Hawthorne coach Sam Mitchell has revealed that former teammate Cyril Rioli is away from the club despite trying to reach the legendary young forward.
Racism was brought back into the spotlight in the AFL last month when Rioli revealed how his last years at the game were overshadowed by Hawks’ off-field events, which affected both him and his wife.
Rioli said in a lengthy interview with The Edge last month, “If the clubs want me, I’ll be ready to help না I will not return to Hawthorne after what has happened.”
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Rioli, a four-time Hawthorn Premiership player who retired in 2018 at just 28, now lives in the Northern Territory.
Faced with the Hawthorne Sun at Darwin’s TIO Stadium on 28 May, Mitchell said he was hopeful of rekindling his and the club’s relationship with Rioli.
“I’m not sure [when I will next catch up with him], Hopefully in a few weeks. We play in Darwin, I hope then, “Mitchell told Nine Footy is categorized.
“We definitely want to make an impact there. The club has been working on Catherine three hours from Darwin for a long time … to try to integrate ourselves into the community there, we are looking to do something in the future.”
“I hope he will be a part of it.
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“He’s a Premiership teammate. As a footballer I share some of my fondest memories with Cyril.”
Whether Mitchell will meet Rioli remains a mystery at this stage.
The 2012 Brownlow medalist says his efforts to reach out to disgruntled stars have so far failed.
The ‘sadly decorated’ Hawks have condemned in the ranks of Great Racism
Mitchell added, “Like going anywhere where one of your former teammates and premiership teammates lives, you try to communicate with them.”
“Now whether he wants to do it or not, I know I sent him some messages before you reported here. So, I sent another message and I haven’t heard from him yet, but we have a few weeks. If we can catch him.” That would be great.
“But if not, we’re still going to be very committed to what we’re doing there and I hope he’s a part of it.”
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