Hawthorn star Cyril Rioli has travelled to Darwin to be with family, with no timeframe given on his return to the club.
The Hawks released a statement on Tuesday confirming Rioli’s decision to go to the Northern Territory.
“Cyril expressed to us his desire to return to Darwin with his wife Shannyn and be with their family,” Hawthorn’s general manager of football, Graham Wright, said in the statement.
“Physically, Cyril is in great condition, and potentially could have played for us in the coming weeks.
“However, we acknowledge his desire to be with family.
“Our priority at Hawthorn is our people and we ask that Cyril’s privacy be respected at this time.”
Rioli was born in the Tiwi Islands, and played for Northern Territory Football League club St Mary’s in Darwin before being taken by the Hawks in the 2007 AFL draft.
His father Cyril — a St Mary’s great who won 12 NTFL flags and the league’s best and fairest medal for 1995-96 — had heart surgery late last year after suffering a heart attack in late September.
Rioli was given extended leave during the pre-season to be with his father during his convalescence.
His uncle Maurice Rioli won the Norm Smith Medal for Richmond in a losing VFL grand final in 1982, and was named in the Indigenous Team of the Century.
Another uncle, Michael Long, was a two-time premiership player at Essendon and the Norm Smith Medallist in 1993.
Cyril Rioli’s last two seasons for the Hawks have been disrupted by injury. (AAP: Julian Smith)
Rioli is a four-time premiership player, and the Norm Smith Medallist from Hawthorn’s grand final win over West Coast in 2015.
The Hawks’ star injured his knee in round four against Melbourne and was diagnosed with a medial ligament problem.
He did not play again before Hawthorn’s bye last weekend.
Rioli’s previous season ended with a knee injury in round eight, 2017.