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Rioli declares he's ready

Cyril Rioli speaks post Box Hill game Cyril Rioli spoke to the media following Box Hill's Grand Final loss.
Cyril Rioli of Box Hill in action during the VFL Grand Final match between the Footscray Bulldogs and the Box Hill Hawks at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on September 21, 2014. (Photo: Theo Karanikos/AFL Media)
Cyril Rioli of Box Hill in action during the VFL Grand Final match between the Footscray Bulldogs and the Box Hill Hawks at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on September 21, 2014. (Photo: Theo Karanikos/AFL Media)

GETTING through a game has convinced Cyril Rioli he is fit enough to be picked for Hawthorn in next week's Grand Final.

After almost three months out recovering from a hamstring tear, Rioli made his return in the VFL grand final on Sunday for the Box Hill Hawks.

He played the first three quarters and worked into the game before sitting out the last term as Box Hill was overrun.

The 25-year-old, who played a key role in the Hawks' 2008 and 2012 premiership triumphs, said he would be right to play next week if coach Alastair Clarkson and the club's match committee selected him.

"I'd say I'm ready. I eased into it and out on the ground I hit some speed, which I was very happy with, so I'm glad it held up. Hopefully I'm playing next week," Rioli said after the game.

"I was hoping to play 60-70 per cent of game time and I think we did that. Like I said, I got through pretty good and hit some top pace, which I'm pretty happy about."

Rioli gathered 10 disposals, three clearances, three tackles and three marks, and set up a goal in the third quarter when intercepting a kick-in. He said the hamstring had not troubled him. 

"It got through pretty good. I stayed off the last quarter but I eased into the game and I was very happy with the way it pulled up," he said.

The Hawks face a selection dilemma after their tight preliminary final win over Port Adelaide on Saturday night.

Midfielder Jordan Lewis ended the three-point win with a corked thigh but is expected to be fit to face the Sydney Swans, while Jonathan Simpkin started as the substitute but would be an unlucky omission given his impact through the season.

After enduring a tough training phase to finally return to the field, Rioli said it was important for his confidence to play a game.

"The last three weeks I've been doing a lot of work, but I hadn't played a game yet. Today was a real test and I'm very happy with the way I got through," he said.

"I was very nervous before the game, and with it being the Box Hill grand final. But once I got that first kick out of the way I was pretty happy."