HAWTHORN star Cyril Rioli will not play in Saturday’s Preliminary Final against Port Adelaide but will play in the VFL on Sunday if the Hawks qualify for the Grand Final.

GM – Football Operations Chris Fagan confirmed the news to hawthornfc.com.au on Thursday evening, revealing the decision was made in consultation with Rioli.

“It was a decision we made with Cyril,” Fagan told hawthornfc.com.au

“He certainly would feel more comfortable playing in the AFL team if we’re able to get through to the Grand Final if he had a hit out first and got some real confidence in his hamstring.”

It means if the Hawks defeat the Power at the MCG, Rioli will play his first ever game for Box Hill in Sunday’s VFL Grand Final in a bid to earn his place in Hawthorn’s Grand Final team.

The Hawks star has trained strongly this week in a bid to return from the hamstring injury that has kept him out since Round 15.

Box Hill will take on Footscray in the VFL Grand Final on Sunday at Etihad Stadium at 2.15pm.

Hawthorn’s team for Saturday’s Preliminary Final against Port Adelaide will be released at 6.25pm on hawthornfc.com.au