Hawks can play better, insists Rioli

Between them, they’ve lost just one of their last five AFL matches.

But defending premiers Hawthorn and top side Fremantle are still searching for top form ahead of next Sunday’s massive clash in Fremantle.

Hawks star Cyril Rioli says there is plenty of room for improvement, despite the team overcoming an up-and-down start to the season with a five-game winning streak.

“It was frustrating early on in the year,” Rioli said.

“We addressed that and we’ve strung a few wins up lately.

“The wins haven’t been great and we feel like we still have a lot to improve on, a lot of the small things that will definitely help us towards finals.”

Likewise, Dockers coach Ross Lyon said on Sunday it was subjective to rate his team and Hawthorn the top two in the league.

Fremantle took three quarters to shake off Brisbane, a month after Richmond upset them at Subiaco for their only loss so far this season.

A major issue for Hawthorn is key forward Jarryd Roughead’s continued absence as he recovers from surgery to remove a melanoma from his lip.

Even if tests come up clear this week, Roughead is still probably out of action for another fortnight.

Rioli stepped up on Friday night with five goals, prompting coach Alastair Clarkson to joke about the team now having a focal point in attack who was under six foot.

Rioli also saw the funny side of his outstanding game, warning Roughead that he no longer led Hawthorn’s attack.

“When he comes back, I might have to tell him this is my 50 – so back off,” Rioli said.

“But we’re looking forward to hopefully getting him back.”

Rioli only had 10 disposals on Friday night and his five-goal haul showed the benefits of work he has done this year on his goalkicking.

“I was happy to hit the scoreboard and actually kick straight,” he said.

It has been a rollercoaster few days for Rioli.

A week ago, he was out of the team for the first time this season to attend a funeral in Darwin.

Two days after Friday night’s starring performance, Rioli was the centre of attention at the launch of his latest Fox Swift children’s novel.

It’s the third book of the series and Rioli joked this trilogy is “just as big” as Lord Of The Rings.

“It’s all for the kids and it’s something I’m proud to be part of,” he said.

* All Offers and Promotions posted in this article excludes NSW residents.
Stay up to date with the latest sports news
Follow our social accounts to get exclusive content and all the latest sporting news!