Hawthorn Legend Cyril Rioli Is Retiring From The AFL At The Age Of Just 28

Hawthorn Football Club champion and multiple Premiership winner Cyril Rioli has dropped a bombshell on the AFL community by announcing his immediate retirement from the game at the age of just 28.

Rioli’s retirement today puts a month of speculation to bed, following the star forward being granted indefinite leave from the club to return home to Darwin. Rioli’s retirement will coincide with a permanent move back to the Northern Territory to be nearer to his family, including his ailing father.

Rioli’s glittering, often spectacular career with the Hawks spanned 11 years and 189 games, producing 275 goals, and earning four AFL Premierships, three All-Australian selections, an AFL Goal of the Year award, and a coveted Norm Smith Medal in 2015 after being adjudged the best player on-ground in the Hawks successful Grand Final win over the West Coast Eagles.

Recent years, however, curtailed Rioli’s career. Injuries to his knee saw him play only seven games last year, and his father’s heart attack forced Rioli to return to Darwin to care for him, with many expecting his retirement to come at the end of last season.

However, despite an interrupted pre-season, Rioli played on, managing four games with the Hawks before suffering an injury to his medial ligament in round four against Melbourne, in what turned out to be his final AFL game.

Cyril issued a statement via Hawthorn’s website this morning confirming his retirement, and thanking the club for their continued support of him and his family.

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. 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.

Football personalities have taken to social media to express their gratitude at being able to witness one of the most unique and wholly spectacular careers in the history of the game.

Thanks for everything, Cyril. What a bloody player.

Someone check on Bruce McAvaney pls.