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Star Hawk back after 'almost a year out of footy'

Cyril Rioli is back for the Hawks - AFL,Hawthorn Hawks,Cyril Rioli
Cyril Rioli is back for the Hawks

CYRIL Rioli has been declared fit and will play for Hawthorn in the season opener against Collingwood at the MCG on Saturday night.

It was a close call, but he got over the line after an intense 10-week training block, following a delayed start to the pre-season while he cared for his father, who suffered a heart attack last September. 

The 28-year-old mercurial forward missed the last 14 weeks of last season after suffering a PCL injury while flying for a mark against Brisbane in Launceston. 

"I’m pretty excited. Having been almost a year out of footy, it’s been a long journey," he told

"When I came back to training, I just worked hard and it didn’t matter whether I played this round or round five. 

"I set a goal to get fit and I’m pretty happy where I am. I’m confident with where my body is at and I’m looking forward to getting out there and getting a kick." 

Hawthorn general manager of football Graham Wright said the four-time premiership player had taken every necessary step – plus a few more – to get himself in condition to play. 

"We’re really impressed with the way he has applied himself, and we’re looking forward to seeing him back out on the park this weekend," he said.