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Cyril calls time on decorated career

Hawthorn four-time premiership player Cyril Rioli has made the decision to retire from AFL football, effective immediately.

Rioli, who travelled to Darwin last month to spend time with family, informed his teammates of his decision this morning.

After a stellar 11-year career in the brown and gold Rioli will hang up his boots and return to Darwin to begin the next phase of his life. 

“The decision to retire from football is something that I have thought long and hard about over the past 12 months. I’ve weighed everything up and I am confident the decision I’ve made is the right one for me and my family,” Rioli said.

“Football has been my life but it’s always been difficult being away from home. Now is the right time to go home and spend more time with friends and family. 

Read: Cyril's Hawthorn timeline

“I love the Hawthorn Football Club and I cannot thank them enough for the opportunities they’ve given me and the way they’ve embraced me and my family over the past 11 years. 

“I can walk away from the game having achieved everything I could have ever dreamed of and I’m forever grateful for the opportunities I have received.

“I’d like to thank the Hawthorn fans for all their support over the years, it has been an honour to play in front of you each week.  

“I’d also like to thank my manager, Adam Ramanauskas from TLA Worldwide, for all the support he has have given my family and I throughout my career.

“Lastly, thank you to my wife Shannyn and all my family, whose support and sacrifice has made it possible for me to live out my childhood dream. 

“I’ll always be a Hawthorn person and I look forward to seeing what the boys can achieve over the rest of the year and beyond.”

Cyril's career in pictures

Hawthorn Senior Coach Alastair Clarkson paid tribute to Rioli as one of the most influential players our game has ever seen. 

“Cyril has been an outstanding servant of this football club for a long period of time and there have been very few players that have brought as much excitement to the game,” Clarkson said.  

“His ability to influence a contest with a minimal amount of disposals is like no player I have ever seen and that’s why the whole footy world loves watching him play. 

“Cyril came into our club as an 18-year-old kid and leaves an integral part of the fabric of the brown and gold family and the history of our game.

 “I’d like to thank Cyril, Shannyn and the broader Rioli and Long families for their outstanding contribution to our club and wish them all the best for the next chapter of their lives.”

Rioli debuted in Round 1 2008 after being selected with Pick 12 in the 2007 NAB AFL Draft. He went on to win four premierships and play a total of 189 games in the brown and gold. In 2015, he was awarded the Norm Smith Medal, following in the footsteps of his uncles - Maurice Rioli and Michael Long who won the medal in 1982 and 1993 respectively.

Read: Cyril's best five goals

Career highlights:

Premiership side: 2008, 2013, 2014, 2015
Norm Smith Medal: 2015
All Australian team: 2012, 2015, 2016
AFL Rising Star Nominee: 2008

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs