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‘It was emotional’: Cyril Rioli announces shock retirement

3AW football

Cyril Rioli has retired.

The four-time premiership player told his teammates on Wednesday.

He returned to the Northern Territory earlier in the season for personal reasons and will remain there.

Rioli played 189 games for the Hawks, was the 2015 Norm Smith medallist and a three-time all Australian.

Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett told Tony Jones Cyril gave an ’emotional’ address to the players.

“He’s been thinking about this for about a year,” Jeff said.

“He’s done it now in a way that allows the club to plan for next year, he’s been very gracious in that respect.

“He’ll always be remembered as one of the most extraordinary young athletes to pull on the boots.”

Click PLAY below for the full interview

Leigh Matthews, Hawthorn’s greatest player, said Rioli would finish his career with one of the best highlight reels of any player to have played the game.

“It’s the ‘wow’ factor,” Matthews said on Macquarie Sports Radio.

“The special things he could do on the field…

“I reckon Gary Ablett Snr would probably have the best highlights of any player in the last 50 years, I suspect, but I reckon Cyril’s highlight reel would be pretty special, as Bruce (McAvaney) would say!

“He was a unique talent.”

Click PLAY below to hear more on Macquarie Sports Radio

Photo: AAP

Going to miss this! Well done junior boy.

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The Hawthorn Football club have released the following statement:

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.

“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.”

Rioli debuted in Round 1 2008 after being selected with Pick 12 in the 2007 NAB AFL Draft.

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.

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