ clash on Saturday night.

Power coach Ken Hinkley leapt to the defence of Rioli over his part in a last-quarter altercation with Magpies defender Nathan Murphy during a gut-wrenching two-point defeat.

Port were up by 12 points with just over 13 minutes remaining at Adelaide Oval when replays showed Rioli grappling with Murphy and then aiming a round-arm slap to the side of his opponent’s head which knocked the Collingwood player to the ground.

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The Pies clinched the comeback victory to extend their lead at the top of the AFL ladder, but the win was soured post match.

Collingwood released a statement in the early hours of Sunday morning stating they were aware of “multiple racist messages” being sent to Rioli on social media after the game.

“The Collingwood Football Club strongly condemns the abhorrent and disgusting racist remarks directed towards Willie Rioli,” Kelly said.

“There is no room for racism in our game and we will not tolerate it – not on the field, off the field or online.

“All of us have a responsibility to call out this behaviour and our club is committed to playing a role in educating as many members of the wider community as possible.

“We stand alongside all First Nations players, staff and supporters.”

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA – JULY 22: Junior Rioli of Port Adelaide. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

Hinkley was asked about the on-field incident after of the epic contest and the coach was adamant Rioli has little to fear from the match review officer.

“There’s nothing in it, surely,” Hinkley said.

“I looked at it … it’s an open hand slipping up.

“I always say, ‘Let them take care of it’ and they’ll have a look at it if it needs to be looked at.

“But I have actually seen that one so I can say that I’ve seen a lot worse things happen.”

Rioli was one of five inclusions to the lineup that succumbed to Carlton by 50 points last week.

He missed that clash to attend a family function in the Northern Territory to commemorate the one-year anniversary of his father’s passing.

“He seemed pretty valuable out there, but I thought a lot of players had moments,” Hinkley said.

“He’s been remarkable.

“He did what he needed to do for his late father and for his family and he came back and did what he needed to do for his football club family.

“He played really well.”

Port remains in second place on the ladder after the tight loss that dropped Hinkley’s side to a 14-4 record.

The Power led by 17 points at three-quarter time before being run down by the comeback kings in a frantic final term.

Collingwood clinch Port in thriller | 03:10

“They kicked three goals from the boundary line, which is remarkable that they keep doing it, but they do it consistently so it’s not a fluke,” Hinkley said.

“It’s a great credit to them that they take those moments.

“They’ve got a lot of experience and they’ve played those moments really well and consistently since (McRae) has been there.

“Whatever they’re doing together, they’re doing it pretty well.”

The Power must quickly shake off the disappointment of its second loss in as many weeks, with a Showdown against the Crows looming large.

“It’s never an issue for us … we want to get over it and get on with it and play the next game,” Hinkley said.

“I don’t care who we play or where we play, we’re trying to win as many games as we can so we can finish as high as we can to give ourselves the best chance at the end of the year.

“We’re going to try to play as well as we played (against Collingwood) and see if we can improve on our game.

“We don’t worry about the opposition.”

with NCA Newswire

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