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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Midfielder Michael Rischitelli has quit the Brisbane Lions to sign on with the Gold Coast. He informed Brisbane shortly after Round 22 and just days before the club held their awards function, at which he was named club best and fairest. The club expressed disappointment at losing Rischitelli, who was out of contract. Brisbane chairman Michael Bowers conceded that the program the AFL has initiated for the Gold Coast (and Western Sydney) was difficult to counter. Bowers described Rischitelli as a quality player who was close to reaching his prime.

Rischitelli debuted in 2005 and played 111 games for the Lions. He was a Rising Star nominee in 2006. He was named Most Improved Player in 2006, Most Courageous Player (2008) and Most Effective Tackler (2008). He played all 22 games in 2010.
The Gold Coast is delighted at securing Rischitelli. Gold Coast chairman Travis Auld and Coach Guy McKenna believe Rischitelli will add greatly to the midfield. Auld gave recognition to the stellar season Rischitelli had in 2010 and described the signing as something special. McKenna said that the club was keen to recruit a midfielder with the skills and ability of Rischitelli and noted his clean ball handling and tackling. He further stated that Rischitelli was a player of character, reliable and excellent at training. He believes Rischitelli will provide experience and leadership at his new club. Rischitelli said he was excited at the prospect of playing with the Suns and looking forward to working with the younger players on the club's list.

The AFL informed Brisbane that they would be entitled to a compensation draft selection at the end of the first round. They will have the option of using that selection anytime between 2010 and 2014. They are also allowed to trade that selection if they choose. If they do trade the selection, the club gaining that selection will also have the option of using that selection between 2010 and 2014.

Source: Sam Lord, Brisbane Media Release; Greg Price, Gold Coast Media Release; Patrick Keane, AFL Media Release

Article last changed on Tuesday, September 14, 2010 - 10:48 AM EDT

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